Security teams in the financial services sector have experienced increased cyber threats due to the ongoing global pandemic, according to a 2020 Future Cyber Threats Report published by Accenture.
In this age of digital transformation, financial institutions are relying on technology to conduct business operations more than ever before. Unfortunately, the technologies that help businesses grow and thrive are the same ones that pose serious risks to an organization’s assets and private information.
The high value of financial data makes banks and other financial institutions a common target for cyberattacks. Cyber risk advisory services employ the latest techniques and strategic measures to accurately assess cybersecurity risks and defend against attacks.
What are the Biggest Cyber Risks Surrounding Financial Institutions?
The impact of a cybersecurity incident in the financial sector is significant. According to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a single cyberattack targeting one of the largest banks in the United States would likely affect the global financial system as a whole.
Some of the greatest cyber risks faced by financial institutions today include the following:
Phishing Attacks on Employees
Employees may unknowingly fall prey to phishing attacks as hackers become more prevalent and sophisticated in the way they target financial institutions. Phishing is a common cybercrime that occurs when unauthorized personnel fraudulently attempt to obtain sensitive data or information, such as usernames, passwords or credit card details. Employees that are not trained to recognize malicious emails may overlook the signs of an attack and inadvertently expose their systems.
Malware and Ransomware
Malware and ransomware are becoming increasingly common in the financial sector. Malware tricks the user into installing software that allows hackers to access private files and track what the user is doing on the computer. Ransomware is a technique used to demand payment from the user to “unlock” the computer or files.
Software Breach Attempts
Software breaches occur when confidential or sensitive data has been accessed in an unauthorized manner. In the financial sector, this may involve the digital theft of personally identifiable information (PII) or financial information. Software breaches can have many causes, such as missing software patches.
How Financial Institutions Benefit from Cyber Risk Advisory
Cyber risk advisory services can help financial institutions better evaluate their level of risk and make informed decisions regarding the future of their IT infrastructure. Below are a few key ways that financial institutions can benefit from cyber risk advisory:
Enhanced Threat Awareness and Detection
Employees at all levels who are well-educated about cyber threats are less likely to fall victim to these attacks. Cyber risk advisory services aim to provide invaluable insight on enhanced threat awareness and detection. Businesses can better understand present security risks and potential blind spots, while also developing actionable plans to eliminate these threats.
Better Employee Training
The digital landscape is constantly shifting and it can be challenging for businesses to keep pace. Organizations must provide ongoing training to employees to safeguard their systems and operations against cyber risks. Employees are a company’s greatest asset, and therefore, businesses should invest in them continually to avoid a cyber incident.
Cost Mitigation and Smarter Spending
Protecting against cyber threats in the financial sector is crucial for long-term growth, and essential to protect an organization in the most cost-effective manner. One of the greatest benefits of cyber risk advisory is the ability to protect businesses against cyber crimes without overspending.
Increased Stakeholder Communication
The benefits of cyber risk advisory for financial institutions extend to many parties involved in the organization, including investors, suppliers, customers, employees and other stakeholders. Cyber risk advisory aims to increase stakeholder communication and confidence by effectively managing cyber risks. If a cyber threat should occur, this communication could prove invaluable.
Stronger Incident Response Plans
Not all organizations are prepared to respond to security breaches or cyberattacks. Cyber risk advisory often involves developing a strong incident response (IR) plan that outlines a set of instructions that businesses can look to for detecting, responding to and recovering from digital security incidents. An IR plan should also include live cyberattack scenarios, training and regular IR exercises.
Speak with a Cybersecurity Consulting Firm Today
In a highly digital world, technology brings both new opportunities and ongoing risks. Acquiring cyber risk advisory services can help clients address these threats and develop comprehensive solutions for protecting their organizations. To learn more about the benefits of cyber risk advisory for financial institutions or to speak with a cybersecurity consulting firm, reach out to the professionals at Hartman Executive Advisors.