On a daily basis, information flows in organizations for the senior management to make smart decisions. The various stakeholders (employees, customers, contractors) are interfaced through various technologies.
However, the technological infrastructure can also result in serious security issues. The probable areas of intrusion are unlimited. Security experts and business leaders are trying to find an answer to the question - Is it feasible to have a robust security in an increasingly interfaced environment?
Though the answer is yes, it needs a radical transformation in processes and practices encompassing the financial services sector. The focus is not only on IT. Robust security facilitates a positive customer experience.
Cybercrime and Profitability
Financial institutions are at great risk since they are perceived to be an easy target for cybercriminals. According to a survey by IBM, "Financial markets, insurance, computer and professional services together account for over 40% of all security incidents worldwide."
The losses, pertaining to cybercrime in other sectors could be due to industrial intelligence and fraud related to intellectual property, but in banking, online fraud is a possibility.
Any fraud related to the intellectual property and industrial intelligence could lead to reduced shareholder value, shut down of the business and net financial losses. These are the issues impacting the global financial sector, not only because the main reasons are not identified or the disruption to the customer is immediate, but also because they can result in a significant loss of money.
As per Andrew Haldane, Financial Stability Director at the Bank of England, "Cyber-risk has become a more pressing concern than economic depression and the Eurozone crisis, as it is a rapidly rising area of risk with potentially systemic implications".
Comprehending the seriousness of the security risk is only a beginning. Financial institutions must establish an in-depth security intelligence strategy that would enable the financial institutions to have an insight into the perceived threats.
Financial institutions leverage top-notch analytics to get an understanding of:
- The types of attacks that are occurring.
- The probable source of the attacks.
- The technology used by the cyber criminals.
- Weak spots that could be exploited in the future.
Michael Davison, Banking and Financial Markets, IBM, stated," There's not another single issue that unites the interests of so many people at senior levels of banks. It unites technology, the CFO, security and compliance functions. But cybersecurity is also mission critical for people running lines of business and who are running P&Ls. So quite rightly it sits on the Board agenda. But there's still work to do to educate Boards about the urgency of an effective response to the rapidly changing environment."
Financial institutions must implement the following practices to get the balance between the required innovation and the related risk:
Establish a risk-conscious culture
- An organizational transformation with an emphasis on zero tolerance towards a security failure must be established.
- An initiative encompassing the organizational hierarchy to execute smart analytics and automated response competencies is needed to identify and resolve issues.
Safeguard the Working Environment
The functions in distinct devices must be examined by a centralized authority and the wide array of information in an institution must be categorized, tagged with its risk profile and circulated to the concerned personnel.
The greatest problem with the IT systems and the unnecessary costs is from executing services initially and looking at security afterwards. Security has to be a part of the application from the first phase of design.
Ensure A Safe Environment
If the system is secure, security personnel can monitor every program that's functioning; ensure it is ongoing and operating at optimal level.
Manage the Network
Organizations that route approved data through controlled entry points will be in a better position to identify and separate the malware.
Cloud Based Security
To prosper in a cloud scenario, organizations should possess the technology to operate in a secluded environment and track probable issues.
An organization's security strategy must also involve its vendors and efforts must be made to establish the best practices among the vendors.
Financial firms have been a major target for malware attacks. Several aspects are impacting the financial sector. The direct connection between the breach of several personally identifiable information (PII) to the profitability has not been lost on the global financial stakeholders. This has led to the implementation of several global security projects.
A hazardous type of malware for online financial transactions is "Man-in-the-Browser" intrusions. It happens when a malicious program affects an internet browser. The program adjusts activities conducted by the user and in some instances, can initiate actions independently. It could lead to online stealing.
Financial institutions that can transform radically at a fundamental level, the way they function would be safeguarded.
The aim of enterprise security could initially emphasis on IT structures, it must be extended from the technology personnel & their systems to each individual within the organization, and all the stakeholders conducting business with it.
Financial firms must comprehend the data that they have, which must be made available to the system, where they can compare and develop a real understanding of the actual threats and contingencies that may compromise the business.
Written by Ralph Waldo