E-mail is e-business driver: Kasten Chase

Canadians are “ready and willing” to communicate electronically with financial institutions, according to Kasten Chase’s Trevor Bain.

Bain, Kasten Chase senior vice-president, secure e-document delivery for the Mississauga, Ont.-based data security firm, made the comment Monday at the third annual Innovative IT Strategies for Financial Services conference in Toronto.

“There is an opportunity to shift the paradigm for sharing sensitive, confidential or personal information from consumer-initiated, information retrieval to real-time information delivery based on e-mail,” Bain said.

Account balances, bills and invoices, and other financial transactions can all be securely driven through e-mail – e-mail is the “killer app” as far as the Internet is concerned, Bain said.

What’s driving it is the promise of e-commerce and the declining growth of traditional “snail mail” delivery, he claimed, adding that there is an opportunity to cut costs tied to conventional delivery, including printing, postage and courier charges.

But the challenge for financial institutions and online banking is to boost online participation. Enterprises are still antsy over e-document delivery and prefer to direct customers to the Web site – security is still a primary concern, Bain admitted. The issue at hand is ensuring the electronic delivery is secure since “e-mail is analogous to a postcard not a letter,” Bain said.

“We all know what we would and would not put on a postcard,” Bain said, adding that customers will only tolerate the receipt of information which is of value to them.

Emerging technologies such as password protection, authentication, digital encryption and tracking are making secure document delivery a reality.

Privacy is also an issue, which is “typically the paramount concern of recipients when confidential information is communicated,” Bain said.

It’s not enough to secure data in transit, he continued. Particularly when e-mail storage is under control of others, data needs to be secured at rest.

“A secure e-document delivery system must provide assurance that the originating data has not been altered. A system must ensure that the parties of a transaction cannot refute or deny their participation in the transaction,” Bain said.

It should also be simple to use across multiple e-mail clients, operating systems and platforms, Bain said. An embedded URL inside the e-mail would connect the client to a secure Web site for additional transactions, he added.

“At minimum, a real-time, secure push delivery solution provides a strong complement to an enterprise’s Web presence, by pre-authenticating a document recipient to a Web site to initiate a new transaction,” Bain said.

Kasten Chase is at www.kastenchase.com.