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How Financial Services Organisations Can Protect Against Cyberattacks by Employing Modern Data Protection Best Practices

protection SBI 300198090 - Global Banking | Finance

250 - Global Banking | FinanceBy Dan Middleton, VP, UK&I, Veeam Software

Financial services organisations notoriously run on legacy systems, but in common with other industries digital transformation has been an essential aspect of meeting the needs of modern daily domestic and business practices.

When the pandemic hit, financial services organisations were forced to accelerate this digital transformation. With 35% of customers increasing their use of online banking during Covid-19,something had to be done. This trend is set to continue as we move into 2022, with the benefits including the automation of services, more inclusive access for consumers and ability to offer staff more flexible ways of working. There will be no going back.

With this shift comes significant security challenges, especially for the big banks running on legacy systems. The International Monetary Fund recently found that cyber threats to the financial system are growing, and is not a question of if, but when a significant incident occurs.

Cyberattacks are on the rise across all sectors. The Centre for Strategic and International Studies found in September this year that hackers obtained 15 TB of data from 8,000 organisations working with Israel-based company Voicenter and offered the data online for $1.5 million. This is just one among several such examples that makes it clear this is a consistent issue in need of tackling.

If ever there were a time for organisations to embrace Modern Data Protection in order to mitigate the cyber security risks that are now prevalent in an increasingly data-intensive, digital world, that time is now.

The cyber threat landscape

As hybrid working continues to be the new norm for many formerly full-time office workers, and the cyberthreat landscape remains turbulent, a significant number of banks are discovering their data protection solutions and protocols are insufficient for their needs. The 2021 Data Protection Report from Veeam found that cybersecurity is a problem for everybody, but even more so for EMEA financial services (30% vs. 16% globally).

Given the sensitive and important nature of the data banks hold, it’s clear that there is a need to align on the best practices around modern data protection to ensure that customers’ data is stored in the most resilient, secure and robust way possible.

With research from Tessian highlighting that 47% of individuals have fallen for a phishing scam while working from home, this need has become even more prevalent throughout the pandemic as hybrid working has become common.

Currently, a number of banks aren’t set up in a way which follows them to employ better Modern Data Protection practices. According to Veeam’s research mentioned above, 76% of all organisations recognised that they have an “availability gap” between how fast they can recover applications versus how fast they need applications to be recovered (in other words their Recovery Time Objectives are not fast enough and out of step with the needs of the business). 72% of those same organisations said they have a “Protection Gap” between how frequently data is backed up versus how much data they can afford to lose (which means they have a Recovery Point Objective disconnect too). Any organisation with such gaps and lags in the backup and recovery of its data is leaving itself woefully exposed to all manner of threats, digital and physical.

The working practices adopted in the face of the pandemic’s pressures will, in many cases, be permanent. That means data must continue to not only get to where it’s needed around the clock, but it’s also safe and secure.  Business leaders and IT teams need to work together to ensure that backups are regularly being made but also tested and protected. Data is the lifeblood of a modern business, and real change is embraced when leaders show its worth.


The facts are clear; legacy data protection– when resilience measures aren’t implemented –  costs you time and money while putting your data at risk. It’s holding you back from unleashing your data’s full potential and ensuring its 100% protection and recovery. Modern Data Protection can provide new levels of confidence and operational excellence, ensuring your data is always protected and available, as well as many other economic and productivity benefits.

Our research found three key things financial service organisations need to focus on:

1. Digital resiliency

Data protection costs and efforts increase as legacy systems continue to struggle to support modern services and innovation. Being digitally resilient means businesses can decrease costs and be more efficient, especially when adopting modern data protection.

2. Data accessibility and management

Intelligent data management increases availability through automated and instant recovery, keeping data platforms healthy without manual intervention, and reducing non-compliance risks. Managing data without defined processes serves to reduce efficiency and can lead to increased recovery times. Systems need automated processes to simplify management and recovery while reducing risk.

3. More than just backup — driving innovation

Innovation accelerates when data is readily accessible. But the vast array of different kinds of data, stored in different platforms and formats, creates silos and makes joining the dots and unlocking its value becomes challenging. Modern Data Protection practices can help unleash this data, informing strategic decisions and helping those decisions to be made faster. An organisation’s backup data can contain all kinds of valuable customer and market insights – and that powerful central repository can be used to power new products and services, inform strategic decisions, or improve existing customer services.

As we move into the new normal, businesses need to be as innovative as possible.

Looking ahead

Financial service organisations hold a lot of sensitive data and the high level of responsibility that comes with this is evident from the layers of compliance and regulation they need to satisfy. Then there is the reputational damage and loss of customer and markets trust that they need to protect against too. When faced with today’s potent and evolving threat landscape, increased online banking, a potentially disparate workforce, the complexities associated with managing risk across legacy and hybrid infrastructures, banks would greatly benefit from a Modern Data Protection approach.

Not only it will allow them to ensure critical, sensitive, and valuable data won’t be lost or fall into the wrong hands, it will enable them to service their customers in the best way possible and maintain – if not increase – stakeholder confidence too.

Global Banking & Finance Review


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