Lending Club Blog

Trading Security for Convenience

We often trade price for convenience, such as when we visit the nearest gas station versus the cheapest one, but there are other tradeoffs that can be made in the name of convenience. One of those is security.

For a simple example of this, consider the passwords you use for various online accounts. The most convenient thing to do would be to use the same simple password for all accounts. As you transition from this case to using different simple passwords for each account to finally using different complicated passwords for each account, convenience goes down as security goes up. The best option for you is highly subjective and may have a lot to do with the value of the information contained within the account itself. A poor college student might prefer having his or her bank account hacked than his or her Facebook account. For others, the opposite could hold true.

Looking around for the most useful apps I could find for my new iPhone, I came across Pageonce. This service is available through the company’s website as well as a dedicated app for the top smart phones. By entering all of your account information on the Pageonce site, you can access everything from one central location. Beyond just financial institutions, everything from frequent flyer and movie rental accounts are available. Obviously this site is hugely convenient, but the first concern that comes to mind is security. This is especially true for users who access the site through a smartphone app and who may fear the consequences of a lost or stolen phone. Pageonce has extensive security measures in place, from encrypted data streams, wireless access disabling, certification by top security firms, and many more features to keep your information safe. Even so, many people may think twice about using the service given the fact that Pageonce’s terms of use agreement specifically limits the company’s liability to a maximum of $500 (though some state laws may trump this limit).

My point is not to persuade you to modify your password habits or say whether Pageonce or a similar service is or is not worth using. Different readers would certainly come to different conclusions. Rather, I hope to raise your awareness of the tradeoffs you make and ensure that you carefully weigh what you give and what you get. Whenever you add or subtract convenience from your life, you are probably making a compromise of some sort. Often it’s a question of money, but security is one of many other common tradeoffs.

Did security concerns influence your decision to use (or not use) Pageonce or a similar service that aggregates your personal information?

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009 at 6:02 am

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