What Type Of Security Strategies Are Banks Using To Protect Data?


Cyber security is necessary for any enterprise when dealing with multiple devices and data, especially the financial services industry.

Without cyber security, organizations are at risk.

“For most companies information is a key asset, whether intellectual property such as product designs, customer data or client lists, or financial information. Information is critical to business success. Accidental or malicious loss of any of this information could expose the client, the business or both to significant loss to revenue and reputation.” klogixsecurity reports.

Possessing a strong cyber security strategy is a massive advantage for banks to possess. Learning how to protect assets is crucial for survival. Having a strategy is more than just a technical approach, it is an essential tool that companies must adapt to.

There are different types of security management approaches that target specific concerns, and they can be useful for any business sector, especially the financial service industry.

“No matter how large or small your company is, you need to have a plan to ensure the security of your information assets. Such a plan is called a security program by information security professionals. Whether yours is five or 200 pages long, the process of creating a security program will make you think holistically about your organization’s security.” Applied Trust reports.

These strategies must become the core of the organization in order to be successful. First, let’s look at what security management means and how it can be integrated into your business operations.

Security Management: The Basics

Security management starts with using resources in order to tackle threats that occur over secure networks, otherwise known as cyber threats.

Conducting a strong security strategy involves assessing your company’s risks and vulnerabilities that are involved in the current landscape. Understanding this can put you in a position to implement proper strategies that will protect data and networks through technology.

Since banks are moving toward a mobile landscape, different tools are being used by customers

There a few things that a strong strategy requires of an organization. According to K Logix Security, they go as followed:

Risk Analysis

Analyzing risk helps you determine your tolerance levels for risk and which you can accept, avoid, transfer, or prevent. Risk analysis can help determine how to best budget and prioritize security initiatives.

Classification of Data and Assets

It is necessary to understand the data and assets that your organization maintains, and classify based on importance to the core business objectives. This helps you set priorities for levels of security and set permissions for information access.

User Security Awareness Training

Without question, people pose the biggest threat to your organization via accidental or malicious misuse or abuse of data. Employees must be properly trained on the sensitivity of data, threats, and how to handle data appropriately. Employee awareness of company policy and procedures can certainly help prevent data loss.

Management Approval

Management approval and executive sponsorship is the most important factor in the success of a successful security program. Align your security strategy with business objectives to ensure management approval. This can lead to improved employee adherence to policies and increased security budgets leading to the implementation of effective solutions that support the strategy.

Once your organization gets on board with these tactics, you can assess which type of security you need.  Let’s look at a few security functions that can be useful to use in your security management strategy.

Application Security

Application security describes a type of security that includes hardware and software to protect organizations from external threats. As the financial services world moves toward digital, application threats are becoming more and more prevalent.

“According to the 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 82% of the breaches in the financial services sector were due to web application attacks. WhiteHat’s Web Application Security Statistics Report found that financial services websites have a high window of exposure, meaning that 41% the websites scanned were always vulnerable, 365 days of the year.” Whitehat security reports.

Protecting applications in finance is extremely important. A lot is at stake when it comes to breaching applications, particularly customer data and the assets of an enterprise.

In order to properly secure applications, different measures can take place.

For starters, prioritizing the different threats found through applications can be taken. This can be anything from unplanned events to hackers, or the failure to store important information.

Secondly, an organization can apply an application firewall that is a firewall that works to limit access to the operating system of a computer. It controls data that flows to and from central processing units.

By controlling data, it determines if the data should flow to particular destinations, which creates a secure environment for applications.

 Authentication Processes

Authentication basically works to confirm users are who they say to be and that their message, file or data is authentic.

This function can be useful in the financial service industry because of the risk that customers face with credit card fraud on the rise through the development of online banking. Since banks are going mobile more than ever before, customers are more vulnerable to these threats.

In order for banks to stay on top of this challenge, authentication methods have been integrated into mobile tools such as username and password based authentication.

In recent developments, Touch ID fingerprint has made an impact on these mobile apps as well as facial recognition like photo ID scanning and face-matching capabilities.

“Financial institutions recognize that they need more sophisticated fraud management and identity verification processes than user ID and passwords alone. Biometric identification through fingerprint, voice, and facial recognition is of growing interest as a way to balance security with improving the user experience. However, biometrics tends to come later in the fraud detection value chain.” Mercator reports.

In order for banks to implement this method, it’s important for them to be agile and adaptable to adjust their processes to tackle these new tools. We talked about agile banking in a recent post! If you missed it, don’t worry. You can view it here.

Banks need to be open to these new tools and be able to assess big data. When a large volume of customers is registering online for mobile banking, often times, they provide extra information that will be more authentic, like know-your-customer questions and answers.

These then are run through databases that work to understand the customer to make sure that their answers match for login purposes. If a bank does not possess the capabilities to hold this information, they will fall short of protecting the user’s data.

“Financial institutions must be nimble enough to adjust their authentication processes to combat these new tactics with customizable solutions, not just static scorecard fraud monitoring software. Customizable solutions offering greater depth of information sourcing and analytics are needed that enable FIs to develop and adjust their own scoring systems with multiple tiers of analysis to reflect changes in their environment in order to combat these new fraud attack techniques” Mercator reports.

Updating customer data is also extremely common for the financial sector, and without authentication, this can be difficult. An inability to match customers to the proper information can result in fraud, and the bank will be to blame.

Authorization Processes

Authorization and authentication often times get confused, but there is a big difference between the two.

For starters, authorization gives someone the permission to do something, such as access to databases or systems in order to perform a task.

This can be seen when organizations use multi system computer systems, operating systems or application systems.

“Thus, authorization is sometimes seen as both the preliminary setting up of permissions by a system administrator and the actual checking of the permission values that have been set up when a user is getting access.” TechTarget reports.

It’s a no brainer that this is crucial for security for most tasks in an organization, especially in the financial industry. Authorization is seen every time a credit card is used and a receipt is handed back.

It is seen as a customer’s signature on the back of a credit or debit card, in order to create authentic permission from the user. Along with this, authorization codes can also be found on cards. This is the code that is sent to bankers directly in order to validate payments.

Banks can put authorization holds when fraudulent behavior is suspected. In order for the customer to unlock this hold, that is where authentication plays a role, such as a name, security questions, and other personal information.

Network Management

The network of a financial sector is extremely important to secure. Providing IT departments with the necessary tools to supervise a network is the first step to implementing a strong management system.

Once this is set up, according to TechTarget, network managements can assist with:

  • Network device discovery –  identifying what devices are present on a network.
  • Network device monitoring – monitoring at the device level to determine the health of network components and the extent to which their performance matches capacity plans and intra-enterprise service-level agreements (SLAs).
  • Network performance analysis –  tracking performance indicators such as bandwidth utilization, packet loss, latency, availability and uptime of routers, switches and other Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) -enabled devices.
  • Intelligent notifications – configurable alerts that will respond to specific network scenarios by paging, emailing, calling or texting a network administrator.

With the right system, companies can make sure their networks are protected when applications fail.


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Cybercrime is becoming a huge risk for the financial industry, and it is forcing banks to integrate new strategies and technologies in order to protect data and assets. Data is important for banks because it contains customer’s secure information that can lead to financial fraud. In order to protect customers, banks must adapt to new tools in order to sufficiently be a safe structure for customers.

It is crucial for CIO’s to introduce emerging technologies without compromising their own organization’s security. Cyber security is more than just a technical approach, it is essential. With billions lost every year through data breaches, companies need to start thinking aggressively and integrate effective cyber security strategies. Companies should go to great lengths to protect themselves from technical threats that are approaching. Unfortunately, many have not adapted to new strategies to be the core of their operations. This puts the financial sector at risk.

Learn from like-minded individuals about the latest security trends in order to put your organization above the competition and to secure your customer’s data.  Understanding not only the convergence of Mobile, Social, and Cloud but also the possible implications of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Block chain is vital to stay ahead of the competition.

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