The average cost of data breaches continues to climb. According to the latest data breach report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, it was $3.84M in 2019 and $4.2M in 2021. This escalation means your financial services organization needs to stay ahead of the pace and continue to strengthen by using these top 5 cyber security compliance best practices for FinServ.
As you may well be aware, the impact of data breaches and compliance infractions can be even harsher when you consider the other areas of the organization they can impact. For example, the lost trust of your customer base and the potential damage to your business reputation. Breached companies also see a decrease in sales, employee morale and operational efficiency.
So, what can you do to remain compliant?
Since the risk of non-compliance is so high, there are cyber security compliance best practices for FinServ organizations that are proven and you can employ to protect your business and your customers:
- Train your staff – Cyber security compliance doesn’t come down to technical controls and safeguards only. It is also very much a people issue. After all, your staff represents dozens, hundreds, or thousands of potential breach points. The best way to ensure your staff maintains compliance and shores up likely vulnerabilities is to offer systematic training. Teach your employees how to spot suspicious activity and to beware of phishing, spamware, and ransomware threats. You should also enforce a no-tolerance policy requiring separation of work devices from home devices. Another best practice is to bake cyber security awareness into the very fabric of your organization and revisit it at all company meetings, on the company intranet, and so on. You can even require your teams to take cyber security compliance online classes to further their education and understanding.
- Perform continuous risk analysis – A proven way to maintain cyber security compliance is to perform continuous risk analyses. You will identify all systems, devices, networks, and digital assets within your organization and assess their level of risk. The following formula can be used to analyze risk: Risk = (Likelihood of Breach x Impact)/Cost. You should also pinpoint where your highest-risk data is stored and ensure the right security and encryption protocols are in place and checked every single day.
- Mitigate third-party vulnerabilities – Financial services organizations rely on a myriad of vendors, suppliers, and partners for their everyday business operation. This outside-the-network data sharing poses significant risks to your organization and can surely weaken your cyber security posture. You need to employ a vendor risk management program that minimizes new and existing third-party risks. This entails closely monitoring vendors throughout the entire lifecycle, even before the relationship contract is signed. Also, consider employing patch management systems to shore up identified threats before bad actors can take advantage of them.
- Consider Biometric security – “For the financial services industry, biometrics are quickly forming a crucial part of future regulatory requirements, especially with the advent of strong customer authentication (SCA).” Biometrics provide a heightened level of authentication over traditional methods – pin numbers, etc. – regarding fraud and identify theft as they accurately identify unique features of individuals – eyes, hands, face, and even gait. Financial institutions are already instituting biometrics such as thumbprint ID. Voice recognition can also be used to ensure remote workers are who they say they are when trying to access the company’s network or highly sensitive data containers. Facial and iris recognition are more sophisticated security measures you can also consider.
- Conduct persistent threat monitoring – Security information and event management (SIEM) surveillance systems help monitor potential cyber threats on-premise and in the cloud. These solutions conduct real-time surveillance of all your business’s IT assets, and they perform automated intrusion detection and compliance reporting. Network/infrastructure visibility is essential for maintaining compliance. Centralized management and single-console solutions offer the companywide visibility you need to perform consistent file integrity monitoring, USB device monitoring and behavioral monitoring.
Cyber security regulations are constantly evolving. That is why a persistent approach to compliance is imperative. Cyber security compliance cannot be a one-and-done practice. It must permeate every facet of your organization, its culture, and its operations. Only then will you be in the best position possible to mitigate risk and maintain compliance.
These five best practices are recommendations only. There are certainly other strategies for consideration. These are not the only things to be aware of until you have a full assessment.
We would be happy to discuss your current challenges and share some insights on where we might add value to your organization. Give us a call today.
1.) “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021”, IBM, 2021.
2.) “Biometric data protection and compliance”, Techspective, Nov. 8, 2021.