Retail associations band together on a new cybersecurity partnership

WASHINGTON — Several trade associations representing the merchant and financial services industries on Thursday announced a new cybersecurity partnership. The partnership will focus on exploring paths to increased information sharing, better card security technology and maintaining the trust of customers. 

Discussion regarding the partnership was initiated by the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Financial Services Roundtable, joined by the American Bankers Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, The Clearing House, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, Independent Community Bankers of America, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the National Associations of Convenience Stores, the National Grocers Association, the National Restaurant Association and the National Retail Federation.

“We are committed to working together to ensure customer personal and financial information is secure and protected,” said Tim Pawlenty, CEO of FSR. “Exploring avenues for increased information sharing and collaborating on innovative technologies and safeguarding data will be critical in defending against common enemies.”

“Retailers place extraordinarily high priority on protecting customers’ personal information,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of RILA. “This partnership will improve collaboration across the payments ecosystem, allowing us to work together to develop near- and long-term solutions that will enhance security for our customers.” 

“Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, and recent events underscore the urgency to update the payments system and protect customers against recent and future threats,” noted James Aramanda, president and CEO of the Clearing House Association and Payments Company. “Customers deserve a proactive approach — like the Secure Cloud tokenization initiative to protect consumer credentials that the Clearing House and its Owner Banks have undertaken — by banks and retailers alike to address these real and evolving threats. This cyber partnership is consistent with such an approach and marks an important step to provide for collaboration, continued innovation and dynamism among all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that customer data will be safeguarded.”

Payments occur in an ecosystem of retailers, banks, card companies, processors, security and technology vendors and others.  The ecosystem operates best when cyber threats are addressed collaboratively and each stakeholder does all it can to reasonably ensure the defenses of their internal systems are as robust and resilient as possible. The partnership will encourage collaboration across the industries, focused on the following principles:

  • Information sharing is paramount to warding off cyber attacks and protecting data. We are stronger together than divided and must warn each other about cyber threats being waged against all our defenses. The financial services industry has a robust information-sharing mechanism through the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) that could serve as a forum or model for further information sharing across sectors;
  • Other innovative technologies must be implemented, such as systems that will transmit payment data in a way that is unique and dynamic to reduce the risks. Ongoing innovation will be needed to outpace the threats; and
  • We must forge partnerships among all stakeholders of the payments ecosystem to collaborate on long-term, comprehensive solutions to the threats that are growing to card-not-present situations and the mobile environment. 

The participating trade associations will form working groups made up of themselves, member companies and other stakeholders. The working groups will be focused on increasing threat information sharing, innovative technologies that adds safeguards to protect consumers within the payment system and other areas like national data breach laws.

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