A dialogue with Paige Schaffer
Below you will find our Q&A with Paige Schaffer from Generali Global Assistance. She’s shared some wonderful experiences and insights with us. Enjoy!
ITSPmagazine: Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What would you like our readers to know about you?
Schaffer: I am passionate about science and technology, particularly as it relates to neutralizing identity theft and corporate breaches. I’ve held leadership positions at Generali Global Assistance for more than 10 years and during this period cyber threats have multiplied exponentially.
The scope of identity theft and security breaches is truly shocking, and I am dedicated to informing people about the dangers lurking in cyberspace, and to providing innovative solutions that address the problem head-on. It is critical to educate both consumers about the importance of identity theft prevention, monitoring, alerting, and resolution services in order to mitigate risk. As President of GGA’s Identity and Digital Protection Services Global Unit, I am proud to lead a team of identity resolution experts who care deeply about protecting people’s identities and work tirelessly to restore them to good health should theft occur.
I am excited about our new partnership with the University of Texas at Austin Center for Identity, the only organization of its kind in the U.S. that is housed at a top-tier university. Generali Global Assistance will serve as a strategic partner and I will serve on the Center’s advisory board, and through this relationship we will provide expert guidance to drive forward the Center’s mission of research and education on identity management, as well as the impact of identity theft on society, business and government.
ITSPmagazine: Tell us a bit about why your role is important, and what you value most about your job and your role at GGA.
Schaffer: I lead one of the fastest-growing units in Generali Group’s global portfolio of businesses and am truly motivated knowing that our service can have a profound impact on the lives of customers. As a result of our involvement with several key, impactful organizations servicing and educating society, we can impact change for the better in a meaningful way. We are headquartered in Bethesda, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC, and as such are uniquely positioned to liaise with government organizations and enact advocacy initiatives.
More than any other aspect of my job, I value the people I work with. My entire team gets as excited about our success as I do, and I appreciate that they recognize what an important service we collectively provide. I also enjoy the global aspect of our organization. It is incredibly satisfying to work with teams around the world that bring different perspectives and unique insights to our group.
ITSPmagazine: Tell us about how GGA positively impacts society; how do they increase awareness of threats, community outreach, or even offer better services or products.
Schaffer: As an organization we continually look to improve our services because they are designed to help people, typically in times of distress or need. The better we do our jobs – whether that’s helping a customer to resolve an identity theft situation or prevent it altogether – the more peace of mind we can provide.
Identity theft and fraud cause a myriad of personal problems, including feelings of anger and helplessness, sleep disturbance and the inability to concentrate, and we effort to protect against these issues. We strongly believe that protecting people, and society as a whole, from identity theft has a positive impact on their lives.
We also pursue partnerships that promote stronger identity protection for all of society. Through our collaboration with the Identity Theft Resource Center, which offers free identity theft assistance, we distribute collaborative white papers, webinars and social media alerts to educate consumers on identity risks, and how they can mitigate them.
Additionally, as a partner and board member with the University of Texas at Austin Center for Identity, we engage in dialogue that will shape how organizations protect information as it relates to employee and/or customer identities, the types of roles that will evolve in these organizations, and help steer the Center’s research focus for the future – all of which will result in better products and better protection.
We hold internal events to educate our employees on identity protection best practices, including seminars on what to do in the event that they are impacted by a data breach as well as “shredding days” whereby we encourage them to shred documents that contain personally identifiable information. Additionally, we regularly disseminate information to the general public on identity theft risks and preventative measures in the form of white papers, blog posts, webinars, press releases, and more.
ITSPmagazine: Can you tell us about a recent accomplishment you have had, such as a project, an event you worked on, or a situation you overcame?
Schaffer: The Generali Group, GGA’s parent company, annually selects eight business unit heads to present their innovations to the Generali Global Leadership team, which is comprised of 300 CEOs from around the world. I am immensely proud to have been selected to present GGA’s Identity and Digital Protection software-as-a-service and restoration services to this prestigious team. The Generali Group, one of the largest insurance companies in the world, is a Fortune 50 organization with 80,000 employees, and I am honored to have been selected as one of eight business unit heads to present. I believe this to be indicative of the quality of GGA’s Identity and Digital Protection offerings. As a result of my presentation, several additional Generali Group business units are actively pursuing integration of our services for their own businesses.
ITSPmagazine: Can you tell us about a recent accomplishment by the GGA team?
Schaffer: In April we launched our new Digital Services Platform, Iris OnWatch – an easy-to-use portal with white label capabilities that provides high levels of value to our clients and their customers. The solution offers a wide range of identity protection and identity theft resolution solutions, including anti-phishing and anti-key logging software; identity monitoring and alerts that scour all corners of the Internet, including the Deep Web and Dark Web; single- or tri-credit bureau reports, scores, monitoring and alerting functionality; up to $1 million in identity protection insurance; and access to our award-winning, multilingual, 24/7 Identity Restoration team.
The platform’s development involved key stakeholders across the Company – from product and marketing specialists to members of the legal, compliance and IT developments – working collaboratively towards an industry-leading offering. Iris OnWatch is aligned with the empathy and care of our customers that lies at the heart of our DNA, resulting in an unmatched user experience. Additionally, we conducted substantial third party research to validate what we believed to be robust and valuable identity protection bundles that we offer to our clients, and their end customers.
We have signed a number of new clients to Iris OnWatch, and the platform has been so successful that we are launching in Canada early next year and expect to expand the offering across international markets by leveraging Generali’s global footprint.
ITSPmagazine: Tell us one final thing about how your work and your understanding of IT security has changed your life, your perspective.
Schaffer: IT security is vital to everything we do. With the number of breaches and identity theft incidents growing, it’s hard not to worry about identity protection. We have worked tirelessly to modernize our services, but there are still significant dangers lurking in cyberspace. These threats have forced me to never be complacent about identity theft, always be on the lookout for new types of online criminal activity, and always push for innovation.
I spoke with Shafraz Branudeen, our Vice President of IT Operations and Infrastructure for North America, to determine his viewpoint on customer service as an IT professional. He noted that at GGA, we always put ourselves in the customer’s shoes when we make technology decisions. Just as our Identity Restoration team is chiefly concerned with a caring and empathetic approach to assisting customers with identity theft issues, our IT department prioritizes the customer experience. Our entire organization is focused on a people-first approach to business, and we believe that the human element is a critical aspect of providing IT security services.
It is inevitable that people will be victimized by identity theft, but fortunately we at GGA are experts at restoring identities to good health, with our certified resolution specialists available to take charge 24/7. With the rise of the Internet of Things, the constant stream of data breaches, and privacy and IT security so frequently in the news, it’s candidly impossible NOT to think and worry about these issues. Since identity protection is our business, we must be particularly vigilant with security.
I was in a certification class recently and a classmate suggested that, “if you are not completely off the grid, you are hosed.” In other words, all of our information is out there, often traded illegally and exploited by nefarious parties. However, all is not lost. We can take steps to mitigate our risk, and this is where GGA’s software, services and expertise come in.
About Paige Schaffer
As President & COO of the Identity and Digital Protection Services Global Unit for Generali Global Assistance, Ms. Schaffer leads sales & marketing strategy and revenue growth initiatives, managing operations as well global expansion. Leveraging her subject matter expertise of ten years in identity protection and restoration services, particularly as they apply to B2B2C software-as-a-service, she was the visionary behind the creation and evolution of the Company’s innovative Identity Protection services, and was integral in its launch of new, flexible technologies.