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The Market Data Program: Ensuring Your Information is Safe and Secure

In this age of information, knowledge is power. The Market Data Program can help you gain a foothold in the ever-changing business landscape by helping you harness this power. Yet, security is a critical concern when it comes to sharing the needed data. We posed three questions members most often ask to D+R, the third party behind the program. Here's what Toby Swope, Senior Director of Industry Groups at D+R had to say. 

We’ve worked hard to establish our market share. For certain geographic areas/products/customer segments, we are the market. How can we be sure this program won’t expose our position?

Data security and confidentiality are the primary governing force behind our work. We understand the effort required to maintain share and position in the market. So we prevent all participant proprietary information from being exposed through two main steps:

  • First, we develop our market estimates semi-independently of the participant point-of-system (POS) data. We do this to mask specific information when new participants join. (We don’t want a participant to join and the numbers move in a way that would give away the new participant’s market position.) We also realize it may be a long time before we have 100% of the market and we want to give a true aggregate estimate. We do check some of our assumptions about the market using POS data, but our market estimator doesn’t see individual data, only the total set from all participants.
  • Second, we must meet certain thresholds before we can even consider reporting on a given combination of geography, product category, and customer segment. Some of those hurdles are related to antitrust compliance: we have to have 5 or more participants’ data, while ensuring no participant has more than a certain percentage of the market. We also want to have enough (statistically significant) of the market represented to paint a reasonably accurate picture of what is going on. Unless we meet all those hurdles, we don’t publish the information at that level of granularity.
Our POS is our lifeblood, and we really don’t like the idea of it being out in the world. What steps do NAED and D+R take to make sure it’s secure?

Beyond the hurdles above, we take several steps to maintain the confidentiality of our participants’ data.

The first and most important step is that we don’t talk about our participants. Only NAED and D+R will know if you participate. It’s often the most challenging aspect of the program, because many distributors want to know who else is participating, or at least that there are sufficient participants, before they join. But we can’t share that information. 

We also don’t share any submitted data with anyone outside of D+R – including NAED – and we heavily restrict access to the data through our internal network infrastructure. Internally, we have a set staff of data analysts assigned to this project. They are specially trained, so only they have access to data. Plus, they maintain the data sets on a restricted area of our internal network drives. Even I don’t have access to the data, that’s how seriously we take this. Access to our internal network is secured through two-factor authentication, and our network drives are kept in a SSAE 16 Type II, Tier 3+ facility. 

We already share our data with our ERP vendor/buying group/manufacturers/other programs. What’s different about this program? Why is NAED doing this? Will my data be sold?

The biggest distinguishing characteristic, from our perspective, is that this system is owned and managed by NAED. D+R is the designated third-party administrator of the system, but we work on behalf of NAED, and we are contractually bound to manage the data following NAED’s direction.

Within NAED, there is a task-force of distributors that provides guidance and feedback to NAED, which in turn provides us with the direction to administer the program. 

The system is meant to provide value to NAED members. Feedback, so the system can evolve in a way that makes sense to distributors, is always welcome. Learn more about the security of the Market Data Program or enroll today!

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NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTORS

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTORS

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