It's tough to balance needs of customers and security

The financial services industry has witnessed accelerated digital transformation and convergence with renewed focus on digital services as a result of the global pandemic. As this dynamic sector reinvents and the universe of online services expands rapidly, the threat landscape, too, is evolving and expanding dramatically. Such an environment calls for a resilient security framework that is flexible, that can predict and can evolve just as the threat to ensure business continuity.

People and businesses today are more connected than ever, linking all types of devices and systems to the internet, which can open the door to common cyber-attack methods including ransomware, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), cyber fraud and malware. These can be damaging in any situation, and especially so in the current environment in which digital interactions are more critical than ever.

This year has seen a significant increase in both cyber-attack volume and breaches across the globe. According to a recent report by Reuters, India has seen a dramatic rise in cybercrimes of 86 per cent between March and April. And reports suggest that just in August 2020, the number of DDoS incidents hit a record high, in excess of 10 billion.

A cyber-attack may have crippling consequences for a company. In addition to data loss, its impacts can include millions of dollars in fines and reduced reputation trust. Therefore, there is a time-critical and increasing need to build an intelligent security posture that addresses all touch points of the digital lifecycle.

Developing a long-term strategy to strengthen digital assets against current and future attack vectors is critical. Devices need to be protected; and applications and tools necessary to enable work assessed and correctly configured to help protect from myriad risks, including theft and data interference. Usage of stronger authentication methods to verify that the right user is accessing the right information with the right intent has never been more important than now.

Effective encryption can make organisations more resilient if faced with a data breach, as it can render sensitive data unusable for fraud and abuse. Simple passwords and weak privileged access controls are a significant threat to overall enterprise security. While there are investments in perimeter security that are scalable, revisiting qualifications for privileged access controls, governance for business-critical systems and cybersecurity adoption will be key. It is important to foster a security-aware culture by providing platforms for employees to learn new applied expertise in mitigating cybersecurity risks, preventing any kind of vulnerabilities before production and helping build software security into everyday working.

As the world steps into an extremely competitive experience economy, financial institutions will find it increasingly difficult to balance experience goals with security and trust goals. Convergence of multiple technologies, contactless payment technologies, m-commerce, e-commerce, conversational commerce, and one-touch commerce are making the movement of money instant and seamless without requiring any human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. The foundation of securing trust in the digital space and catalysing digital transformation will be the promise of organisations that assume a “security first” position.

A couple of years ago, digital transformation was in top gear and in full force, with multiple new processes and product development moving ahead at a very rapid speed. IT and business fast-tracked initiatives like agile and DevOps software development to improve speed-to-market with limited security considerations. Cybersecurity impacts every individual, digital consumer and organisation. This invariably makes security, compliance and risk teams across organisations emerge as strategic partners to business continuity and resilience. These teams will be required to display unparalleled agility on the backdrop of a constantly changing business environment, evolving customer needs, security infrastructures and quick advances in technologies.


Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel