Securing the Checkout Line

Having recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, the reality that there is literally an app for everything is just now beginning to sink in. From my phone, office, and (the passenger seat of my) car, I’m able to have the week’s groceries delivered, a prescription refilled, and book a table at our favorite neighborhood brewpub. The customer-facing experience in the retail sector has been revolutionized in the past several years to make the checkout line more mobile and streamlined, but what about more secure?

Traditional thinking in security focuses on limiting attackers’ access to your data, by constricting user freedom. This is why, rather than an “Easy Button,” IT departments are more associated with a stern “NO” memo. But with evolving consumer tastes and the desire to streamline our lives, security must evolve or die if it is to have a place in this fast-evolving sector.

However, without strong, seamless security, we begin to lose trust in these digital systems that are making our life easier day to day. Recent breaches of personal information across stores, health providers, and governments show us how fragile this trust can be. And without it, we risk serious damage to the brands and innovation that drive our economy.

This was a core motivation behind President Obama’s decision to work with the retail and banking sectors at developing new ways to make us all more secure at the checkout. One group answering this call is the recently developed Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center (R-CISC). Palo Alto Networks is proud to be the first associate partner for this new effort to share cyberthreat intelligence and help drive new security research as this sector works to adopt new technologies to make our lives both more accessible and secure.

The R-CISC includes top brands and will set up channels for sharing automated cyber intelligence on new and evolving threats targeting their customers. Palo Alto Networks hopes to provide this community with valuable cyberthreat intelligence and access into the broader security community as they stand up and grow in membership.

Palo Alto Networks will also be participating in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to establish guidelines for Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs), by sharing their experience working with the Cyber Threat Alliance. The ISAO model serves to provide an alternative to organizations that don’t fit into the traditional, critical infrastructure sector-based model of sharing information or who want to start a trusted sharing group based on common interest.

These efforts are a helpful start, but in order for trusted communities to grow, those of us who are already on this journey will have to help those taking the first steps. We’re excited to be a part of this conversation and will continue to press to make our community more effective and secure.

 

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