In the wake of the most recent ransomware attacks such as WannaCry, which has crippled a majority of the NHS’s systems, once again the serious need for cybersecurity becomes apparent. Hundreds of thousands of computers around the world are compromised for any number of security reasons, resulting in millions in currency and credit cards to be stolen of the years, and as our economy moves further into the virtual world, that number will only increase. The critical role the financial sector plays in the well-being of a country makes it a prime target for cyber-attacks, and yet continues to remain an extremely vulnerable area.
Despite being a highly complex, ever-changing concept, securing financial information does not have to start that way. Cybersecurity for the financial sector must begin at the foundation: identifying what sensitive information is in your possession, what it is used for, and where within your system it resides. Carefully inventory the information your business processes and stores, and find out where it is located along with limiting who has access to it.
Companies should be aware of how strong their current security policy is, and make semi-annual reviews to ensure that any changes made are documented. This is where rules such as password strength, domain and system access, and session times play a role since customers interact – and potentially compromise themselves – here the most. By imposing stricter policies on how customers can access their data along with providing the secure environment they need in the form of SSL protected browser sessions, strict password requirements. On the server side, deploying critical updates and actively monitoring financial transactions to quickly respond will go a long way in making sure that ransomware attacks will not be able to compromise information.
Another key factor in security that remains poorly supported is digital literacy and cybersecurity awareness for customers and employees alike. People are routinely considered the ‘weakest link’ in security, and for good reason. When customers are not aware of what they need to do and how they can protect themselves, they are more vulnerable to a cyber-attack and losing their valuable information. Many hacks are begun simply through the breaking of a weak login password.
Investing time into the education of employees on how they are to handle and process financial information, coupled with teaching customers regularly why taking the proper security steps is important can help secure this link. This can be in the form of regular emails or educational adverts, along with maintaining a proactive role in how your customers interact which their sensitive financial data.
Define the security policy best suited to keep customer information safe and help facilitate safe financial transactions. Staying one step ahead of potential cyber-threats is the only way to make sure financial information stays where it should. Preventing a security breach is much less disastrous than trying to fix one, and taking aggressive steps to begin hardening your systems will greatly decrease the risk that your information will become another victim in the countless cyber-attacks taking place.