The financial services and insurance industry, a global economic cornerstone, faces relentless cyberattacks. As the source of one-third of all data breaches, this sector has been the prime target of malicious actors, exploiting vulnerabilities without mercy and threatening the good reputations and stability of institutions entrusted with vast wealth and sensitive data.
The threat landscape worsens as employees and insiders, through carelessness or negligence, compromise security defences. The sudden shift to remote work in 2020 exposed vulnerabilities, stretching security solutions beyond office walls. According to FINRA, the frequency, sophistication, and pervasiveness of cybersecurity threats are increasing, which is why the industry should make cybersecurity resilience a high priority.
This article explains why cybersecurity consultants are important and how they can help entities and enterprises in the financial services and insurance industry be better prepared to mitigate cyber risks, protect their data and systems, and comply with complex regulations.
Why Cybersecurity is Essential for the Financial Services & Insurances Industry
From customer experiences to data analytics to software development, cybersecurity plays a vital role for the digital transformation success of entities and enterprises in the FS&I industry. For example, when banks and financial institutions offer digital customer experiences, they need to make sure that their fraud prevention, security, and product development teams are working together. They also need to design controls, such as strong authentication mechanisms, which are both convenient and secure. Cybersecurity plays a central role in ensuring that digital customer experiences are safe from cyberattacks.
Another cybersecurity challenge is using data analytics. Businesses in consumer finance, investment security, or even wealth management firms must identify and reduce the risks of combining large amounts of sensitive customer data. They must also build security controls into their analytics solutions, which often don’t follow traditional software development methods. Cybersecurity protects data analytics from breaches and safeguards the confidentiality and integrity of the data.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a new technology that comes with new cybersecurity challenges. Financial institutions must carefully manage bot credentials and make sure that unusual circumstances do not accidentally create security risks. Cybersecurity is responsible for RPA, ensuring that its potential benefits do not compromise the organisation’s digital defences.
Additionally, when payment service providers or fintech platforms create application programming interfaces (APIs) for external customers, they must be aware of the security risks that can arise from interactions between different APIs and services. They should establish and enforce standards for developer access. Cybersecurity protects APIs from external threats and ensures that API-driven ecosystems are secure.
As businesses within the FS&I industry move from traditional waterfall methodologies to agile application development, they must maintain a strong commitment to application security. Cybersecurity is a vital part of agile development, ensuring that the adoption of agile practices does not weaken the security defences that protect digital assets. Agile application security is a set of practices that integrates security into the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC), from planning and design to development and testing to deployment and operations. This helps to ensure that security is not an afterthought, but is considered throughout the development process.
Establishing Cybersecurity as an Enterprise-Grade Service
Establishing cybersecurity as an enterprise-grade service is an integrated approach to improving an organisation’s resilience and defence against cyber threats. With the right cybersecurity consultancy services, you can reduce the chance of an attack and save your company countless dollars from a potential security breach. A reputable cybersecurity consultant will execute the following strategies:
Consolidate cybersecurity activities
Centralising and integrating cybersecurity functions, often under the guidance of CIOs, CISOs, and their teams. This creates a cohesive and collaborative unit to address security concerns comprehensively.
Identify and align risks with enterprise-wide risk appetites
Assessing the organisation's digital landscape to understand the multifaceted threats it faces. These risks are then compared to the organization's overall risk appetite to ensure security measures align with strategic objectives. This helps make informed decisions about addressing security gaps and prioritising resources effectively.
Develop enterprise-wide policies and standards
Establishing a robust framework of enterprise-wide policies to set overarching principles and objectives for cybersecurity. These policies are then fortified by standards that provide specific guidelines and requirements to ensure consistency and adherence to best practices throughout the enterprise.
Establish governance as a counterweight
Acknowledging the inherent tension between development teams' need for rapid product delivery and the importance of prioritising risk and security, organisations introduce governance mechanisms to counterbalance the bias towards rapid development. This creates a balance that ensures cybersecurity considerations are not sacrificed for speed and cost-efficiency.
Create centralised security service offerings
Implementing a framework that requires development teams to engage with a central security group before proceeding with specific activities, such as vulnerability scans or penetration tests. This intermediary step ensures that security checks and assessments are an integral part of the development process, rather than an afterthought.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Cybersecurity Consultant
- Identifying and Fulfilling Customer Requirements: Understand and meet customer needs.
- Ensuring Technical Competency: Make sure team members have the right technical skills.
- Maintaining Effective Communication: Be the central point of contact and communicate openly.
- Task Execution and Supervision: Lead by example and oversee the team’s work.
- Monitoring and Review: Ensure that the team’s work meets quality standards and customer expectations.
- Progress Review and Reporting: Report progress to the customer and get approvals.
- Risk and Issue Escalation: Identify and escalate risks and issues early.
- Knowledge Transfer: Share your expertise with others in the company.
Intelliworx protects financial institutions by increasing their security visibility, promoting security best practices, and decreasing strain on their security team. Intelliworx has strong partnership with C-level executives to address cybersecurity and data privacy risks and opportunities from a business risk perspective. We also apply the highest security and privacy standards and technologies to secure personal and sensitive data, including big data and AI, critical infrastructures, cloud and mobile technologies and services, and operation technologies for digital factories. If you belong to the FS&I industry, check out our cybersecurity consulting services which can enable your organisation to focus on business investments that will yield the most protection with the least disruption and cost.