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BRINGING BIOMETRICS TO THE FRONTLINE OF IT SECURITY IN THE FINANCE SECTOR

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BRINGING BIOMETRICS TO THE FRONTLINE OF IT SECURITY IN THE FINANCE SECTOR

Neil Bramley, B2B Client Solutions Business Unit Director, Toshiba Northern Europe

Neil Bramley, B2B Client Solutions Business Unit Director, Toshiba Northern Europe

Neil Bramley, B2B Client Solutions Business Unit Director, Toshiba Northern Europe

The scope for biometric security – which relies on the natural, inherent features of a person like their fingerprint, face or voice to confirm their identity – to become the standard in online and device security is becoming increasingly apparent. Such technology is already commonplace in smartphones, and its introduction to other mobile devices for added authentication is also growing rapidly with Deloitte predicting that smartphone biometrics will contribute to the acceptance of biometrics on other devices. Indeed, Technavio forecasts the mobile biometrics market to grow by more than 79 percent by 2021. This is particularly relevant at a time where people have been coached into implementing multiple long and complex passwords, which they are then told they must change regularly to avoid hacks. Forgotten passwords are a common concern: so much so that 93 percent of consumers and banking professionals already favour biometrics over passwords and PINs in consumer financial services, according to a survey by Oxford University and MasterCard.

The first line of device defence

Devices are so often the first-line of defence for financial organisations and, with the new GDPR directive coming into force in May, it has never been more important to keep sensitive online data secure. Yet beyond the financial and legal penalties of GDPR, the fallout from any data breach within the banking and finance sector is amplified by the fact that sensitive client and customer data within the industry is generally more valuable than that of other sectors. According to Ponemon Institute and IBM, the 2017 average cost of a data breach per record amounts to $245 in financial services – second only to healthcare and considerably more than the average of $141.

With research suggesting a financial company’s own employees to be inadvertently responsible for over half of all data breaches, CIOs must look to develop a security infrastructure which removes the threat from the hands of staff as much as possible. While deeper security solutions are essential in guaranteeing the protection of sensitive data at a network level, devices which boast biometric features – such as Toshiba’s X-Series range which offers both fingerprint sensors and iris recognition –  are becoming a requirement for many organisations looking to minimise the threat at device-level. Windows 10 users can also benefit from Windows Hello’s biometric options to simply and securely unlock their device via its facial or fingerprint recognition capabilities. The ability to combine these tools with passwords for two or three-factor authentication enhances protection further.

Advancing to voice and beyond

Biometrics have evolved swiftly since fingerprint sensors became a popular feature in smartphones in 2013, and this is now expanding to areas including voice recognition and full-face scanning. From a finance perspective, the banking industry is leading the way in this area. Large corporations such as HSBC are implementing voice recognition on their banking platforms in a bid to improve security, providing an easier yet more secure log-in experience for customers. While passwords and PIN codes are subject to countless dedicated hacking efforts aimed at prising open knowledge-locked information, biometric data is a trickier, less clear-cut security protocol to beat due to it being based on behavioural idiosyncrasies or unique biological data.

Elsewhere, while eye and iris scanning may well be less prominent within the industry right now, it is not without precedent and should be the next major consideration for financial organisations in the fight against cyber-crime. To this effect, it is predicted that spending on iris recognition biometrics will increase by more than 22 percent to $4.1bn by 2025. As mobile payments continue to grow in Europe, catching the continent up with its Asian and Latin American peers, iris scanning can ensure an even greater level of device authentication for customers as they transition to banking and payments via apps.

Once the technology is fully consolidated, it is evident that biometrics could likely become the automatic choice for first-level security. While not quite yet a fail-safe security tool – as security firms often seek to prove – almost two-thirds of consumers already want to be able to use a biometric scan to authorise in-store payments, according to Worldpay. This demonstrates rapid and progressive adoption of biometrics security, which in turn will drive greater development within the realm of biometric security solutions.

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Insurtech: Why Established Players Need to Act Fast

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Insurtech: Why Established Players Need to Act Fast 1

Technology-led disruptive business models are already here and changing the game

By Will Andrews, Director, Trianz and Satya Madakshira, Director, Trianz

By simplifying processes and designing around the consumer experience with technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, insurtech has propelled upstarts who now threaten to disrupt the insurance industry. Legacy players will need to hustle to catch up with key innovations, but they still can, as described later in this article.

First, it’s important to understand what the insurtech model is built upon and why it is succeeding. Like fintech, insurtech simply means combining technology with an industry – insurance in this case – for the purposes of comprehensive competitive disruption.

New businesses leading the insurtech charge (themselves called ‘insurtechs’) are agile, technology-led, and hyper-reactive to new opportunities on the market. They come from the digital-native generation, and juxtaposed to veteran industry incumbents, its their quickness to adapt to market needs that poses a significant threat. In every industry, COVID-19 has only accelerated the pace of automation and digitalization, heightening the urgency for incumbents to respond.

Conceptually, insurtechs took their cue from innovators like Uber, building their business models upon a tech-enabled customer experience. Powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, insurtechs are trying to redefine consumer expectations with self-service options, mobile enablement, unique customer experiences, and products fashioned on the “sharing economy” concept.

This is all meeting the younger demographic right where they live. Millennials have become accustomed to a high degree of autonomy and influence in the market. Their preference for customer-oriented experiences – as well as their growing numbers as insurance consumers – has had a measurable impact on the industry.

Turning to Face a Digitally Transformed Reality

In general terms, companies that have moved quickly toward tech-enabled simplicity, convenience, and customer focus are already champions of digital transformation. There are indeed some digital champions among insurance industry incumbents.

However, many legacy players in insurance have yet to fully embrace these transformations. It is not uncommon to see companies still using 15- to 20-year-old platforms to support their services. Pivoting to face the new digital reality is a complex and difficult undertaking. Regionality, customer segments, and changing products tend to protract the transformation process.

To address the shift towards direct interaction with consumers of personal insurance products, as well as products for small and medium businesses, legacy players should move away from relying on traditional distribution channels. Even for commercial and specialty products, large carriers should consider digital and mobile connectivity that meet the customer where they are.

Another improvement is the speed with which insurtechs can process customer transactions, such as by automating operational processes so they don’t require human touch. New insurance products are being developed that can be sold as “pass-throughs,” meaning they don’t require manual review to be sold. One example of this is travel insurance available at the point of sale for airfare or hospitality, which is designed so that it cannot go outside the bounds of profitability.

There will likely always be insurance products that require manual review, such as for artwork or remodeled cars. But the philosophy of operational efficiency – claim processing time being the most obvious one – is nonetheless key to driving speed and responsiveness to reduce cycle time for the customer.

Such innovations have the added benefit of creating opportunities for new revenue streams, cross-selling, and up-selling.

Staying Relevant, Playing to Strengths

Global insurance powerhouses still hold significant advantages of expertise, brand recognition, capital, economies of scale, and a firmly established customer base. Reputation and seasoning still matter a great deal in this marketplace, as do solvency and reliability.

The truth may lie somewhere in between bedrock stability and bright-and-shiny. Some legacy insurance firms will streamline their processes and adopt digital technologies to obtain the nimble operations ethos and technical insights of the insurtechs.

If they are taking a page from digital champions industry-wide, they should:

  • Focus on R&D and product management, looking to agile cloud native development for rich new features.
  • Prioritize speed in accommodating regulatory requirements, new services, claims processing, and deal closures.
  • Complete user experience design workshops to understand the generational use patterns.
  • Solve for combining in-store and omni-channel sales and customer service.
  • Bundle products with digital partners and new industry entrants, and design new distribution channels with travel, property and retail vendors.
  • Leverage innovations to streamline operations, be it blockchain for contractual matters and customer ID, or AI visual recognition for instant claim evaluation.
  • New business models such as pay-per-use or open-market resourcing options that could reduce OpEx and CapEx.

The core tenets of this hallowed industry remain the same: customer acquisition and growth, value delivery and operations, and value enablement functions. New upstarts would be wise to consider hybrid approaches that leverage the core values of insurance institutions, or even consider partnering with them for added reach and capital.

Both old and new entities have plenty to gain from advances in technology and new marketplaces – just as long as the customer remains central to their evolutions.

Read more about Digital Transformation in Insurance on Trianz.com.

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Endpoint Security Industry: An Overview

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Endpoint Security Industry: An Overview 2

Endpoint protection is the practice of stopping unauthorised actors and campaigns from targeting endpoints or access points of end-user computers like desktops, notebooks, and handheld devices. Endpoint security solutions guard against cybersecurity risks to these access points on a network.

From standard antivirus applications, endpoint security has developed to offer robust protection from advanced ransomware and emerging zero-day attacks. Nation-states, organised crime, hacktivists and deliberate and unintentional insider attacks are at risk of organisations of all sizes. Endpoint defence is also seen as the forefront in cybersecurity, which is one of the first locations businesses look to protect their business networks. Digital Audio Workstations [DAWs] Market

Modern EPPs harness the cloud’s ability to manage an ever-growing hazard intelligence database, release bloat endpoints correlated with locally storing all this intelligence, and the maintenance needed to keep these databases up-to-date. It also provides superior speed as well as scalability to access this data in the cloud. The EPP includes a single console for system administrators that is mounted on a network gateway or server that enables cybersecurity experts to centrally monitor the protection of each computer.

An Evolution in Endpoint Security

Over the years, the defence of endpoints has progressed from primitive antiviruses to more sophisticated next-generation antiviruses using advanced technologies, new and improved identification and the response of endpoints, and the OS-Centric Optimistic Security strategy. In a constant basis, it shifts. Network vulnerabilities from yesterday are today’s strengths.

Tomorrow’s vectors of attack will inevitably be defended. And then, it’s off. Yet there has been a step-change in the cybersecurity world. The global pandemic got humanity to fewer than 12 parsecs in the Future of Jobs. In two weeks, strategy plans that were set out to be applied in two years were followed. Attacks grew as the perimeter of the network extended indefinitely. And the CISO obeyed and kept the company secure. To focus on endpoint defence, the cybersecurity world aligns.

Key Components of Endpoint Security

Endpoint encryption and application control, two main components of an efficient endpoint protection solution, are important endpoint security layers that prevent problems such as data leaks from occurring deliberately or accidentally by copying or moving data to removable media devices. Endpoint encryption completely encrypts endpoint data, like notebooks, cell devices, and other endpoints, as well as directories, archives, and portable storage devices, such as CDs and USB drives, for your business.

Application monitoring, a key component of robust endpoint protection initiatives, avoids the operation of unauthorised software on endpoints. Regulation of software addresses the problem of workers installing unauthorised or unsafe software on mobile devices that may build network bugs and result in unauthorised entry.

Endpoint security is handled in the business environment by a central management server that tracks and handles all endpoint connexions to the network. However, security solutions such as antivirus software are monitored and managed at individual endpoints in the consumer environment, without the need for central administration.

The Risks of Endpoint Threats

Security is rapidly changing in today’s mobile world, and endpoints now form a new perimeter, and companies need to secure their data across networks. As companies expand, so do their vulnerabilities, and all businesses must secure endpoints regardless of size or stature. However, there is no apparent, easily guarded line that can hold all the data in and attackers out of the system with the growth in telecommuting, more workers requested or compelled to operate from home, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud services.

Endpoint threats help to know what kind of susceptibilities exist to gain an improved understanding of what is required from endpoint protection. A few kinds of attacks that are or are becoming more common are listed below. It is necessary to bear in mind, however, that many more forms of attacks exist and attackers every day learn new methods. Legal ramifications: Infringement of data and loss of personal or confidential information is a serious problem that can lead to considerable legal harm. Reputational damage: Businesses suffering data breaches and cyber-attacks are at risk of adverse public opinion, leading to reduced brand and reputational damage.

A Glance at Importance of Endpoint Security in Today’s World

Endpoint security strategies play a significant role in defending against today’s increasingly advanced cyber threats. Today’s cyber-attacks need a new line of security protection. For a variety of factors, an endpoint defence framework is a critical part of enterprise cybersecurity. First of all, data is often the most important asset a company has in today’s business environment and losing that data or access to that data could put the whole business at risk of insolvency.

Businesses have now had to deal with not only a rising number of endpoints but also an increase in the number of endpoint forms. These variables make it more difficult for enterprise endpoint protection on their own, but they are exacerbated by remote work and BYOD policies that make perimeter security increasingly inadequate and generate vulnerabilities.

The threat landscape is also becoming more complex: hackers are constantly seeking new ways to gain access, steal data or trick employees into distributing confidential data. The endpoint security platforms have become a must-have in terms of protecting modern companies because of the cost of a large-scale breach, cost of transferring resources from business objectives to tackling threats and the actual financial cost of enforcement breaches.

An entry point for threats is given by any computer, such as a tablet, smartphone or laptop. Endpoint security seeks to properly protect any endpoint connecting to a network at these points of entry to block access attempts and other risky activities. The corporate network security perimeter has effectively collapsed as more companies accept activities including BYOD (Bring Your Device) and remote/mobile workers.

The need for effective endpoint protection measures, especially because of the increase in mobile threats, has increased substantially. A centralised security solution is no longer sufficient for today’s ever-shifting and undefinable security limit, with workers relying on mobile devices and laptops to work and connect to business networks. Endpoint security offers a further shield to centralized security controls at the point of entry for some attacks and the point of exit for sensitive information.

Differentiating Endpoint Security from Anti-Virus Software

What separates endpoint protection from popular anti-virus applications is that endpoints are responsible for or more of their protection in the endpoint security framework. This goes against network security, where security measures protect the network as a whole instead of certain computers and servers. Endpoint defence, however, is not carried out exclusively on smartphones.

Common endpoint defence techniques with security tools on a central server or control board and tools on individual devices provide a two-pronged approach. Still, by some definitions, certain simpler types of protection fall under the safety umbrella of the endpoint. That said, modern concepts of endpoint protection typically define more sophisticated methodologies, including intrusion detection and behaviour-blocking elements that either end-users or intruders recognise and block threatening activities and behaviours.

Common Trends in Endpoint Security

Endpoint security trends forecast the future of endpoint threat management and the solution features that we will see in the future in the industry. As trends for the year 2018, several developments have been facing, including machine learning and AI, SaaS-based endpoint defence, layered protection against file-less attacks, putting IoT devices under the protective umbrella, etc.

Today’s methods can achieve better remediation, which ensures that operations such as deleting data, terminating procedures, and rolling back photos of the system can spare IT, employees, the tedium of manually reimaging violated systems.

Endpoint Security Software Features to Look for in 2020

There were 4.1 billion accounts of data threats in the first half of 2019 alone. Therefore, employing an endpoint security framework has become essential for every enterprise. Some of the top endpoint security software features to look for: Securing devices, especially USB ports, generating reports, Device-based and user-based security policies, Application Control, Remote patch installation to quickly fix critical vulnerabilities, Strong secure communication encryption algorithm, Receiving configuration security/status alerts, Browser management

In 2020, companies must secure more ends than ever with the global pandemic COVID-19 requiring more workers to operate remotely. Attackers know that human beings, who now often operate beyond the regulated environment created by office computers and networks, are the weakest link to security. Forced outside of the formal system, individuals are more vulnerable to weaknesses and generate openings for attack.

The Future of Endpoint Security

In 2020 and the near future, enhancing endpoint protection needs to be a top priority. The borderless and non-discriminatory existence of cyber-attacks means that sharing their experiences and working together to defend themselves and the general population is essential for the cybersecurity industry. Endpoint security has grown from modest beginnings of protecting standard PCs to protect complex networks in large enterprises, protecting varied environments like business-issued hardware, programmes for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and more.

For corporations and private clients, cybersecurity used to be all about protecting the endpoint. Since then, rapid technological growth has forced security firms, such as Bitdefender, to develop new techniques and business strategies that could meet the needs of ever-larger organisations. 86% of all infringements are financially motivated, where risk actors are after financial data, intellectual property, health records, and consumer identities of companies that can be easily sold on the Dark Web.

Cybersecurity has repeatedly become one of the leading anxieties for companies around the world in recent years, and this pattern will worsen in 2020. We expect to see an increase in new specifications as businesses increasingly recover from the current pandemic. The evolution of large-scale breaches symbolises a growing trend in the number and gravity of security breaches. Data breaches frequently disclose confidential information that also puts consumers at risk of identity fraud, damages the reputations of firms, and puts businesses responsible for violations of compliance. Cyber Observer, a comprehensive solution for cybersecurity management and understanding, estimates that by 2021, cybercrime harm is expected to exceed $6 trillion annually.

Conclusion

Security is constantly evolving and there is a possibility that the future might hold much more than what we have seen. We cannot, however, ignore the changes that have been seen from the past several years to where we have gotten to today.

Who We Are

Adroit Market Research is a global business analytics and consulting company. Our target audience is a wide range of corporations, manufacturing companies, product/technology development institutions and industry associations that require understanding of a market’s size, key trends, participants and future outlook of an industry. We intend to become our clients’ knowledge partner and provide them with valuable market insights to help create opportunities that increase their revenues. We follow a code– Explore, Learn and Transform. At our core, we are curious people who love to identify and understand industry patterns, create an insightful study around our findings and churn out money-making roadmaps.

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Technology: the saving grace of the month-end headache in financial reporting

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Technology: the saving grace of the month-end headache in financial reporting 3

By Tiffany Newkirk, Financial Solutions Manager at SplashBI 

The end of the month is a challenging time for many accountants and financial analysts as they race to close their books and complete their reporting on time. Whether they are using Oracle Cloud or on premise solutions, the final hurdle has its highs and lows. With accounts to reconcile and financial statements to analyse, accountants and financial analysts are left with little time before the crucial deadlines are in front of them. As a result, time needs to be maximised so that they have all the answers at their fingertips when presenting to the business, board members and executives. These are the aspects of the role that financial analysts adore – and manual intervention shouldn’t be the blocking stone of success.

Preparation for month-end reporting involves financial analysts spending long periods of time focused on analysing spreadsheet after spreadsheet. Tiffany Newkirk, Financial Solutions Manager at SplashBI, explains that month-end reporting shouldn’t be as problematic and frustrating as it is. To move forward, financial analysts need to incorporate technology to provide a visual representation of the data so their role becomes as efficient and sustainable as possible.

A new beginning

Overtime and stress are two common issues that accountants and financial analysts experience when completing month-end close reporting. As many as one in four financial analysts describe the pressure of financial reporting being overwhelming, resulting in employees leaving the job they love; a situation that no senior management team wants to occur.

According to a recent survey, as many as 73% of accountants and financial analysts are still operating in a manually intensive, spreadsheet-driven system that limits or removes any time for analysis. In the same survey, 84% said they would prefer the financial close process to take up less time, that could in turn be devoted to more strategic financial projects. From a health and wellbeing perspective, the drive to utilise technology will help improve the efficiency and accuracy, especially at this turbulent time, and allow more time to be spent exploring the results and having the answers readily available for senior-level discussions.

A long-awaited transition

Companies of all shapes and sizes have long sought ways to streamline their processes so that accountants can spend less time collecting numbers and more time analysing the impact and results with senior stakeholders. Finding the right equilibrium between speed, accuracy and employees’ needs is key, and financial experts need to embrace technology and its visual qualities in order to achieve this.

While spreadsheets are a useful tool, they can be prone to errors, especially if formulas are entered incorrectly. Management teams want to understand the implications of the data in front of them, and with the aid of financial experts, bring the data to life in a much more visual and empowering way, ready to spot the next business opportunity. Working solely in a spreadsheet rarely allows this to happen.

Instead, technology can help drive smarter decisions, by making the data come to life and presented in a variety of visual formats. By combining the numerous, disparate systems required to achieve a successful month end close, financial analysts and CMOs can view real time data at a click of a button to make informed decisions in the future.

Conclusion

In an increasingly digitised world, real time financial reporting and accurate forecasting are more vital than ever to achieve a sustainable and efficient business model. Given the circumstances faced throughout 2020, effective financial management provides businesses with a competitive advantage and greater insights to drive profitability and efficiency.

Letting go of tired and archaic practices will drive financial roles forward and open the door for a myriad of opportunities when accountants and financial analysts expand their reliance on technology and move away from traditional methods. Moving forward, organisations that don’t incorporate technology into their month end reporting will be left behind, and not reap the rewards. It’s time for the face of financial reporting and analytics to change to become a seamless, stress-free and data-driven process.

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