By Leon Ward, Director of Product Management, Sourcefire
Earlier this month the Bank of England’s Andrew Haldane revealed that four of the six top UK banks have listed cyber-attacks as their number one concern. In addition, for the first time, one of the top US banking regulators has named cyber-threats as a major factor heightening banks’ operational risk. And banking security experts say this is a sign that great regulatory scrutiny will come.
For any organisation a breach in security is a major issue. But for banks in particular, where consumer confidence is of paramount importance, a brand may suffer such irreparable damage, there could be no going back. Just last month Zeus, cyber criminals remodeled an old virus called Zeus and used it to obtain banking credentials and hack into bank accounts; it managed to steal $70 million.
From whichever vantage point you view it, the cyber-security landscape has changed. It is now about preparing for the worst and mitigating the risk to protect critical data and infrastructures. When it comes to IT security, there is no silver bullet. It’s a fact that for many banks it’s not “if” but “when” a breach will happen. They should start by asking themselves “what would I do differently if I knew I was going to be compromised?” and then build their security strategy to address this scenario. Furthermore, banks shouldn’t obsess on “who” is attacking them from “where”, but keep focused on the threats themselves along with their effective remediation. This way they can better protect themselves when the inevitable happens.
One challenge for banks is that information security has traditionally been the remit of the IT department alone, with little executive or board level engagement. This has to change. Banks must challenge their traditional approach to information security by ensuring that cybercrime is on the corporate risk management agenda at the same level as credit and market risks. Only by giving it this level of priority will information security be effective across the whole organisation.
The key issue for IT security defenders, whether working for a bank, retail organisation or a utility company is that today’s hackers have become increasingly sophisticated and their attacks are ever more innovative. The good news, though, is that the technology and processes exist to effectively protect today’s increasingly complex IT environments against sophisticated attacks. Here are a few pointers:
Shore up your defences -Any advanced malware response strategy must start with detection and blocking. In order to have effective detection and blocking, without a lot of “noise,” you need a baseline of information about what’s on your network in order to defend it – devices, operating systems, services, applications, users, content and potential vulnerabilities. Malware detection, the ability to identify files as malware at the point of entry and remediate accordingly, combined with implementing access control over applications and users, is also important. Not only do these measures help you to take steps to reduce the surface area of attack, but with the right informational context, detection may also indicate that your organization is in the bull’s-eye of a targeted attack.
Identifying the Target(s) – The best threat detection and blocking only goes so far. When an attack does happen you need to be able to identify ‘Patient Zero’, the malware origination point. From there, visibility to identify affected systems, the application that introduced the malware, the files that are causing it to spread and which systems are affected enables you to address the infection at the root and avoid re-infection.
Enemy Reconnaissance – When an attacker successfully circumvents traditional security technologies, your incident response plan kicks in. At that point, chances are you’re in firefighter mode without the time, nor a PhD in forensics, to delve into volumes of data and sophisticated analytics. Use of Big Data analytics to identify fundamental behavioral characteristics of the malware will help you to quickly understand the threat. Visibility into how the malware affects other files it has either interacted with or dropped on the system is also essential.
Gaining the Upper Hand – With greater visibility and better protection, you can start to gain control and remediate. Detection and blocking combined with identifying affected systems ensures you start from a position of strength, eradicating the malware so you don’t lose ground. Updating protections based on the latest threat intelligence as well as constraining and eliminating attack vectors with application control enables you to further reduce risk. Understanding file behaviour and its path can help you minimize the impact of an attack and recover.
Effective advanced malware response requires visibility and control across the entire IT environment and along the full threat lifecycle, to not only identify and stop the spread of malware but also minimize the risk of reinfection. With the ability to detect and eradicate malware quickly and effectively you can be confident your security and incident response strategy is up to today’s challenge.
UBX appoints new Chief Investment Officer
In line with its strategy to explore and invest in companies and platforms of the future, UBX—the Fintech and Corporate Venture Capital arm of Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) — is announcing the appointment of Matthew Kolling as the company’s Chief Investment Officer (CIO).
As CIO, Kolling will be managing UBX’s Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) fund. He will also play a key role in raising capital for UBX while assisting the company in key corporate transactions, including the structuring of joint ventures and acquisitions.
Prior to his appointment at UBX, Kolling has been Head of Venture Investments at Aboitiz & Company since 2019, wherein he had been working with UBX on investment portfolio decisions. Before that, he held senior positions in Private Equity, Venture Capital, and Investment Banking at firms such as Providence Equity Partners and Morgan Stanley in New York.
Kolling has more than 20 years of experience in managing investments and deals in the Technology and Telecommunications industries and is active in Venture Capital and startup communities in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian region. He currently chairs the Manila Angel Investors Network, among others.
“We at UBX are excited to welcome Matt as our new CIO. We firmly believe that Matt will be instrumental in driving value creation opportunities, both within the CVC fund and our corporate ventures. We look forward to working with him as we fulfill UBX’s vision of a future where banking services are embedded into everyday experiences that matter,” said UBX president and CEO John Januszczak.
Meanwhile, UnionBank president and CEO Edwin Bautista said, “The addition of world-class talents in our pool reinforces our strategy to future-proof the organization and our business as we prepare for many new opportunities that come with the changing times.”
It’s all relative: Older generations feel helping out the family financially is more important since the Covid-19 outbreak
Before Covid, 23% of people prioritised helping younger generations out financially, that increased to a third as a result of the pandemic
A recent survey* conducted by Hodge has revealed that the Covid pandemic has led to more people wanting to help younger family members financially.
A third (31%)** of those questioned said that since the Covid outbreak giving a financial gift to children or grandchildren is more important to them, compared to 23% who said it was a priority before the pandemic.
The traditional “Bank of Mum and Dad” is still very much open for financial help, with parents being responsible for 72% of the gifts, but the study also revealed that financial gifts can come from all corners of the family – including children (14%) and siblings (14%).
The survey also found that a third of people have received a financial gift from family, with those aged between 25-34 as the most likely to receive
The most popular reason for gifting money to family is for special occasions such as a quarter of gifts were given for weddings and birthdays but 11% of people have received money to help with big purchases such as cars and houses. In addition, 19% of people have received help with day to day finances, with around 14% of those receiving a gift have done so to pay off debt.
Emma Graham, Business Development Director at Hodge, said of the research: “Our study showed that, as a nation, we all want to help our family out when it comes to money. And whilst we all think of the Bank of Mum and Dad or Gran and Grandad as a traditional source, we were surprised to see that 14% of brothers and sisters are also helping out.”
The findings come from a recent intergenerational study conducted by Hodge, who interviewed over 3000 people about their attitudes towards finances and their aspirations for the future. The full research findings can be found at https://hodgebank.co.uk/2020/05/19/money-its-all-relative/.
As part of the study, people were also asked about paying back the gift, with 40% of beneficiaries expecting to pay their parents back, but this dropped to 28% if the gift came from grandparents.
From the gift donor’s perspective, 26% expect the gift to be paid back, however just 15% of grandparents expected the money back.
Hodge has produced a set of guides on how families can navigate the tricky subject of giving financial gifts within a family, as well as the considerations and steps that be families should think about taking before a gift is given, such as is it a loan or a gift and thinking about contingencies if the family member’s circumstances change. The guides can be found here: https://hodgebank.co.uk/news/
Emma continued: “It’s clear that families feel strongly about offering financial support to each other if they are able and this has increased since the Covid pandemic. Before Covid, 23% of people prioritised helping their families out financially in the next five years. Since the Covid-19 outbreak that has increased to a third of people saying helping a family member financially had become more important.
“So, it is clear that the Covid-19 lockdown and subsequent predicted economic downturn, has led to more families looking to share wealth to help younger children or grandchildren during this difficult time. Many people may look to Later Life mortgages, where many products have reduced their rates and have flexible lending criteria, to help out a loved during these difficult times.”
New report identifies the factors which will determine SMEs’ chances of a successful COVID recovery
· Analysis of the performance of over 1,000 UK small and medium-sized businesses by Allica Bank provides roadmap for SMEs
· Regular training, an openness to innovation, and a clear vision all contribute heavily to an SMEs’ chances of success
· Allica Bank has launched a programme of free workshops to expand on the findings and support business owners
Business bank, Allica Bank has combined data and insight from over 1,000 UK SMEs with a multiple regression analysis to determine what factors most closely aligned with an SMEs’ chances of success and separated the highest-performing businesses from their peers. These ‘rules for success’ have been compiled from the research data to support British businesses as they look to chart a course to post-Covid recovery.
The full report identifies six behaviours for small and medium businesses to follow, to maximise their chances of a successful COVID recovery. The six top-line rules emphasised by the data were:
Rule 1: SMEs should regularly train staff
Of the top-performing businesses analysed, 47% provided training for employees at least on a quarterly basis, compared to just 32% of other businesses. Regular employee training was linked closely to success by the model.
Despite this, many small businesses have neglected training and nearly half (46%) of the small businesses analysed only provide training for employees about once a year or less often. This included 15% that never provide employer-funded training. This discrepancy could represent a significant opportunity for small businesses to unlock the potential of their employees and thrive in the post-Covid economy.
Rule 2: SMEs need to focus on innovation and technology
Looking again to the best performing businesses, 76% were found to either continually (39%) or often (37%) be considering new opportunities for technology in their business. This is compared to only 51% for businesses considered to be outside of the top ranks, out of which only 27% admitted to continually looking for new technology opportunities.
Rule 3: Small business must have a formal, long-term vision
Nearly two thirds (66%) of the most successful businesses in the survey had a formal, long-term vision, compared to just 50% of businesses outside the top 100. Looking to the businesses that scored the lowest on the SME Performance index, only 37% claimed to have a formal, long-term vision.
Rule 4: SMEs should broaden their customer reach and find new markets
Of the top-performing businesses, 65% of these have overseas customers compared to just 40% of the worst performing businesses. Among the best performing SMEs, over a third (34%) identified international expansion as one of the top three drivers for their success.
Rule 5: SMEs need to develop reinvestment plans
22% of the best performing SMEs reinvested some of their profits into the business in the past three years with an average 9% of profits being redeployed. Tellingly, this is nearly double what other businesses admit to reinvesting in their business (5%).
Rule 6: SMEs should engage with local business organisations and networks
Of the top 100 SMEs, 30% had obtained external credit to expand over the past three years (compared to 24% of other businesses). Meanwhile, only 16% of all other SMEs had engaged with local enterprise partnerships or growth hubs in the past three years (compared to 23% of the top 100 SMEs).
Chris Weller, Chief Commercial Officer, Allica Bank, said:
“All small businesses are different, as are all small business owners, but one trait they share is an innovative resilience. Whilst the coming months and years will undoubtedly continue to present extreme challenges, there is no doubt that small and medium sized businesses across the UK will rise to meet them head on.
“To give them the best chance to succeed, though, they need to be equipped with the right tools. There is certainly no silver bullet or panacea for every small business, but as this study has found, there are a number of common factors found in the most successful businesses that allow small enterprises to thrive and that they can consider individually for their business.
“This research has identified common ‘rules for success’ that speak to every aspect of running a business, not just the financials. Once we saw these results, we wanted to use them to help small businesses begin to re-build and prosper, by outlining common factors and then examining how best they can be practically applied to businesses in all sectors of the economy.
“Small business owners and their employees have been hit hard by the crisis, but they have the drive and resourcefulness to breathe new life into the economy and bring energy to post-Covid Britain. Our commitment at Allica Bank is to give them the support they need to do so, every step of the way.”
The full report contains a wealth of additional data and insight into each of these topics. As part of its mission to empower small businesses, Allica Bank is making the findings freely available and running a series of free online workshops with relevant partner organisations for businesses to attend.
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