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PwC survey: 30% hike in detected security incidents; 16% jump in reported fraud

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — While retail and consumer organizations have made significant security improvements, they have not kept pace in today’s business environment and are relying on yesterday’s security practices to combat current business threats and risks, according to PwC US’s recently released 2014 Global State of Information Security Survey.

Survey respondents reported a 30% jump in detected security incidents over the last year. Another key concern among R&C companies — particularly online retailers that rely on credit card payments — is fraud. This year, 16% of respondents report incidents of fraud, a 25% increase over last year.

Additionally, with a concurrent rise in the volume of data being shared digitally, it has resulted in a proliferation of data loss, particularly significant for retailers as the on-going adoption of an omnichannel shopping model requires that more data is collected, stored, and shared.

Among external risk factors, hackers represent a serious and growing
 risk. Thirty percent of survey respondents attribute security incidents to hackers, up 45% over last year. Another top source of incidents attributed to outsiders is competitors, cited by 16% of respondents.

Other key findings include:

  • 30% of survey respondents attribute security incidents to hackers, up 45% over last year;
  • Only 19% of R&C respondents say they have procedures in place to help protect intellectual property;
  • 65% of respondents say their security strategy is aligned with business needs.

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IBM: Physical stores will turn the tables in five years as buying local beats online

BY Marianne Wilson

Armonk, N.Y. — In five years, buying local will beat online. That is one of five predictions that appear on IBM’s eight annual “IBM 5 in 5” forecast, which the company describes as a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years.

According to IBM, online stores currently have an advantage in their ability to learn from the choices consumers make on the web. But physical stores will have turned the tables in five years, magnifying the digital experience better than a customer’s favorite online-only retailer. Savvy retailers are already experimenting with new services that combine digital and physical experiences in the store. For example, British retailer Topshop launched a Christmas campaign with Pinterest, allowing customers in its flagship stores to pin, share and shop for items on giant touch-screens. In the future, retailers will layer increasing levels of engagement and personalization on top of such experiences, ultimately merging the instant gratification of physical shopping with the richness of online shopping, IBM predicted.

In five years, retailers could rely on Watson-like technologies to equip sales associates to be expert about every product in the store, the report said.

“As mobile devices supported by cloud computing enable individuals to share what makes them tick, their health or nutritional needs, virtual closets, social networks, retailers will soon be able to anticipate with incredible accuracy the products a shopper most wants and needs,” the report said. “As a result, stores will transform into immersive destinations with experiences customized for each individual. And given their proximity and multiple footprints, stores will be able to offer shoppers a variety of fast pick-up or delivery options, wherever the customer is. Two day shipping will feel like snail mail.”

This year’s IBM forecast explores the idea that “everything” will learn — driven by a new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with us in a more natural and personalized way. These innovations are beginning to emerge enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics, and learning technologies all coming together, with the appropriate privacy and security considerations, for consumers, citizens, students and patients.

According to IBM, a new era in computing will lead to breakthroughs that will amplify human abilities, assist us in making good choices, look out for us and help us navigate our world in powerful new ways.

“We know more now than any other generation at any time has known. And yet, we struggle to keep up with this flood of increasingly complex information, let alone make sense of the meaning that is inherent in the massive amounts of data we are acquiring at ever faster rates,” said Dr. Dario Gil, director, cognitive experience lab, IBM. “By creating technology that is explicitly designed to learn and enhance our cognition we will usher in a new era of progress for both individuals and for society at large.”

Here are IBM’s five predictions that will define the future and impact us at a personal level:

  • The classroom will learn you;
  • Buying local will beat online;
  • Doctors will routinely use your DNA to keep you well;
  • A digital guardian will protect you online; and
  • The city will help you live in it.

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Sears Holdings elects new board member

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Cesar L. Alvarez, co-chairman of the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, has been elected to membership on the Sears Holdings board of directors.

Alvarez joined Greenberg Traurig in 1973. Prior to his appointment as co-chairman, Alvarez served the firm as its executive chairman for more than three years, and as its CEO 13 years. Prior to becoming CEO in 1997, he practiced securities, corporate and international law for more than 25 years.

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