Retailers Need Managed File Transfer(MFT) to Secure Data

Retail has an information security problem. Hundreds of retailers have been hacked in the last decade and latest reports suggest that it could be just the top of the iceberg. More than 1,000 U.S. retailers could be infected with malicious software lurking in their cash register computers, allowing hackers to steal customer financial data, the Homeland Security Department said Friday. Information security is a big challenge for any company but even more so for retail. Credit card theft wary customers may stay away from stores and impact bottom line. Earlier this year Target blamed the data breach for 46% slide in earnings.

Information security is a complex and tricky topic and one of the technologies which improves data security tremendously is Managed File Transfer(MFT). Retailers store and move quite a bit of data between stores and central IT. Additionally they have to exchange lot of data with the suppliers and other partners. Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a class of file transfer systems that use state of art security technology to centralize data transfers in a single system. This protects unauthorized access of data and limits exposure as file transfers happen through one central system. Since this central system uses state of art security and encryption to protect data both at rest and in-transit, it protects against hackers.

Managed File Transfer is finding its use in several sectors in Banking/Finance and Healthcare sectors. As more and more records become digital e.g. EHR (electronic health records), there is an increasing need to encrypt this data and protect it when it is exchanged.  Retailers need to review their security infrastructure to improve security on both ends – the Point of Sale (POS) and enterprise IT side. MFT can provide a secure backbone for enterprise data and work with secure POS systems to keep hackers at bay. Multi channel retail requires that data from each channel be secured and MFT can be the most important system in the middle that secures customer and financial data.

As customer go out and shop this labor day, hope retailers learn from the past breaches and take steps to protect shopper data.

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Poor B2B Integration Has Serious Impact on Financial Partnerships in England

A lack of solid B2B integration between financial institutions in the UK has had a negative impact on profits and public confidence, according to a study by Freeform Dynamics, an analysis firm.

Over a third of the financial organizations surveyed, 35 percent, reported that they qualify as “bottom-tier” B2B performers, the study said. Failed updates between partners, visibility issues and lack of motivation to improve were cited as key problems.

Industry integration failures making the news have only underscored the problem. The Bank of Scotland’s issues with the accuracy of mortgage payment records were a cited example.

The report, commissioned by Liaison Technologies, cited lack of B2B integration skills and knowledge, poor management support, ownership issues as major contributors to the shortfall.

“It’s clear from our study that the shortcomings of B2B solution providers have played a significant part in perpetuating the low levels of integration we see among UK businesses,” said Dale Vile of Freeform. All the more reason, per Vile’s observation, that financial institutions should invest in a reliable and flexible B2B integration solution from a reputable integration software vendor.

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The Rise of APIs for B2B Integration

APIs are everywhere. Companies are exposing APIs to generate new revenue streams. By exposing applications and data to the outside world via APIs, companies can monetize their existing IT infrastructure. That means they can generate additional revenue without significant investment.

Netflix has over 100,000 DVD titles that it exposes through APIs for integration with over 200 devices, including several type of mobile devices. By delivering data through APIs, Netflix not only created a new revenue stream but also became a leader in this category. Stripe is a new start up which processes payments and exposes its services via an API suite. APIs are at the front, right and center of business model transformations happening today.

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B2B Integration – The 1st Digitization Enabler Remains One of The Most Important

In this digital age, every company wants to become a digital enterprise so that it can connect with customers across different channels and offer them new products. But long before companies were even thinking of connecting with customers digitally, they were connecting with each other digitally.

B2B Integration was the 1st Digitization enabler which brought efficiency to B2B transactions between companies and their partners. Companies discovered the benefits of connecting digitally with suppliers and other partners several decades ago. Just to put things in perspective:

  • The first forms of EDI emerged almost 30 years ago when there were smartphones or for that matter even cellphones.
  • EDI is even a few years older than email (SMTP). The ANSI X12 emerged earlier than SMTP although the newer mechanisms such as AS2 are more recent.
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