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Sharing data and risks helps combat fraud, says SAS VP

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Having organisations break down historic barriers and more proactively share data and risks helps the industry as a whole do a better job collectively in identifying fraud, Stu Bradley says.

Stewart (Stu) Bradley is the VP, Fraud and Security Division for global analytics software vendor, SAS. The division was created in April 2018 as part of SAS’ overall three-year strategic plan, consolidating resources where the company saw growth.

Bradley visited Australia recently to speak to local banks during “International Fraud Awareness Week.”

This week is not a celebration but a time “for financial institutions and telcos struggling with application fraud to root out illicit behaviours and come together to ensure we share information and ideas and put the appropriate spotlight on fraud which is a major issue that all our economies across the globe are dealing with,” Bradley said.

“Everything we do in the fraud and security world is aligned to the initiative of developing capabilities that ensure we are creating good on a global basis,” Bradley said, “whether preventing identity theft and the pain individuals go through when their identity is stolen, to better protection of data, to ensuring we are addressing leakage.”

These goals are not without challenges; “The market needs a more centralised and cohesive approach to analytics,” he says. “There’s a lot of hype about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and you name the buzzword and security vendors use them all. It’s created confusion and customers suffer from a patchwork quilt of technologies.”

Instead, Bradley says companies need an analytics layer to rationalise the investments they have made and to make sure they get value out of their data and can consolidate it and structure it appropriately. He says he is seeing this trend emerge in customers as they mature in their analytic endeavours. “Some customers have needs for us to be their analytic partner and build and deploy on their behalf while others want the capabilities to build and deploy themselves in a more governed way. It’s important to build an architecture to support a wide range of initiatives across a wide range of analytic capabilities.”

Either way, “one thing that rings through is the need to serve analytics for fraud and security up to a wide range of users and skillsets, and make analytics approachable to the business itself - more than just data scientists - so everyone can advantage from this analytic approach,” Bradley says.

In Bradley’s perception, where organisations sometimes struggle is they initially focus on an analytics approach without successfully addressing the data aspects of creating a sustainable analytic program. There’s a lot of time and effort to be spent on how you source the data, address quality, integrate, enrich and structure it so it is analytically ready. “Not having appropriate guidance to get your data right has an impact on analytic success,” he cautions.

Even when a company has its own data strategy in place, fraud “is both an institution issue and an industry issue,” Bradley says. “Success can come in many forms, and one of those is organisations both commercial and Government banding together to help the issue.”

“Having organisations break down historic barriers and more proactively share data and share risks so we can do a better job collectively is a fundamentally important piece in getting ahead of the game moving forward.”

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