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Retail associations band together on a new cybersecurity partnership

BY Michael Johnsen

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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Sears launches new pickup service

BY Vivian Gomez

CHICAGO — Sears has launched a new service powered by the chain’s Shop Your Way mobile app that enables customers to pick up their online purchases at any Sears store within five minutes of arrival.

The service allows members to pick up purchases without leaving their cars, hence its name: In-Vehicle Pickup,

"The In-Vehicle Pickup option takes our ‘Free Store Pickup – Ready in 5’ guarantee even further and out to the parking lot," said Leena Munjal, SVP, member experience and integrated retail, Sears Holdings. "In-Vehicle Pickup on this scale is an industry first and another example of how we are constantly innovating and adding benefits that make shopping a more convenient experience for our members."

To take advantage of the new service, Shop Your Way members shop online, completing their purchase via computer or tablet. At check-out, they choose In-Vehicle Pickup and input details of the vehicle they’ll arrive in, then sign in to their Shop Your Way mobile app and enable location services before leaving for the store. Upon arrival at their local Sears, members pull up to the In-Vehicle Pickup spots located conveniently outside of the merchandise pickup location; use the Shop’In feature in the Shop Your Way mobile app to initiate In-Vehicle Pickup — a timer will start on the phone; and five minutes later or less an associate takes the purchase to the car and verifies it by using the payment method used online.

"When the transaction is complete, members can easily provide instant feedback on their experience through the Shop Your Way app," Munjal said. "This feedback is extremely valuable as it helps us further enhance our capabilities across all channels."

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Former Senators form Alliance to raise awareness of advances in telehealth

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — Led by former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., and former Senator John Breaux, D-La., the Alliance for Connected Care has been launched to promote policy reform around telehealth and remote patient monitoring.

Board members of the Alliance include CVS Caremark, Walgreens, Teladoc, HealthSpot, Doctor on Demand, Welch Allyn, MDLIVE, Care Innovations, Cardinal Health, Verizon and WellPoint.

Long thought of as an issue affecting only rural areas, advances in technology and broadband deployment have fostered new models of delivery in health care settings across the country. From management of chronic disease, improved access to specialty and convenient primary care and mental health services, telehealth is fast becoming an integral component in the delivery of American health care.

The three former senators are leading a diverse coalition working to raise awareness among policymakers about the advancements in telehealth, and to establish a regulatory environment in which patients have more access to connected care and medical providers are empowered to deliver safe, high-quality care using advanced delivery methods.

 “Increased adoption and use of new and innovative technologies is at the core of many of the payment and delivery reforms being tested across the nation and is also central to increasing patient engagement. We must ensure that our regulatory environment appropriately balances the exciting advances in technology for patients, while still maintaining safeguards that allow innovation,” Daschle said. “To put it in perspective, the legal structure around telehealth was established in 2000 when cell phones were still just phones.”

“It is time to make connected care a bipartisan priority in Washington,” Lott said. “Imagine an elderly woman with diabetes who can consult a doctor about managing her disease without having to leave her home; or a working parent who can video chat with his child’s pediatrician; or a patient in need of mental health services, but too afraid to go to an office, now able to access care through a laptop; or a doctor who can monitor a patient already discharged from the hospital. We must improve access to the kinds of innovation that can improve patients’ lives.”

“Despite this rapidly developing technology, and increasing interest among patients and physicians in using connected care tools, legal and regulatory barriers continue to limit mainstream acceptance of the technology,” Breax said. “Fully realizing the promise of connected care demands urgency among policymakers to foster a regulatory structure that enables safe use of remote patient care technology.”

Alliance leaders noted that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been a pioneer in connected care, with nearly half a million veterans receiving more than 1.4 million remote care contacts during fiscal year 2012. Commercial insurers, large employers and Medicaid are also much further ahead in covering telehealth services than Medicare. In fact, 20 states and the District of Columbia require coverage of telehealth by commercial carrier and 45 states allow reimbursement of telehealth services in Medicaid, the Alliance stated.

Alliance representatives noted that, to date, policies and regulations have emphasized keeping people out of the hospital with prevention, chronic disease management, care coordination and readmission penalties. However, government healthcare programs generally do not reimburse home health agencies for remote patient monitoring or pay for patients to check in with care providers from their homes via real-time video. 

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W.SAWYER says:
Feb-14-2014 09:29 am

And it would be GREAT if commercial insurers paid for the service as well! Since it is an effective method to extend the reach of the clinician. Dr.Will Sawyer solo Family Medicine physician

R.HAMMERLE says:
Feb-14-2014 09:21 am

A wonderful example of bi-partisan leadership on a real issue of healthcare reform. Wouldn't it be great if such agreements could be reached by sitting senators. Ron Hammerle, Chairman Health Resources, Ltd. Tampa, Florida

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