Synthetic Data Can Conquer FinServ’s Fear of Data Security and Privacy

Synthetic Data Can Conquer FinServ’s Fear of Data Security and Privacy

This is a sponsored blog post by Randy Koch, CEO of ARM Insight, a financial data technology company based in Portland, Oregon. Here, he explores what synthetic data is, and why financial institutions should start taking note.

You’ve heard it before – data is invaluable. The more data your company possesses the more innovation and insights you can bring to your customers, partners and solutions. But financial services organizations, which handle extremely sensitive card data and personally identifiable information (PII), face a difficult data management challenge. These organizations have to navigate how to use their data as an asset to increase efficiencies or reduce operational costs, all while maintaining privacy and security protocols necessary to comply with stringent industry regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It’s a tall order.

We’ve found that by accurately finding and converting sensitive data into a revolutionary new category – synthetic data – financial services organizations can finally use sensitive data to maximize business and cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions, without having to worry about compliance, security and privacy.

But first, let’s examine the traditional types of data categorizations and dissect why financial services organizations shouldn’t rely on them to make data safe and usable.

Raw and Anonymous Data – High Security and Privacy Risk

The two most traditional types of data categorization types – raw and anonymous – come with pros and cons. With raw data, all the personally identifiable information (PII) fields for both the consumer (name, social security number, email, phone, etc.) and the associated transaction remain tagged to data. Raw data carries a considerable risk – and institutional regulations and customer terms and conditions mandate strict privacy standards for raw data management. If a hacker or an insider threat were to exfiltrate this type of data, the compliance violations and breach headlines would be dire. To use raw data widely across your organization borders on negligence – regardless of the security solutions you have in place.

And with anonymous data, PII is removed, but the real transaction data remains unchanged. It’s lower risk than raw data and used more often for both external and internal data activities. However, if a data breach occurs, it is very possible to reverse engineer anonymous data to reveal PII. The security, compliance and privacy risks still exist.

Enter A New Data Paradigm – Synthetic Data

Synthetic data is fundamentally new to the financial services industry. Synthetic data is the breakthrough data type that addresses privacy, compliance, reputational, and breach headline risks head-on. Synthetic data mimics real data while removing the identifiable characteristics of the customer, banking institution, and transaction. When properly synthesized, it cannot be reverse engineered, yet it retains all the statistical value of the original data set. Minor and random field changes made to the original data set completely protect the consumer identity and transaction.

With synthetic data, financial institutions can freely use sensitive data to bolster product or service development with virtually zero risks. Organizations that use synthetic data can truly dig down in analytics, including spending for small business users, customer segmentation for marketing, fraud detection trends, or customer loan likelihood, to name just a few applications. Additonally, synthetic data can safely rev up machine learning and artificial intelligence engines with an influx of valuable data to innovate new products, reduce operational costs and produce new business insights.

Most importantly, synthetic data helps fortify internal security in the age of the data breach. Usually, the single largest data security risks for financial institutions is employee misuse or abuse of raw or anonymous data. Organizations can render misuse or abuse moot by using synthetic data.

An Untapped Opportunity

Compared to other industries, financial institutions haven’t jumped on the business opportunities that synthetic data enables. Healthcare technology companies use synthetic data modeled on actual cancer patient data to facilitate more accurate, comprehensive research. In scientific applications, volcanologists use synthetic data to reduce false positives for eruption predictions from 60 percent to 20 percent. And in technology, synthetic data is used for innovations such as removing blur in photos depicting motion and building more robust algorithms to streamline the training of self-driving automobiles.

Financial institutions should take cues from other major industries and consider leveraging synthetic data. This new data categorization type can help organizations effortlessly adhere to the highest security, privacy and compliance standards when transmitting, tracking and storing sensitive data. Industry revolutionaries have already started to recognize how invaluable synthetic data is to their business success, and we’re looking forward to seeing how this new data paradigm changes the financial services industry for the better.

What is the California Consumer Privacy Act and How Should You Prepare?

In this sponsored blog post, Akshatha Kamath, Content Marketing at MoEngage, breaks down new privacy legislation which could impact financial institutions across the states.

Stronger privacy protection and greater data transparency online are growing global trends. The Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the Facebook data of at least 87 million people were misappropriated, and other instances like this have brought attention to how businesses collect, use, and sell consumer data. Concern over the use and misuse of this data is widespread. 

In many global jurisdictions, the response has been privacy legislation which forces businesses to comply with sometimes onerous regulations regarding consumer data and privacy. One of these pieces of legislation is the California Consumer Privacy Act. In its second section it lays out how pervasive privacy concerns have become and how “it is almost impossible to apply for a job, raise a child, drive a car, or make an appointment without sharing personal information.”

All of this data can be great for marketers, but businesses need to comply with privacy laws in order to avoid fines and stay up to date with consumer demand for privacy and data transparency online.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (AB-375)

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) is by far the strongest privacy legislation enacted in the United States at this time. Businesses must be in compliance by January 1, 2020 (the starting date on which the state can bring enforcement actions involving noncompliance).

For marketers there are three major things to be aware of. First is that wherever personal information is collected businesses must disclose what information they collect and how they will use it. Secondly, businesses have to provide consumers with the ability to “opt out” of having their information sold to third parties. Thirdly, businesses must allow consumers to view and delete the information that has been collected about them.

Is My Company Affected by the CCPA?

If your business (or for-profit entity) is located in California and meets any of the following criteria, it has privacy requirements that need to be met under the law. The criteria are:

  • Your business’ annual revenue is over $25 million
  • Your business receives information of over 50,000 consumers, households, or devices annually
  • At least half of your business’ annual revenue comes from selling personal information

The law doesn’t differentiate between brick-and-mortar and online companies. This means that even a company with no physical presence or employees in California could still do business there and therefore has obligations under the law. So your business doesn’t even need to be located in California for the California Consumer Privacy Act to apply to you. Like the GDPR, CCPA will affect businesses outside the law’s jurisdiction.

Consumer’s Rights Under the CCPA

Consumers have new rights under the CCPA that companies need to be aware of. These rights fall into three broad categories:

  1. The Right to Knowledge – Under the CCPA, businesses must allow consumers to obtain, twice per annum at zero cost, all the information that the business has about them, how that information was collected, and who else has been given said information.
  2. The Right to be Forgotten – The CCPA stipulates that consumers must be able to request the deletion of all of their personal information from a company. If the information has been shared with third parties then those parties must also delete said information.
  3. The Right to Control who has Access to their Information -Businesses must allow consumers to be able to opt out of the resale of their information. Consumers under the age of 16 must affirmatively opt in to allow the resale of their data. Consumers under the age of 13 must have written permission from a parent or guardian in order to allow the resale of their data.

What Marketers Need to Do

First of all, marketers need to review their current procedures and understand their policies and procedures regarding the collection, storage and use of subscribers’ data and mailing preferences. They need to know how a user’s preferences about their data can be stored and how documentation would be provided if a user requests it.

Second of all, marketers need to think in the long term about how they set up their systems. For example, even though GDPR only applies to EU visitors, many companies have opted to implement the same higher standards across their entire platform in order to proactively prepare for similar legislations. In the same vein, marketers who prepare for the CCPA will have a leg up if privacy bills that are making their way through the legislature pass in New York, Mississippi, and Massachusetts.

Penalties for Non-Compliance of the CCPA

If, because of a business’ negligence, a consumer’s information is improperly disclosed, the CCPA makes it easier for consumers to sue (even if there is no evidence that the data breach caused the consumer harm!).

What could be very costly for businesses is the potential for class-action lawsuits due to a data breach. Companies could be on the hook for between $100 and $750 per incident (or even more if the actual damages exceed $750).

Conclusion

The California Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Marketers should prepare in advance to make changes to comply with the regulations. At the same time, CCPA presents marketers with an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between consumers and your business. Educate consumers on the data you are collecting and how you make use of it. Be sure to tell them their rights under the CCPA and how you are compliant. This can build trust with consumers and help you use the CCPA to your advantage.

Finovate Alumni News

Around the web

  • Nice Actimize introduces surveillance system, SURVEIL-X.
  • Scalable Capital teams up with Raisin to offer its customers the ability to invest in fixed-term deposits at partner Baader Bank.
  • Standard and Premium customers of Revolut in 26 markets now have access to stock trading via the platform.
  • Financial Times highlights Meniga as a fintech to watch. Come see Meniga’s live demo at FinovateFall next week in New York!
  • NYMBUS appoints Dr. Joerg Richter as its new Chief Operating Officer, Platforms. NYMBUS will showcase its newest technology at FinovateFall next week in New York!
  • Tradeshift to help Spendency app users leverage their transaction data.
  • iProov releases HTML v.2 Beta on GitHub to help users secure user identity in HTML5.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finicity Launches Verification of Income and Employment Solution

Real-time financial data access and insights company Finicity has unveiled its latest solution to accelerate the lending process and further the trend toward digitization in the mortgage industry. This week, the company launched its Verification of Income and Employment (VOIE) solution, which leverages bank data and a scan, photo, or PDF of the borrower’s pay statement to make borrower verifications both faster and more accurate. In its statement Finicity noted that VOIE is expected to successfully provide coverage of more than 70%. This compares favorably to the accuracy rates of existing automated solutions, which top out near 25%.

Calling Finicity’s VOIE “the new gold standard of income and employment verification,” company CEO Steve Smith suggested the technology would be a significant new resource for lenders. “We know it will be met with fast adoption by key industry players who aim to be on the cutting edge of lending technology,” he said, adding “(with) VOIE building upon our current Verification of Assets solution, lenders will now be able to use Finicity as a one-stop-shop for digital verification.”

Appreciation for Finicity’s VOIE solution has already been heard from the likes of major mortgage industry players such as Freddie Mac, Quicken Loans, and Experian – all of which have leveraged Finicity’s technology to automate the manual processes that have historically made the loan origination experience cumbersome for all parties involved.

Freddie Mac, for example, highlighted the contribution Finicity’s VOIE would bring to its own asset and income modeler (AIM). “(Our) partnership with Finicity has helped to create a waterfall-like approach by adding paystub data to our AIM capability using accurate and verifiable data that meet our underwriting standards,” Senior Director of Technology Integration at Freddie Mac Kevin Kaufman said. “This means more opportunities for representation and warranty relief and greater costs savings for lenders all while delivering a better lending experience to borrowers.”

Quicken Loans EVP of Client Experience Heather Lovier echoed Kaufman’s praise for the technology, referring to VOIE as “a critical next step in the evolution of the mortgage process.”

The news of Finicity’s Verification of Income and Employment solution comes one month after the company introduced its Student Loan Account Verification solution. This technology enables employer repayment programs to access Finicity’s ACH endpoint to confirm the accuracy of accounts and routing numbers when making loan payments on behalf of their employees. Fellow Finovate alum Vault is among the companies to have partnered with Finicity in order to put the technology to work on behalf of employer-based student loan contribution programs.

Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Finicity demonstrated its credit decisioning solutions – including its Verification of Income (VoI) and Verification of Assets (VoA) technology – at FinovateFall 2017. The company has raised nearly $80 million in funding, and includes Experian Ventures and Bridge Bank among its investors.

Earlier this year, Finicity inked a major partnership with Ellie Mae, integrating its Verification of Assets solution into Ellie Mae’s Encompass Digital Lending Platform. This makes Finicity’s technology available to the more than 230,000 users and thousands of providers who, as part of Ellie Mae’s partner network, process “approximately one-third” of all the residential loans originated in the U.S.

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: Symbiotic

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateFall on September 23 through 25, 2019 in New York City. Register today and save your spot.

Symbiotic is presenting a disruption that will change the payments industry; a mechanism that enables a simple cellphone to accept contactless card payments with no additional devices required.

Features

  • Now anyone with a cell phone can accept contactless card payments
  • No additional devices required, just a cellphone
  • This solution can be integrated with apps that already exist very easily

Why it’s great
Symbiotic represents a new paradigm where anyone can accept card payments with just a cellphone, no additional devices required. The possibilities are enormous and create a new era of applications in the payments industry

Presenter

Javier Chacon, Founder and CEO
Chacon has been a banker for 26 years working in the finance industry. He is an expert in digital transformation, payment methods, and innovation, as well as an industry opinion leader in the field.
LinkedIn

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: Qwil Messenger

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateFall on September 23 through 25, 2019 in New York City. Register today and save your spot.

Qwil Messenger’s single chat app enables participants in any location to engage in branded, professional conversations with their companies, whilst meeting the most stringent security and regulatory requirements.

Features

  • Highly secure conversations and file transfers with full audit record
  • Deployable in minutes in any data center globally
  • APIs for integration and automation and connectors to enterprise systems

Why it’s great
Qwil Messenger’s single chat platform replaces email for external communications on mobile and web, and works the way you want it to: as an integrated solution

Presenters

Laurent Guyot, CFO
Guyot brings extensive experience in financial strategy, marketing, and capital raising, as well as a significant network of financial services contacts globally.
LinkedIn

Peter Reading, CEO
Reading has almost 20 years of experience designing and delivering technology-led change in the financial services sector.
LinkedIn

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: Wallit

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateFall on September 23 through 25, 2019 in New York City. Register today and save your spot.

Wallit is a rewards-based savings app that helps teens save and spend money with an easy way to earn cash rewards from brands and retailers.

Features

  • Transforms how brands, retailers, and consumers engage through mobile technology
  • Provides a consumer engagement platform for banks and credit unions
  • Enables consumers to earn cash rewards for goal-based savings

Why it’s great
Wallit is a rewards-based saving app that empowers teens to manage money better with an easy way to earn cash rewards on everyday saving and spending.

Presenter

Mike Vien, CEO and Co-Founder
Vien has more than 25 years of experience as an internet executive and entrepreneur in the financial services industry.
LinkedIn.

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: MoEngage

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateFall on September 23 through 25, 2019 in New York City. Register today and save your spot.

MoEngage is an Intelligent Customer Engagement Platform trusted by enterprises to personalize every customer interaction and drive better engagement, retention, loyalty and lifetime value.

Features

  • Bring together a unified view of your customers
  • Map out cross channel consumer journeys
  • Deliver personalized communication on the right channel and at the right time

Why it’s great
MoEngage has been rated by clients among the highest in overall experience in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant 2019.

Presenters

Ehren Maedge, VP North America
Maedge heads MoEngage’s business in North America. He is directly responsible for sales and customer relationships in the region.
LinkedIn

Sagar Gore, Sr. Director – Solutions Consulting
Gore is a seasoned MarTech professional with a rich experience of solutions consulting spanning around 15 years.
LinkedIn

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: Salary Fits

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateFall on September 23 through 25, 2019 in New York City. Register today and save your spot.

Get a glimpse of the future of financial wellbeing at the workplace with SalaryFits. The company will demo its easy and inclusive access to credit, as well as preview its newest feature, SalaryPay.

Features

  • Provides a cardless salary advance alternative for the unbanked
  • Enables paying for products and services with a QR code
  • Processes transactions seamlessly via salary deduction

Why it’s great
SalaryFits empowers people financially through their employment relationship. The solution improves their financial wellbeing while increasing margins for financial institutions.

Presenter

Delber Lage, CEO
Lage has advised finance and tech companies around the world to capture global opportunities. As CEO of SalaryFits, he is leading the company’s international expansion, ensuring sustainable growth.
LinkedIn.

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: PayFi

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateFall on September 23 through 25, 2019 in New York City. Register today and save your spot.

PayFi is a marketplace that allows businesses and community banks to partner through an interoperable, risk-based back-office platform for community bankers.

Features

  • Instant bank bill payment
  • Liquidity
  • Cash controls

Why it’s great
PayFi is a real-time payments platform for community banks and businesses.

Presenters

Travis Dulaney, CEO
Dulaney has 25+ years of experience in financial services, payments tech, processing, international and domestic banking, and regulatory agencies such as the FDIC, the Federal Reserve, OCFI, and CFPB.
LinkedIn

Peter Gordon, CRO
Gordon has 25+ years of experience in financial services and payments, with leadership roles at Mastercard, Santander, FIS, and RBS Citizens.
LinkedIn