The financial sector is a prime target for cybercriminals because it’s rich in 21st-century gold: sensitive customer data. One successful hack can yield thousands of credit card, bank, or investment account details, and attackers have no qualms about going after the bounty. As a result, boosting cybersecurity has become priority number one for financial firms that want to protect their digital assets and their reputations with customers and investors. But what are the “must-haves” for cybersecurity in the financial sector? Here are seven ways financial organizations can boost cybersecurity.
1. Continuously Monitor for Cyber Threats
Cybercriminals target the financial sector because it’s incredibly lucrative. According to a recent study, cyberattacks on financial services organizations cost $3.86 million in 2020. Therefore, you need to have round-the-clock surveillance to make sure you can stop them before they put your system at risk. However, monitoring is only one component. You must make sure visibility into individual systems, such as your on-premises network or cloud assets, can see hazards and act swiftly when an issue arises. The same study uncovered that it took 207 days on average to identify the data breach. Having a solution in place that monitors, detects, and responds to attacks is critical. This can be accomplished by using Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and can help improve your cybersecurity in the financial sector.
2. Perform Vulnerability and Risk Assessments
Cybersecurity in the financial sector must be regularly assessed since cyber threats are ever-evolving. Your financial services firm can determine any infrastructure issues by conducting vulnerability and risk assessments. These pinpoint the weaknesses specific to your network, its digital and physical assets, and the kinds of data you’re trying to protect. This is the starting point for many companies because it defines your attack surface; however, regularly performing risk assessments can help boost your security posture and mitigate your risk.
3. Invest in Endpoint Security
Cybercriminals target endpoints, which are the devices connected to your network. They provide a simpler way to access your infrastructure, often because their security controls can be easier to circumvent. After a successful attack, your entire network could be infiltrated via only a single device. Therefore, securing your endpoints closes many “doors” to your network infrastructure.
4. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) improves your security because it puts at least one extra obstacle in front of a hacker that has already stolen your username and password. They would also have to produce something the user has, such as a token or security card or something the user is like biometric data, such as a fingerprint scan or a code sent to another one of your devices to penetrate the protected element of your network. MFA should be incorporated into your cybersecurity measures if it’s not already.
5. Train Staff
Financial services employees need to be aware of the risks associated with the current cyber landscape. One method to maintain cybersecurity at the forefront of everyone’s mind is through ongoing security awareness training. While training can be accomplished via workshops, company-wide meetings, one-on-one sessions, and even in-person classes at local universities; continuous online training is often the best way to for employees to learn. With short, interactive sessions, financial services employees can learn and retain important cybersecurity topics and put their knowledge to the test with real life scenarios.
6. Comply with Industry Standards and Regulations
You can improve the security of your IT environment by following the recommendations provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). In addition to providing sound cybersecurity principles that can benefit any organization, these standards also help you align with government requirements for financial organizations.
7. Enable Stronger Email Security
Even though email filtering is helpful, you need more. In order to safeguard their infrastructure as well as the data and financial information of their clients, financial services firms should choose additional email security. For example, you can use Inbox Detection and Response, which enable employees to submit any suspicious emails for validation. After a malicious email gets submitted to the system, it’s then removed from all inboxes across the organization.
The seven measures outlined above can be used as a framework around which to build your cyber defenses. To get help fleshing out your system, you can rely on TPx’s services for cybersecurity in the financial sector. To get started or learn more, connect with TPx today.