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Top 5 Cybersecurity Priorities For Financial Services Companies

Posted by: MK CS Team
Category: Uncategorized
cybersecurity for financial services

Increasing customer awareness, growing economy, and the popularity of Internet-based services are fuelling the growth of NBFCs. Online payments have grown vastly and now over 2.1 billion people use online payment tools. The increased penetration of the 4G network in countries like India and China has helped the online banking system add over 100 million customers in less than 3 years.

With the increasing reach of e-commerce platforms, online transactions are expected to increase exponentially. Subscription-based services offer an additional discount when users add their card details and schedule monthly payments, which looks beneficial on the outside but can lead to fraudulent transactions. 

Such vast growth is expected to attract the eyeballs of hackers and attackers. Groups of hackers from Russia, China, and Africa are actively violating rules and gaining illicit access to data servers of these service providers and are selling the data on the dark web.

Why BFSI & NBFCs are Under Suck Risks? 

In countries like India and China central banks have granted BFSIs and NBFCs licenses to expand their service and introduce e-wallets, UPI transactions and also offer savings account. The expansion of the economy has encouraged consumers to diversify their portfolios and have multiple payment options available at all times. 

With more and more users joining these platforms, the database is growing bigger. Since the database of banks are of utmost importance and mostly has information that is equivalent to real money, hackers are lining up for their share of easy money. 

Negligence by Fintech organization towards compliances and data security are encouraging hackers to try their luck. In 2016, Bangladesh Bank was attacked and 81 Million USD were siphoned. Hackers attacked the SWIFT Credential system and transferred money across the globe. The heist was discovered quite late. Lack of security guidelines and missing security protocols were discovered to be the reason for the mishap.

The state-sponsored attack is yet another reason why NBFCs and BFSIs need to revisit their cybersecurity priorities. Earlier countries used to fight wars but today economic sanctions are the best way to battle it out. Enemy countries are like to launch cyberattacks on banks and impact the country’s economic activities.

5 Cybersecurity Priorities for Financial Services

With individual hackers, professional carding agents, and enemy states trying to bring these online banking facilities down, it gets indispensable for fintech organizations to make cybersecurity a priority.

5 cybersecurity priorities every financial service providers should focus on:

1. Establish a Formal Security Framework

A formal security framework is like a well-designed building fitted with surveillance devices on all entrances and exits. The framework should cover every touchpoint from where attacks can be launched or data can be accessed. 

With a well-defined formal security framework, it gets easier to:

  • Keep a tab on every user’s activity
  • Identify suspicious activities
  • Launch anti-hacking programs to render attempts obsolete
  • Identify and shut services down to stop any misuse of a loophole
  • Ensure accountability among users and employees
  • Easier identification of points and person through whom attacks were launched

A formal security framework also includes tools that:

  • Stops transaction in the middle because of fraudulent activities
  • Rolls back transactions instantly 
  • Alert all key stakeholders about the suspicious activity

2. Building a Secure & Robust IT Infrastructure

Building a secure and robust IT infrastructure is necessary to support the growing volume of online transactions. When transactions are running in millions per day, organizations need to furnish compliances and maintain a record of the topmost level. To maintain records and keep a tab on millions of transactions, organizations required robust IT infrastructure that is ready to upscale or downscale if required. 

A secure IT infrastructure generally includes:

  • Tools to authorize users before implementing any important change 
  • Incidence response system to tackle any failure that can lead to service disruption
  • Paradigms that run on incessant intervals to ensure normalcy in all functions
  • Priority-based system for handling challenges faced by users

How can Fintech organizations build robust IT infrastructure?

The key to building a problem proof system is to get aware of the problems first. Once you know the challenges, it gets easier to stop them from occurring. Here’s how organizations can build robust IT infrastructure:

  • Use compatible hardware and software packages
  • Seek professional help for migration and installation of important servers
  • Ensure the professionally conducted audits are submitted for compliances
  • Avail the industrial expertise for conducting VAPT and getting over the loopholes

3. Identify & Fulfil Compliances

Financial service providers need to follow a set of rules established by governments and industry leaders. These rules are designed with customer safety in mind. Increasing credit card theft and financial frauds have led governments and payment facilitators to establish norms for financial services.

PCI DSS is one of the most widely accepted compliance. Established and managed by players like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, the PCI DSS council studies technological advancements, customer needs, and threats before devising norms. 

Some of the most important compliances every Finance service provider should adhere to includes: 

  • GDPR
  • ISO Family: If the service provider allows third-party integrations

Getting PCI DSS compliant takes care of every other compliance like GDPR and CCPA because PCI includes 12 requirements which cover: 

  • Tracking of everyone who accesses data servers
  • Restricted movement in data server rooms
  • Use of compliant routers and other hardware tools
  • Use of only up to date antivirus software packages
  • Quarterly audits
  • Use of top-level encryption that uses the key to lock data

4. Perform Continuous Threat Monitoring

PCI DSS Compliant service providers are safe from server hacks and sever re-routing attempts but threat monitoring is still important. In this technologically advanced world, hackers are devising new methods to disrupt services.

If hackers fail to gain access, they will try to disrupt your services either by launching a ransomware attack or by launching DDoS attacks. DDoS attacks clog server by sending huge traffic from unsolicited sources that leave servers useless and genuine customers are unable to access services. 

While such attacks do not help hackers gain anything but with DDoS attacks, hackers can cause financial service provider huge losses and can also do irreparable reputation damage. 

Managed Security Services is the Solution

Managed security services are provided by industry leaders who rely on security operation centers for threat monitoring and neutralizations. These SOCs are connected among themselves and alert each other about any new threat that might grow big. Such information is shared in real-time, which ensures threats are neutralized in their initial stage.

Managed security services providers are professionals who are trained and experienced enough to handle all kinds of attacks and provide an instant remedy. Hiring an MSSP can help financial services get rid of all their worries and focus on expansion plans. 

5. Devise Comprehensive Incident Response Plans

In the initial days of PayPal used to be offline at night because the founders accessed the servers for launching new upgrades but in the contemporary, service providers can’t take their services down, even for a second. With thousands of transactions being processed within seconds, any business that halts its services will lose millions of customers and will also gain a bad name.

Financial service providers need to build a system that monitors threats in real-time without disrupting the services. Some of the most popular ways of doing it are:

  • Maintaining alternative servers to restore services instantly
  • Conducting quarterly audits to ensure all up to date routers and software packages are compatible with servers
  • Run VAPT to ensure no loophole can be exploited
  • Collaborate with third-party cloud servers that offer instant service restoration

Final Thoughts 

The financial services organizations are set to grow at an incomparable speed. With customers loving the new-found freedom of transacting anytime from anywhere is fuelling the growth of fintech service providers.

With e-commerce taking over retail by 2040, financial services are likely to grow exponentially. BFSIs and NBFCs are also expanding their arms in e-wallets, stock trading, and FD segments, which allows customers to access varied financial instruments almost instantly. 

To have all these services on their platform and remain immune from hackers will take grandeur efforts at the back. The service providers will have to spend extravagantly on security, compliances, and threat monitoring to remain untouched from hackers. 

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