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The 4 Fundamental Cyber Security Strategies Every Financial Services Company Needs to Use

Financial services organizations possess a Mount Everest of critical data and information supporting the monetary health of an army of customers of various types. 

On a daily basis, the average financial services company handles thousands of complex and critical transactions processed through mammoth data centers and numerous third-party vendors.

Given all of the above, in addition to having an extremely high regulatory compliance risk exposure, it’s no surprise the financial services industry is a prime target of cyber criminals

According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ latest Global Economic Crime Survey:

  • 46% of respondents in the financial services industry reported being victims of economic crime in the last 24 months, with 16% of these suffering more than 100 incidents and 6% suffering more than 1,000 incidents.
  • 1 in 5 banks have experienced enforcement actions by a regulator.  
  • More than a quarter of financial services firms have not conducted anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing risk assessments across their global footprint.
  • 33% of financial services firms cite data quality as a significant technical challenge.

The success of financial entities depends quite a lot on trust, and a critical component of trust is cyber security, which is a key issue for investors, consumers, regulators, and employees all the way up to boards of directors.


Namely:

  • Investors need to trust that your profits are based on sound business practices.
  • Government entities need to trust that you are compliant with regulatory requirements, and that you are playing by the rules.
  • Your customers need to trust that you are giving them sound financial advice, helping them grow net worth, and keeping their money safe.
  • Your stakeholders need to know that you can protect their personal data and secure online applications across smartphones, tablets, and the cloud.
Failure in any of these areas is not just embarrassing but extremely costly in terms of customer confidence, brand reputation, and fines and penalties for noncompliance.

Here are the 4 cyber security strategies every financial services company needs to be using to secure its business across current and emerging threats:

1. Put Cyber Security First

Cyber security needs to be a top priority throughout the organization to ensure the security of customer assets and information, the alignment of processes, and the efficient, reliable execution of transactions within markets.

2. Prioritize Threats

While regulations are mostly about compliance, compliance does not equal security. To properly manage risk, you need to identify the greatest threats to your organization and focus your time and attention on those.

You must also identify, prioritize, and manage risk relative to its potential impact on mission-critical operations so that you can balance security needs against cost considerations, designing an enterprise solution that secures your people, facilities, processes, and technologies.

3. Be Proactive

Business and technology innovations that you are adopting in your quest for growth, innovation, and cost optimization are likely introducing new vulnerabilities and complexities into your technology ecosystem. This means that you need to be proactive and vigilant, continually assessing your cyber security risks, strengths, and weaknesses.

4. Get Real

And finally, your cyber security solution must provide real-time visibility into processes, systems, data, and equipment with a complete view of any vulnerabilities that may arise across the enterprise.

Clearly these challenges aren’t trivial. Financial services firms must be able to demonstrate to their customers and to regulators that they have adequate cyber defenses and associated controls and governance, while remaining competitive and able to conduct business efficiently.

To learn more about the cyber security challenges faced by the financial services industry, sign up for our upcoming webinar, “Defeating Cybercrime: Continuous Application Security for Financial Services”.