If your organization has a stake in preventing fraud across your digital commerce operations, I’ll venture to say that you want Michael Reitblat and his team at Forter on your side.
As co-founder of the preeminent fraud-detection platform on the market – now available on SAP Store – Reitblat told me that he has long experience in the “bad guy space,” building a successful career around staying ahead of bad actors. That means he’s the good guy for those making an honest living selling products and services online, and for buyers and shoppers making purchases digitally.
Known as “The Trust Platform” for digital commerce, Forter doesn’t focus on keeping people out, rather on creating a seamless customer experience for trusted shoppers. How is this done? Machine learning and automated decisioning. Built upon a data set of billions of online identities, the Forter platform provides accurate decisions on whether the end shopper is who they say they are instantly. This ability to provide real-time decisions also streamlines merchant operations, eliminating any dependence on manual transaction reviews. That’s the key to understanding the value of this great app.
The truth is that both online consumers and merchants are victimized by sophisticated, well-organized fraud networks, Reitblat explained, stealing and selling data in a chain of hard-to-detect transactions. To counteract that, merchants can inadvertently block shoppers who most need to purchase online because they fit the “wrong profile” – living in a country known for a high preponderance of fraudsters, for example. Someone might live a long distance from a physical retailer and be unable to buy essential items online, through no fault of their own. “We are here to give those buyers access, and that is a great source of pride,” he remarked. Further, if a consumer faces hurdles to online purchasing because of clumsy verification processes, they’ll just shop somewhere else. It is therefore crucial to eliminate false declines and reduce friction throughout the purchase journey.
Foiling Scams through a Circle of Trust
It’s somewhat ironic that the best way to thwart fraud is to operate in an environment of trust. In fact, trust among competitors is at the heart of Forter Fraud Protection. Criminals will target one type of company – a shoe manufacturer, for example – and, when detected, move on to exploit the next, giving them the advantage. “We reverse that asymmetry,” Reitblat said. “If you attack one of our customers, the others are immunized, thanks to an aggregated global network of data. They would never share their data with each other, but they are happy to do it through us.” Simply put, the Forter solution is built to recognize people through their data profile and authenticate them quickly and automatically.
I asked Reitblat about credit card protection. When a consumer reports a fraudulent charge, he replied, the onus is on the retailer, who is left with the expense and is subject to fines or suspension by the credit card issuers if there are too many instances. I was also curious about how Forter stays in front of the fraudsters. Let’s just say that Reitblat, who grew up in Israel and was once a member of the intelligence community there, has his people. “Detecting security breaches, theft, the dark economy – it’s the same world,” he said. “We have an active research team staying on top of these constantly evolving threats.”
Strength in Numbers
Reitblat co-founded Forter after working with a cybersecurity company that went through an acquisition – a crushing blow for him. Fortunately, he had reunited with an old high school friend from Jerusalem who also recognized that online commerce was about to take off. “In 2013, we still had to convince investors of the need for an authentication capability, and that it had to be fully automated or otherwise would require too many people to be scalable.” That resistance changed quickly, and today Forter is larger than many of its major customers, processing more than US$250 billion in transaction value per year and employing 500 professionals around the world. The solution is deployed in more than 30 countries.
The events of the past two years have resulted in a burst of demand that Reitblat and his partner could not have foreseen. Besides the explosion in online shopping, purchasing behavior and customer demographics across industries changed. New retail features appeared, like curbside pickup, buy online/pick up in store (BOPIS), and contactless check-in and check-out in the hospitality industry. New online buyers included senior citizens, students, and those in advancing geographies who had never transacted online before. Additionally, with the sudden surge of orders to be delivered to alternate addresses – holiday gifts, for example, or people purchasing for family members – e-commerce systems had an extra challenge in verifying legitimacy. That process was less complex for Forter customers because its customers were already authenticated in the system.
Forter Fraud Protection is tightly integrated with SAP Commerce Cloud. Laura Jorgens, director of Partnerships for Forter, acknowledged SAP partner Netconomy for its “incredible support” in building out the integration. “Working with SAP and Netconomy feels like one ecosystem pulling together,” she said. “Hats off to the SAP partnership organization.” With the inclusion of Forter’s solution on SAP Store, she added, “SAP has become one of Forter’s most important partners.”
Why not see for yourself how Forter Trust Platform works? The solution was just named an SAP Pinnacle Award finalist in the New App of the Year on SAP Store category. It’s available for download on SAP Store. Or download the SAP and Forter overview brochure.
Rajiv Nema is senior director of SAP Store Partner Solutions.