How banks and financial services companies can protect against cybersecurity threats

    Marouane Bakhtar, Managing Director and Head of UK Banking at Synpulse, explains that banks and financial firms require a strengthened cybersecurity strategy.

    Technology has advanced at a breakneck pace over the past decade, and with it the threats facing financial services companies and their customers.

    The data security risks posed by cyberattacks are unprecedented, not to mention the financial costs they incur. Trustwave’s 2023 Financial Services Threat Landscape Report shows that nearly $6 million is lost with each breach suffered by financial institutions.

    As banks continuously allocate resources to modernize their operations, they will integrate a plethora of systems into their IT networks, which is certainly a necessary part of technological innovation. These systems perform diverse functions, such as enabling remote work, enriching the customer experience, and driving value creation.

    At the same time, they expose potential vulnerabilities that malicious entities can exploit. This means banks and financial services companies require an enhanced security strategy.

    This type of strategy will cover the length and breadth of identifying weaknesses in digital banking infrastructure, thoroughly assessing risks and operations, and enhancing a flexible response to growth. best practices and future recovery planning.

    Strengthen your defense against threats

    Operational awareness and defensive measures

    A comprehensive assessment of operational vulnerabilities, from technology risks associated with automation and AI, to data breaches, can help identify potential weaknesses in the technical infrastructure. digital.

    The first step is crucial to prioritize regular risk assessments. Data encryption should not be underestimated here as access controls will protect sensitive information and the implementation of multi-layered security protocols from robust firewalls to anti-virus software can help protect against avoidable risks.

    The role of technology and data governance

    Data protection and compliance with regulations such as GDPR in Europe, combined with managing access to sensitive data and leveraging cybersecurity solutions, can help banks stay ahead of threats. threaten a step.

    In the rapidly changing world of digital banking, secure and user-friendly authentication methods are of paramount importance. Conventional techniques such as passwords and PINs cannot protect important financial information against cyber threats. Transitioning to passwordless, anti-phishing solutions is critical to delivering a safe and secure online experience.

    Beyond biometric authentication, the detection and threat awareness potential of AI and ML can enhance data security and trust in financial institutions. AI can enhance cybersecurity measures and proactively identify suspicious traffic, network connections, distinguish phishing attempts and other covert activities by processing threat information threat faster than human intervention.

    It can also be used to automate incident handling where agility can minimize damage and support recovery for the organization. From detection to response and analysis, AI-enabled tools can make data classification, access management, and data protection more robust.

    © shutterstock/Akira Kaelyn

    Plan for resilience

    Hackers and cyberattackers continually stay ahead of technological changes and adapt to the superior defense mechanisms put in place by financial institutions. As a result, a lot of sensitive customer data is always at risk, and fighting it requires intuition to stay ahead of evolving threats and cybercriminal tactics.

    Operational awareness and leveraging new technologies to detect and respond to threats is just one side of the coin. Agility and training are additional factors for response planning. Proactively staying ahead of evolving threats and cybercrime tactics by continuously monitoring and sharing threat intelligence can help foresee and prevent breaches.

    Since prevention is better than cure, training employees on security best practices should not be overlooked, and it is important for organizations to foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness with exercises and training .

    Planning for resilience also includes building a robust incident response plan to ensure the fastest possible response and remediation in the face of a security breach or cyberattack. Redundant cyber incident response teams are a great way to do this, with backups in place for recovery strategies when needed to minimize downtime.

    Recommendations and lessons for the financial services industry

    The financial services industry is often targeted due to the volume and value of sensitive customer data it holds, and its vulnerability is exacerbated by a wave of industrial innovation. turmeric. Integrating multiple systems into an IT network brings efficiency but also increases exposure. This requires increased vigilance and comprehensive cybersecurity measures to protect financial data.

    The digital transformation of the financial landscape requires a reassessment of traditional security practices. Passwords and PINs, once considered sufficient, are now vulnerable to the constant evolution of cyber threats, which move forward in multiple steps, incorporating digital innovation to strengthen defenses with flexible solutions backed by education and best practices.

    As the financial world continues to evolve, organizations are forced to stay ahead of cybercriminals by fortifying their digital infrastructure, leveraging cutting-edge technologies, and adopting strong authentication methods. In doing so, they not only protect their own interests but also the financial interests of their customers.

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