Cybersecurity Challenges Plaguing the Financial Sector


March 07, 2018

The March Blog Series: 2018 Trends

Issue 21: Cybersecurity Challenges Plaguing the Financial Sector

Technology has raised the bar for financial industry professionals and businesses. Cyberthreats and data breaches continue to dominate the way the financial industry handles transactions. Knowing what to look for, and how to reduce your risk is key. Here are five top challenges affecting the market:

Evolving threats
From one day to the next, cyberthreats are present. Ransomware costs are on their way to reaching over $5 billion, which is exponentially greater than the 2015 costs of $325 million. Cybercriminals make it their business to keep developing ways to circumvent any threat mitigation systems. This is an ongoing battle, as these cybercriminals have lots of money, have an excellent skill set and have a drive that makes them want to stay ahead of the good guys.

Compliance and Consumer Expectations
Regulatory agencies are continuously developing stricter rules and compliance protocols for financial institutions and others that work within the industry. There are now standards that are centrally focused on cybersecurity and its implications. While this may be a good idea, the effectiveness of these standards are in questions due to too many conflicting requirements.

Consumer expectations also cause friction within this area, as they want more ways to conduct secure transactions, want their data kept secure and envision a world with greater capabilities than those already available.

Third Parties
There are a number of risks involved when dealing with third-party agreements. When using a third party, their data can become compromised, which in turn creates a problem for your business. It is important to carefully vet any third-party vendors you conduct business with to make sure their security measures are robust and will protect your business from any vulnerabilities. For example, where is their data stored?

Insider Threats
In many cases, one of the many overlooked elements of data breaches and cyberattacks is the threats that reside within the organization. Insiders who compromise the integrity of systems and element of human error all contribute to a number of breaches. According to the 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index from IBM, of the cyberattacks that occurred, over 60 percent came from inside the company.

That's a large number of breaches that go unaddressed until something significant happens. Employees who are not happy with their current positions, or are under a lot of stress often fall into this category and use that insider information to "get back at" the organization. There must be airtight protocols in place that address these types of issues.

Emerging Technology
With new technology, there are a number of factors that affect the integrity of existing systems. When employees, visitors and third parties all converge to use a number of new devices, there must be measures in place that will prevent cyberattacks. The problem that lies within this is there are constantly new developments to keep up with in implementing these safety measures on an ongoing basis.

Failure to understand these breaches and their implications that follow, especially when the most prevalent attacks are not recognized for weeks or even months, can be detrimental to the financial industry. Having a team that diligently works on rectifying any gaps in a timely manner makes all the difference.