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Letter to the editor: Concern over Standard Life’s data protection

Am I the only one vexed by the Standard Life’s practice of emailing password protected documents that cannot be unprotected – even when they are downloaded to the recipients computer.
 
Yes, I get the point that email is an unsecure medium so I understand that they want to password protect PDFs they send me (although, curiously, seconds after sending the document, they do then send the password itself by email as well) but, once I have safely downloaded the document to my hard drive, the responsibility for data security passes from them to me.
 
So why then introduce a system that means I will have to repeatedly use their password each time I want to go back and look at the document.
 
This approach is particularly cumbersome, given that every document warrants it’s own individual password – thereby necessitating the maintenance of a separate list of Standard Life issued documents together with their associated passwords.
 
I can only assume some data security wonk at Standard Life has set out to make intermediaries lives as difficult as possible – because that is the single explanation I could come up with for such a wrong-headed and foolish policy.
 
I have communicated this issue to Standard Life and their (business friendly) response was ”I’ve now looked into your complaint and also discussed this with our Digital department. We won’t change our password procedure”.
 
Meanwhile, somewhere else in Standard Life Towers is probably penning a press release about how Standard Life ‘continues to support a thriving intermediary sector’ .
 
Oh really?
 
Ivor Harper

Park Financial

Response from Standard Life: Standard Life takes the security of customer data very seriously.  We recognise that how we protect customers can potentially have an impact on advisers that also need access but ultimately we need to ensure the security of data and information.  We take on board the comments provided by Mr Harper and will use them to help shape our proposition.”

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