Globalscape’s Matt Goulet explains how finance organisations can secure their data and interests as they continue to face an ever-growing number of IT threats
The finance industry will always face scrutiny over its security. The high value of the personal and financial data the industry holds means that security is a top priority on organisations’ IT agenda, especially since financial organisations are heavily regulated and required to be compliant with specific laws.
As finance companies are such a high value target for cybercriminals, getting everything right throughout the entire IT system is critical. Tasks like sending sensitive data attached to a standard email could be the one error a criminal needs to gain access to further compromising information. Simply investing in compliant software to support security is no longer good enough to prevent a breach. It may provide a short term solution but without a larger, overarching yet focused approach to security and compliance, companies will leave themselves vulnerable.
From my perspective, the key is maintaining three things within IT systems: automation, visibility and functionality. Taking these three simple steps will ultimately reduce risk and keep financial organizations compliant.
Automating secure information exchange functions is a very simple way to reduce threats and make sure every file ever distributed is moved in a compliant manner. In simple terms, it removes the opportunity for human error. One automated system we are seeing our customers implement into email is automatic encryption. This particular technology allows organisations to share documents and data over email while keeping the files within a company’s secure protected system.
Making these business operations automatic, so that an employee can seamlessly share a file and keep it safe, is a very simple step towards securing data. It also greatly reduces risk and ensures sensitive information is not simply sent openly over the unprotected Internet.
The moment data leaves an organisation’s IT system, its location can be very difficult to track until it reaches its destination. Equally, if IT systems are particularly complex and disparate, being able to track individual files can be even more complicated.
Achieving full visibility into a business network can take time but being able to see the exact location of data, the files coming and going, as well as who they’re from and going to will increase safety. From an IT management perspective, teams can see exactly how employees are implementing safe information exchange practices and pre-warn on non-compliance. In addition visibility can dramatically help IT understand how to make the lives of staff easier yet continue to increase security.
Often with business operations and new tech products, encouraging staff buy in can be one of the biggest challenges to long-term adoption. No matter how much safer or compliant new technology is, if other quicker, easier options exist, it can be incredibly difficult to keep staff motivated to use newer, safer alternatives.
Our customers tell us functionality and security are both key considerations when they’re looking for information sharing or collaboration solutions. Companies without the functional means to make day-to-day activity secure are likely to see greater numbers of security breaches as a result of employees taking largely unnecessary (and unknowing) risks in order to save time. Ignoring functionality factors will also risk breaching compliance as some more risky actions of employees are likely to be in breach of data protection regulations.
The unpredictable nature of data breaches, especially those targeted at the finance industry, makes ensuring IT departments and employees alike have the best tools available increasingly important. Rather than just purchasing solutions which are compliant, organisations need to also make sure they are easy to use, have automated functions and allow for management visibility. Knowing who has control of your data, where and compliance should be the minimum requirements for a more secure environment. Automation, visibility and functionality will ultimately ensure maximum levels of security and help keep a financial institution ahead of the curve when it comes to becoming and staying compliant.