It’s been a troublesome time for those working within the finance sector. Major data breaches were coming to light all over the world. Two prominent data breaches that received a lot of coverage was the Equifax breach in 2017 and the Capital One breach in 2019. But what does this spell for the future of online financial safety?
In light of this growing problem, earlier this year cybersecurity company Clearswift did a survey. It was aimed at determining how businesses handle data protection. The survey was directed at financial organizations in the UK. The results were troubling, but not all that surprising. It emphasized that 70% of financial companies have been the victim of a cyber attack-related incident within the past year.
This begs the question of how and why these incidents happen. Are companies not taking the right approach to securing their digital assets? Or are employees at fault for being lax with safety measures? Whatever the reason, it’s clear that financial organizations need to step up their cybersecurity game if they want to avoid disaster down the road.
Applying strong security tools and having clear policies in place for people to adhere to is one way to do it.
Security Software Is a Constant Safeguard
Cybersecurity has become a critical asset for organizations within the financial sector. Those in finance are both the most hard-hit by cyberattacks and have the most to lose. Investing in advanced cybersecurity technology has, therefore, become crucial for any institution that wants to protect its reputation and keep customers from harm.
Having a strong focus on cybersecurity can also improve a business’s standing with clients and partners. This will ultimately bolster a financial enterprise’s reputation. Not to mention, provide new business growth above less trusted competitors.
Despite those benefits, companies still seem reluctant to invest a decent amount of time and resources in cybersecurity. In the Clearswift survey, 33% of cybersecurity-related incidents were a result of malware. It usually sneaked its way in through IoT products, smartphones, and USB drives. That’s especially worrying, considering the large amounts of sensitive data that these companies need to protect.
Investment in cybersecurity goes beyond the bare minimum of protective tools and basic security practices.
More and more companies are looking at security assets that are tailored to their unique business needs. This often includes making employees (especially remote workers) connect to a VPN server before going online, use email encryption, set up a password manager, and change passwords on a regular basis. There are hundreds of digital security solutions out there. But the key to achieving better all-around protection is ensuring that the technology is easy and convenient for employees to use.
People Can Be Helpful or Majorly Detrimental to Company Security
Employees should be at the center of any business’s digital safety plan. After all, they’re the ones who handle the sensitive data. According to the survey, 43% of incidents occur due to employees failing to follow proper safety protocols. That result conforms to studies and surveys done by other researchers, like Microsoft and Amarach.
Every new employee should get basic security training upon joining the company. It should include practical examples of how to recognize cyber threats and a list of steps to take after identifying one. But it shouldn’t end there. Educating employees on proper cybersecurity protocols is an ongoing investment. They need to stay informed on how to perform their duties without compromising data. But they also need to know which threats to watch out for.
Employees may not fall for “Nigerian Prince” email scams anymore, but more advanced phishing or form-jacking attacks can still trick them into sharing confidential data or credentials. And that’s just the tip of an iceberg. Cyber threats are constantly evolving. Hence it is necessary to have a continuous process of raising awareness among everyone within the company. From the CEO and upper management to the person at the reception. Everyone needs to be aware of proper security protocols and follow the best practices.
Having Policies in Place Helps Guide People Towards Safer Practices
Security policies are there to both shape attitudes towards safe practices and to ensure that employees know what to do. Creating a clear policy also involves putting the necessary measures in place. This way, employees know how to respond in the event of a breach. Whether they made a mistake or identified a potential vulnerability – they need to know how to react.
This gives the organization enough time to handle the situation before too much damage is caused. According to IBM, companies take an average of 197 days to identify a data breach. Anything that can help reduce that time is an asset.
Financial institutions need to be extra cautious about how they handle sensitive data. Any cyberattack or data breach could spell disaster for a company. Not only financially – the damage done to their reputation could be irreparable. Recent trends and findings highlight the need for companies to take a closer look at how they apply cybersecurity. It’s time to start making cybersecurity a priority.