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FINANCE SECTOR FACES THREE PRONGED CHALLENGE ON CONSUMER DATA

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FINANCE SECTOR FACES THREE PRONGED CHALLENGE ON CONSUMER DATA

-GDPR remains the priority but financial services also facing challenge from PSD2 and MiFID II-

How the financial services industry deals with customer data has become a major source of anxiety in recent months with the looming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to come into force in May 2018.

Coupled with that, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) is set to challenge the status quo on how financial businesses operate while the EU’s Incoming Payment Services Directive (PSD2) threatens to break the traditional banking model by opening up customer data.

Each one of these new regulations presents a challenge individually, but dealing with all three at once – and the contradictory nature of some of these new rules – means the financial sector is facing a three-pronged assault.

Of the three incoming regulations however, GDPR is looking like the most pressing issue, with 52% of chief information security officers working in the finance sector making compliance an investment priority, according to data from Network Group Events’ 2017 Financial Services Information Security Network.

This is despite as many as 50% of companies affected by the regulation still not being fully compliant, according to research by Gartner.

There is no doubt that the finance sector is fully aware of GDPR regulations, but they will face tough challenges on the road to compliance, and recent cyber attacks such as WannaCry and Petya will have placed a renewed emphasis on data security.

DataRaze’s Commercial Director Steve Inglessis discusses how financial services firms can prepare ahead of GDPR – sharing some top tips and highlighting why GDPR is not a compliance burden but, actually, an opportunity.

Know where your data is

Knowing where your customers’ data is kept at all times is a major step to being GDPR compliant. Businesses are increasingly data-driven, using big data to understand performance and identify opportunities to improve. Nowadays, not only is the volume of data we create increasing – every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – but so too is its complexity.

This process typically involves a number of individual solutions, each collecting, managing and analysing data. While businesses benefit tremendously from this, it means that data is often scattered across a number of systems, from legacy hardware to cloud-based platforms. Subsequently, it becomes difficult for the business to have a unified and holistic view of its data.

Traditionally, the view has been that more data equals more value, but this is not the case – it’s about data quality. Also, employees within the business might be using a variety of Shadow IT solutions (i.e. solutions outside of the business’ standard IT infrastructure) to manage data – making it harder for you to understand your current data procedures, as well as exposing your business to potential data security risks.

Taking the time to understand how your business captures, stores and processes data will help to streamline the process and standardise the systems you use. Taking these steps will enable you to assess current risk levels and develop an approach to GDPR-compliant data management.

Establish data governance framework

With data volume growing so fast – and GDPR quickly approaching – information management needs to change. Financial firms need to first establish a data governance framework, one that ensures that only the right, high-quality data is collected and for the intended purpose, and then proceed to carefully dispose of data which they do not need.

GDPR states that businesses can only capture data for the purpose it is required, meaning firms will not be able to record information other than that which is stated.

This will involve updating existing IT infrastructure and improving data security measures, moving to scalable cloud-based solutions to support more streamlined data management in line with new policies. It is vital however, that legacy IT assets and data is completely destroyed, and financial firms need to be sure any data disposal is compliant with new regulations.

Enlisting the services of a professional, external data disposal firm, could help with this and ensure any destruction is carried out professionally.

It is important to remember though, that even if you outsource the data destruction, your company is still responsible if this isn’t carried out properly so businesses should make sure they obtain a robust chain of custody to ensure data is destroyed safely and correctly to avoid potential problems down the line.

Remember, good data governance is not just about the collection of high-quality data, but also having a robust, industry-compliant and risk-free data disposal method.

Protect your data and achieve transparency

GDPR puts increased accountability on data processors and the controller/processor relationship becomes even more important. Many financial service firms share information with third parties, such as clients, suppliers, regulators or partners but should one fail to protect that data in line with GDPR standards, the other will be held accountable too. To ensure ongoing compliance, financial services firms must have a handle on all of its existing data.

As that data is transferred to a third party, the interaction needs to be recorded and the third party must have a system in place that compiles clear and detailed reports on how the data is being used and interacted with. This includes data ownership, as well as access and data usage, and record that information in a central location.

Ultimately, taking the steps above will pave the way to ongoing compliance and will enable financial firms to increase efficiency and productivity. Companies which are able to demonstrate better compliance and data security will inevitably gain the trust of customers, as well as avoiding the fines and punishments facing them from May 25, 2018.

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller

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U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller 1

WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.

Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.

“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.

Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.

While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.

“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”

Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.

“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.

“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”

The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.

“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.

“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.

Gorman’s books are both due out in September.

Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.

(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape

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Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape 2

By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD

Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.

As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.

As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?

Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world

No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.

In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.

Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.

The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses

Justin Pike

Justin Pike

Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.

Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.

The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.

As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.

But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.

A digital world post-COVID

Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.

There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.

Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.

Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says

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Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says 3

LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.

“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.

The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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