PCATS Conference Focuses on Data Security

NEW ORLEANS -- Each year, the Petroleum Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards (PCATS) holds its Annual Conference in January, bringing together retailer and supplier members to work on setting technology standards for the benefit of the convenience store industry. This year's conference, taking place here from Jan. 11-15, 2010, revealed a major theme -- data security.

With PCI Compliance being a major priority for retailers in all industries, the focus on security is not surprising, and the July 1, 2010, deadline for PIN Pad compliance at the pump is still looming.

"Data security is a very hot topic right now in our industry because it affects everything that we do in our retail operations," Scott Wood, executive director at PCATS, told CSNews Online. "PCATS, as an industry leader, has created a committee to focus on implementation, education and strategy of data security issues."

In 2009, PCATS established a Data Security Committee chaired by NACS consultant Gray Taylor, with three working groups under the committee: Data Security Education, Data Security Implementation and Data Security Strategy. And this year's conference featured special sessions with Coalfire Systems Inc.'s president, Rick Dakin, called "Survivor's Guide to Data Security."

"The committee work will help with immediate PCI concerns, as well as long range data security concerns by defining best practices and standards that will affect the entire c-store community," Wood told CSNews Online.

Dakin also led the CIO Data Security Boot Camp, which was a new addition to the conference, running Jan. 19-20, and offering 12 full continuing professional education (CPE) credits to those retailers who attended. The boot camp focused on payment card industry (PCI) compliance requirements, including deadlines, merchant levels and reporting, and more.

During the conference, the members of PCATS elected a new group of board members. Patrick Lewis, partner of Oasis Stop 'N Go Convenience Stores, with headquarters in Twin Falls, Idaho, is the 2010 chair, and the vice chair is Avsha Klachuk, director of marketing technology at Alon USA, headquartered in Dallas.

PCATS will once again have a track of sessions at the upcoming NACStech Show slated from May 5-7, 2010, in New Orleans.

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