It is no secret that the financial services industry has to deal with a lot of security threats. From data breaches and social engineering scams, to DDoS attacks and ransomware, these organizations are constantly fighting off cybercriminals who want nothing more than to steal their customer’s money or information. Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t seem like there will be any let-up in this trend anytime soon.
With the rise of cryptocurrency mining malware on PCs and mobile devices, as well as new phishing techniques that target users’ finances instead of their personal information, it seems like security intruders have found yet another way into their systems – one which may not have been addressed by traditional cybersecurity solutions yet.
The solution to this problem is not a simple one. In order to better protect their networks, financial organizations need to make sure they have the right tools and tactics in place that will enable them to identify, analyze, and stop any potential security threats before it’s too late.
They also must be ready for anything – whether attackers are coming at them from the front door or sneaking through an open window- by having robust backup plans in place for both physical systems as well as digital ones so there can be no interruption of service should something happen along the way.
It may seem like these are some insurmountable challenges which may cause many companies’ heads (and hearts) to sink with despair…but don’t worry! There ARE things you can do to help protect your financial services provider from these threats.
For starters, you should always be sure that all of the information on your systems is encrypted and up-to-date in order to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure. You also need to educate employees about phishing schemes so they can recognize a scam when it comes across their desk and know what steps they need to take next – whether that’s forwarding an email onto IT for analysis, refusing a wire transfer request without checking with management first, etc.
Lastly – but most importantly! – you must have regular system backups in place at all times (at least daily) so if something does happen along the way, there will still be those records available as evidence which could potentially identify whoever was behind the attack.
What is at Stake if Financial Services Providers Aren’t Vigilant?
The consequences of not being vigilant are staggering, to say the least! Without this oversight in place, it’s very likely that a company could experience data breaches or phishing scams which would have detrimental effects on their reputation and lead them away from financial success for years to come.
These organizations need proactive monitoring as well as an effective backup plan in order to ensure they’re able to respond quickly should something happen – both with personnel resources and finances.
The future health of your organization depends upon how much effort you put into securing your systems now; what happens tomorrow will depend on what you do today…so don’t let these opportunities slip through our fingers!
How to Protect Your Financial Services Provider? (11 Steps)
Step One: Encryption
All of the information on your systems should be encrypted, from customer data and personal records all the way down to documents containing sensitive company information.
If it’s not already done so, make sure that this is taken care of right away in order to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure. It also helps if you store backups of these files in a separate location – preferably offsite or at least inaccessible via an internet connection – for added security purposes.
Step Two: Patching
In today’s world we often hear about companies who have fallen victim because they were running outdated software which was no longer supported by manufacturers…which consequently left them vulnerable to hackers.
It’s imperative that you keep all software up-to-date in order to protect against the threats of tomorrow, and this includes operating systems as well as third party applications like Java or Adobe Flash Player.
Step Three: Encryption
All passwords MUST be hashed with a strong algorithm (SHA256) so they can’t be cracked by an intruder who takes over your system. This is important for both employees and customers alike, since not only will it help protect them from account takeovers but it also helps prevent any unauthorized access should someone gain physical access to their computer hardware!
Step Four: Basic Awareness Training
When talking about cybersecurity awareness training there are two types which need to happen within organizations; firstly educating employees on how to recognize a phishing scheme and what steps they need to take next. This includes forwarding an email onto IT for analysis, refusing a wire transfer request without checking with management first, etc. Secondly, educating customers on how not to be fooled by the latest scam that you’re seeing circulating in the news (like those emails from Nigerian princes).
Step Five: User Awareness Training
On top of employee training we also recommend providing some cybersecurity awareness training specifically designed for your consumers; this could include anything from Google security alerts or articles on social media about current scams happening so users know what to look out for!
Step Six: Employee Cybersecurity Awareness Training
The most important step is going through all employees who have access to sensitive data, giving them proper cyber-training to help them understand the risks they’re facing and how to reduce the likelihood of their information falling into a malicious person’s hands. This is especially critical for employees who manage accounts with access to banking, accounting or customer data since this could lead to identity theft if an attacker has gained unauthorized access.
Step Seven: Physical Security
It goes without saying that you need physical security as well! The most important thing here would be ensuring all entrances are monitored by video surveillance so no one can enter your facility unnoticed (or at least knowing what they were doing when they did!).
Step Eight: Software Updating
Integrating automatic software updating capabilities within your organization will save time and money in many ways; not only do these updates fix vulnerabilities but it also ensures that the latest bug fixes are installed, updates to core OS functionality is available and more!
Step Nine: Data Encryption
The best way to protect sensitive data at rest is through encryption; this includes anything from a laptop or desktop computer all the way down to removable storage devices. If you’re not using an on-the-fly form of encryption then it’s recommended for your employees who have access to these devices first encrypt them themselves before plugging in any external hard drives they need (this also helps with software updating!).
Step Ten: Patching Devices
Once again we come back around to patching vulnerabilities as quickly as possible so you can stay ahead of hackers looking for their next victim. This should be done automatically by default but if you’re not using an on-the-fly form of encryption then it’s still a good idea to update your hardware storage devices in order to ensure that any malware can’t be uploaded.
Step Eleven: Patching Third Party Applications
The same goes for third party applications like Java or Adobe Flash Player, there needs to be regular updates applied so hackers don’t take advantage. Even if these are only used by employees who have access to sensitive data (like those with administrative privileges) they need patching as well!
In summary, cybersecurity is more than just installing anti-virus and firewall software; rather the entire organization has to participate through various levels of awareness training and ongoing monitoring practices. It will never get easier but with constant vigilance you can ensure your company remains one of the few that don’t have any security incidents!
Making sure every employee is well-trained in cybersecurity practices will be key to keeping your data secure; our blog post covered everything from avoiding phishing scams and patching software updates, all the way down to physical access restrictions. We hope this has given you a good idea on how best to protect sensitive information – so go ahead and get started today!