EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

In spite of banking cyber security standards and healthy cyber security investment levels, financial firms continually see themselves on “most-hacked industries” lists. This undesirable achievement doesn’t mean that security is poor. Rather, threat actors disproportionately target the industry due to the availability of financial and data assets.

Mapping out cyber security for financial services firms is tough, as CISOs, CIOs and other decision-makers must circumnavigate stringent regulatory requirements, appeal to demanding customers and negotiate relationships with third-party vendors, which increases overall security complexity.

According to a 2020 Accenture report titled Securing the Digital Economy: Reinventing the Internet for Trust, financial firms may lose as much as $350 billion to cyber crime by 2025. How can organizations contend with the challenges of today’s threat landscape and achieve new heights when it comes to financial cyber security?

10 ways financial services companies can improve security

  1. Obtain security systems that can provide real-time assessments of your compliance. Ensure that you invest in a security solution that can meet the rigors of BASEL, SOX, NIST and GDPR requirements.
  2. Right after compliance, financial firms need to focus on obtaining comprehensive threat visibility. A unified management solution and a consolidated cyber security approach can lead to greater preemptive protection against sophisticated and advanced threats. In some cases, unified security can lead to a 50% increase in operational efficiency and lower total security costs.
  3. Invest in a strong endpoint security solution. You have endpoints everywhere. Credit card readers and ATMs represent physical means of accessing a financial firms’ network. Sophisticated criminals can cram malware onto physical machines and/or can leverage man-in-the-middle attacks to steal money or information.
  4. Implement zero trust. A zero trust methodology can ensure that only those who need access to certain systems can obtain it. In the case of credential theft, a zero trust approach reduces the likelihood that a hacker will access sensitive computing data.
  5. Ensure that third-party partners do not present security risks. Financial firms can request for third-party groups to undergo risk assessments and periodic risk audits.
  6. Provide employees with cyber security awareness training. Over 80% of data breaches involve a phishing attack. Employees need to know how to recognize these types of threats and others. Consider ongoing training campaigns and approachable means of conveying critical cyber crime concepts.
  7. Robust mobile security. The anywhere anytime approach to banking offers customers extensive convenience, but only when mobile phone threats are not a menace. Cyber criminals are quick to deploy malware that can manipulate mobile baking apps. In this day in age, financial firms would be sorely remiss in lacking comprehensive mobile-first threat prevention strategies.
  8. Developing quality customer services is a crucial step in safeguarding your brand, your institution and your network. If a customer experiencing a security issue cannot quickly and easily get ahold of an institutional representative, a cyber security problem may escalate and/or expand. This could affect your firm on a larger level.
  9. A holistic approach to financial cyber security is needed. It is incumbent upon IT departments to connect with other departments across the firm in order to develop a business-wide cyber security strategy. This can help cyber security professionals spot weaknesses, close security gaps, and avoid future threats.
  10. Improve your response time in the event of a breach; ensure that your organization has an incident response plan in-place. With ample advanced planning, schedule a cyber security drill and test out your incident response blueprints. You may want to schedule several drills in order to test out your plan at different hours of the day or with different staff members on-hand. To learn more about incident response planning for banks, click here.

Financial cyber security resources

Financial service infrastructure can be transformed into secure cloud-based environments. For most financial groups, the application layer is uniquely vulnerable to exploitation. Discover how your organization can reduce vulnerabilities and block hackers with an exceptionally secure ecosystem. Read a whitepaper on the topic, here.

Check out a real-world story about how a financial firm successfully mitigated its cyber security risks and eliminated exposure on its cloud-based trading platform. Click here.

Phishing attempts that target financial executives, and banking cyber security standards? Click here.