Retail, Financial Groups Forge Cybersecurity Partnership

Published in CSP Daily News

NACS, RILA, NRF, others join effort to encourage cross-industry collaboration

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

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) initiated discussion regarding the partnership, joined by the American Bankers Association (ABA), the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), The Clearing House (TCH), the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the National Grocers Association (NGA), the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

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 cyberattacks 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.

*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. While this forum will serve as an effective way for the industries to discuss areas of agreement, equally important, this forum will be a platform to discuss areas of disagreement and seek solutions.

"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."

"Everyone, from the smallest to the largest businesses, has an interest in keeping our customers' payment data secure," said Henry Armour, president and CEO of NACS. "Working collaboratively across industries to find ways to thwart data thieves is the best approach to protecting customers' information."

"This partnership is a positive step in the right direction, since there is no single solution to the complex issues surrounding cyber security. That is why it is important to bring stakeholders together as we seek answers, share solutions and implement programs that not only prevent hackers from breaching data systems, but protects the consumer by shutting down these criminal enterprises," said Matt Shay, president and CEO of NRF.