For clients in this space, the need to manage the collection and storage of personal and sensitive data, creates a strong demand for talent that can engineer, build and support strong products and IT infrastructures that are designed to effectively reduce the risk of data breach and identity theft.

Cyber security or IT security refers to the effective management and protection of data while ensuring and maintaining its integrity. When a customer makes a payment at either a virtual or physical point of sale, the transaction must be reliable and secure. The customer must be confident that his/her personal details are not going to be shared or otherwise compromised. The risks associated with a breach of individual personal data are devastating for the customer concerned, but as evidenced in the recent cases involving Target, Home Depot and Staples, companies that suffer a massive data breach involving millions of compromised card customers, can have crippling reputational and financial costs for the retailers, the issuers, the networks and the acquirers.

Alternatives to storing data on a card or within a mobile device often leads to exploring cloud base solutions, and the rising exploration of tokenization and host card emulation (HCE). The quest for a more secure means of payment transaction began many years ago with the shift from a mag stripe to EMV and in many cases, the absence of chip and pin compliance stalls the progress and introduction of newer technologies that are dependent on the acceptance vehicles that an EMV environment promotes. The cost for a merchant to update POS devices and systems can be costly and change can be slow and cumbersome to implement as a result.

Cyber currencies, are increasingly entering the mainstream and are slowly beginning to shed their former reputation and association with unscrupulous money laundering and crime. But as more and more merchants sign up to accept these alternate currencies, and as consumers become more receptive to the idea (there are now more than 250 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide), regulation, compliance and fraud prevention strategies must be considered. Despite the fact that today, cyber currency and other emerging payment disruptors are not required to comply with money laundering regulations and largely operate beyond the governance of central banks, as the currencies and technologies enter mainstream markets and as acceptance increases, we would predict that regulation, compliance, risk management and internal governance and controls will become a necessity and these emerging disruptors will need to look at their own internal talent in order to build out capabilities in these areas.

Aside from a clear need to hire strong technologically minded and innovative  product engineers to drive and support the ways consumers are beginning to pay, clients clearly need to ramp up in the functional areas of security, fraud, identity management, data storage and customer authentication. For example, the recently  introduced ApplePay, uses biometrics as a security measure, as users must touch a fingerprint sensor to approve a transaction.  Voice recognition has also been around for years enabling simple functional commands, and perhaps in the future we will be able to pay a bill, or make a payment, by simply talking into a device, but how those transactions are verified, supported and protected against fraudsters requires access to some of the brightest and sharpest talent  to develop stringent risk mitigation strategies and compliance or regulatory standards that protect both the consumer, the merchant and the payment provider.