By Derek Britton, Solution Marketing Director at Micro Focus
Since the Enron scandal and in the recent period of economic austerity, the public has borne witness to unprecedented scrutiny into industrial-scale problems. High profile banking outages – such as those reported at Santander, Barclays and HSBC in May this year – LIBOR rigging, PPI mis-selling and insider trading have fuelled widespread criticism of the financial industry. This scrutiny, together with new legislative changes, has resulted in an array of new compliance measures such as ISO27002, Basel III, FACTA and SEPA.
In order to support compliance requirements, banks need to change and update their core business applications through software development and testing. Yet related challenges including; missing code documentation, a widening coding skills gap and data privacy risks have led to a melting pot of complexity that has seen banks increase spend simply to ‘keep the IT maintenance lights on.’ JP Morgan recently announced that in order to support compliance demands it had grown its IT spend by 27 percent since 2011.
In a climate of shrinking IT budgets leaders need a new approach to compliance that will drive efficiencies and reduce cost in order to future proof the business. This approach should include the use of automated application understanding, software development and test data software so that banks can find the right code, fix and test it quickly and efficiently, without exposing sensitive employee information.
Going beyond simply ‘keeping the lights on’
The burden of the existing day-to-day IT workload has never been greater, and continues to grow. Spending on basic maintenance and compliance does little to really move the business forward, yet it consumes the vast majority of IT budget. Tech-savvy consumers are demanding cloud, mobile and new IT architecture and this new generation of customer is forcing banks to look hard at their IT strategy and how to reduce expenditure on maintenance so that they can invest in innovation.
However, reducing IT spend on compliance is difficult. The legal imperatives and regulations facing the banking world today are accompanied by unmovable deadlines and threats of punitive measures. HSBC, for example, was forced to a pay a $1.9 billion (£1.2bn) anti-money laundering fine last year. With deadlines usually locked and loaded, associated projects become high priority “must haves” and budget “must spend”
Not complying is not an option, yet updating core applications to ensure compliance presents an array of challenges. So many of the world’s financial transactions are passing, in their billions, through code first devised some thirty years ago, meaning that often:
Application documentation is missing: Understanding where to make changes can be difficult, especially when up-to-date application documentation is missing. This impacts on how quickly developers are able to identify specific areas of code impacted by the compliance change. Add to this the in-house regulations including coding guidelines, standards adherence and quality metrics, and”routine” change projects can become arduous resource-intensive.
Coding skills gap: Developers must rely on the code itself to help them understand where to make their changes. However, many core banking applications are written COBOL, whereas today’s software developer is trained in languages such as C# and Java. IT leaders, often find their skill pool lacking for the task at hand.
Testing can risk divulging personal employee information: A key element in de-risking IT to comply with new regulations is ensuring that applications are released and updated without the introduction of errors. This is fairly well understood in the industry. Less well understood seems to be the fact that using production data to test those applications is a very bad idea indeed. A 2009 survey of over 1,300 US and UK development professionals revealed an overwhelming majority of respondents, including 80% of US respondents, use copies of production data for application testing purposes.
Test data can contain sensitive employee data, such as payroll information, if pulled from company personnel for testing requirements. Personal data leaked through a testing process not only breaches best practice but can represent a very high-profile failure in terms of regulatory compliance.
Find it, fix it and test it – the smart way
Using automation technology can create repeatable, effective steps for updating software when faced with the above challenges, driving efficiencies at every key stage. In doing so, banks are able to create a balance between lights-on and innovation projects, enabling development staff to focus their efforts more efficiently, while fully understanding and managing the impact of the changes they make.
Find It: Embrace change and boost development efficiency
Application understanding technology has been used to great effect on mass change programmes as far back as the year 2000. It has gone from strength to strength, forming the backbone of many organisations’ maintenance activities, including handling the change requests emerging from mandatory regulation. One such example is SEPAi, the Single Euro Payment Area, which becomes a requirement for cross-border trading on February 1st 2014.
This technology helps business analysts’ work with developers to identify and isolate impacted sections of the application portfolio and provide a ‘single source of truth’ for all stakeholders, regardless of role or function. This increased insight impacts positively on risk and productivity, which can be scaled up to support more strategic IT planning and portfolio management initiatives too.
Help in finding where to make changes is also critical. Application understanding technology provides developers with a ‘to do’ list, focusing them on impacted areas and dramatically reducing the learning curve associated with unfamiliar code. From there, the right technology enables developers to get the job done quickly and accurately, avoiding re-work and high-profile system failure.
Fix It: Wipe out the skills gap
The right technology to help the skills gap are based on industry standards like Eclipse and Visual Studio, enabling the broadest possible pool of developers to be highly productive in the shortest possible time, whatever their background – COBOL or C#, mainframe or mobile. These environments bring huge productivity benefits through powerful editing, syntax correction and debugging features, and they present these features in a way that is immediately familiar to new arrivals. It means no matter what the required change, whatever the code, the task becomes straightforward.
Test It: Protect privacy through automated test data management
Effective test data management, including protecting sensitive data through various forms of automated masking, satisfies privacy regulation and removes the risk of personal information falling into the wrong hands when company property is stolen or mislaid.
Some organisations go even further, using those same tools to reduce the size of their data sets while keeping full referential integrity. By using smaller, more precise, and secure test data sets, organisations can run their testing lifecycle in a shorter time, at a higher quality and with a lower cost.
Regulatory Change: A catalyst for innovation
Unless banks adapt their approach to regulation changes it will remain impossible for IT departments to service the needs of the compliance office and still satisfy the business innovation agenda. By introducing appropriate technology and, as Forrester analyst Tom Grant says, automating ‘anything and everything that can conceivably automate,’ organisations can get ahead of the game – not just of compliance, but of their entire ‘lights on’ burden.
If teams use compliance as an opportunity for making improvements to team productivity it can act as a force for good in changing the way things are done. Only then will the CIO finally be able to generate the business growth the company needs and which IT can deliver.
What does cybersecurity look like for the financial sector in 2021?
By Neill Lawson-Smith, managing director at CIS
The landscape is changing incredibly fast, with cybercriminals using the most up-to-date technology to hack systems. Here are the six areas those in finance should be watching out for…
The finance and insurance sector is increasingly becoming a notable target for cyber attacks. Many of these breaches happening are believed to be due to inadequate security measures when teams or businesses are using cloud services.
The financial industry is also being affected by changes in processes with more fintech, virtual banks, and other digital disruptors impacting the market. The landscape is changing incredibly fast, with cybercriminals using the most up-to-date technology to hack systems, so it is therefore up to the financial sector to keep up to avoid security breaches.
What does this look like for the year ahead in the financial sector? Here are the Six areas those in finance should be watching out for:
- AI securityand cyber defence
Both Cybercriminals and cyber defence are commonly using Artificial Intelligence (AI). In cybersecurity, it is used to identify new threats, as well as assess the effectiveness of the responses to threats, enabling them to foresee and essentially block attacks before they happen. It is also used to spot behavioural patterns and can quickly identify possible infiltrations.
Hackers have also started to use AI to make it easier for them to get past security systems in place. This year, it is likely that AI will be increasingly used as a means of gaining personal details (i.e. credit card details) as well as optimising spam phishing campaigns.
- Mobile cybersecurity in banking
With the number of consumers using their mobile devices for banking and financial transactions increasing, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has rendered society predominantly cashless, cybercriminals have been heavily targeting mobile systems. For example, mobile malware only targets mobile phone operating systems. The most common forms of mobile malware are virus and trojans, spyware and madware (mobile adware), phishing campaigns, and browser exploits.
This means it is now more important than ever to protect mobile devices to the same extent as traditional hardware.
The same protocols that are in place to ensure your staff PCs and laptops are secure now, need to also be applied to their mobile devices as well, such as:
- Ensuring the latest versions of the operating system and other applications are installed.
- Installing a firewall.
- Enabling mobile security software to protect against malware and viruses.
- Using password protected lock screens.
- Ensuring apps are only downloaded from official sites like Apple App store and Google Play.
- Multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to all your business networks by ensuring every transaction or login is supported by at least two security measures for access. It is one of the easiest security measures to implement within your business and is becoming more common within the financial sector for many transactions. The traditional username and password are becoming increasingly easy for cybercriminals to acquire, whereas adding an extra identification method, that is not easily accessible to the hackers, ensures an extra layer of protection.
The most commonly used multi-factor authentication methods are:
- Passwords – They should be complex and comprise at least eight characters and be a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
- One-time use code – A randomly generated code sent via SMS or email which is used only once. With weaknesses in mobile networks and email accounts, these can however be intercepted by hackers.
- App generated codes – a code generated by an app on a mobile phone often created by scanning a QR code that contains a ‘key’. As the key is stored on the phone itself this is less likely to be intercepted by a third party.
- Physical authentication keys – this is a USB which the user inserts every time they login from a new computer. Unfortunately, they don’t work on all devices without adapters (such as iPhone, MacBook or Android).
- Biometrics – Using a fingerprint, voice, or an eye dent is an effective identifier. They are extremely difficult to hack but if they are, they cannot be used ever again for anything.
- Information – this could be something that only the user would know – either a password or a piece of information.
Most of these methods are free or relatively cheap to implement and don’t require anything other than a mobile phone for the user. The added security of multi-factor authentication means even if a hacker has acquired a username/password combination there is still an extra security barrier preventing access.
- Refined testing
As the finance industry is constantly changing, then so too are the security threats. Financial cybersecurity is an ongoing commitment, so installing new anti-virus software and implementing MFA, and stopping there is not going to keep you protected for long. It requires ensuring software and firewalls are up to date as well as ensuring access is regularly updated. In addition to this constant maintenance regular testing of the systems is essential. All systems have vulnerabilities, and as these change, cybercriminals learn to overcome them, and therefore software develops.
One thing to remember is that it is not possible to be over-cautious when it comes to cybersecurity. Regular penetration testing essentially identifies any weaknesses in your systems before the cyber criminals do. It is essential to schedule penetration testing or vulnerability scans at least once a quarter unless compliance dictates otherwise. They can be carried out using a vulnerability scanner.
- Hiring the right people
It is crucial to have the right team on hand to ensure your systems are up to date, regularly tested and maintained is essential.
Your IT team should have the following skills and knowledge:
- Knowledge and understanding of the company’s IT infrastructure
- Knowledge of cybersecurity best practices
- Understanding of company processes and data flows
- Up to date knowledge of cybersecurity solutions
- Plan a Defence, Prepare for Attack…
Although businesses can take many precautions, there are limitations on skills, investment and timescales in implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity infrastructure, it is essential that appropriate procedures, policies and processes are established to ensure that an appropriate response is carried out in the event of a detection – whether manual or ideally automated – so that whenever an attack occurs, the appropriate and proportionate response is carried out immediately to limit any further damage or intrusion.
Data protection: it’s time to reassess your security strategy
By Tony Pepper, CEO of Egress
It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has created a perfect storm of cybersecurity risk. External threats are heightened, but there’s also a higher level of internal risk too, exacerbated by home working. With most financial services organisations planning to continue with mass remote working for the foreseeable future, it’s important for security teams to review their strategy and assess whether it still works in this new landscape. When it comes to insider threat, there are three key areas that IT leaders should focus on: building a positive culture around security, understanding their organisation’s level of risk and protecting their people.
- Build a security-positive culture
Many organisations have unknowingly instilled a security-negative culture among their employees, where people are punished or shamed if they cause a security incident. While they might think that this would discourage employees from causing data breaches for fear of repercussions, this actually makes your organisation less secure. Our Outbound Email Security Report found that 62% of organisations rely on their people to report email data breach incidents – and if employees are too afraid to come forward, that means your business is at risk of developing a security blind spot.
A security negative culture won’t actually prevent data breaches caused by human error, something which organisations need to recognize as largely unavoidable without technological intervention; it just delays remediation, which makes every incident worse. By creating a security-positive culture, you can better engage and educate employees, as well as ensure you’re able to rapidly triage any incidents if they occur.
- Understand your risk
When mapping out your risk, you’ll likely find that the picture looks very different to how it did even a year ago. In the past, organisations have focused on their networks and their devices when it came to security strategy. While these are vital areas for consideration, what hasn’t been as well-addressed to date is the human aspect of risk, particularly human error. You need to look closely at the tools that your employees are using daily to facilitate digital communication with clients and colleagues, including when sending sensitive information.
Employees are specifically using email more than ever before – our recent research found that 94% of organisations are sending more emails due to Covid-19, with one-in-two IT leaders reporting an increase of more than 50%. With this expansion of email volumes comes an increase in the risk that an email containing sensitive data might be misdirected. Remote working has also heightened the threat – our research found that 35% of organisations’ serious email data breaches were caused by remote working. Why? The causes lie in their behavior and the environments in which they operate. Some individuals may feel they’re able to take more risks away from the “watchful eyes” of their Security team, and every employee is faced with a myriad of distractions that make them more likely to make a mistake.
It’s time for organisations to take stock of their risk by looking at where gaps in their security might exist – and provide safety nets for their employees that can automatically detect and mitigate inadvertent data breaches and risky behaviour.
- Protect your people
It goes without saying that not all data breaches are caused by malicious activity. An overwhelming amount of data breaches are caused by hardworking employees making honest mistakes, from sending an email to the wrong person to responding to a phishing attack. Unfortunately, human error is an unavoidable part of life, and mistakes will happen. In the past, many organisations have taken the approach that employee error can be ‘trained away’, embarking on comprehensive security training programs in the hope that security incidents might decrease.
Unfortunately, if that were the case, then employee activated data breaches would be a thing of the past! Organisations need to employ a multifaceted approach when it comes to avoiding accidental insider data breaches – education and training remain an important element, but ultimately businesses need to implement the right technology to provide a safety net for their people. Many organisations have legacy DLP solutions in place that cannot mitigate the risk as they fail to fully understand employees’ behaviour.
Often, these tools stand in the way of productivity, prompting users even when there isn’t a legitimate risk. When click fatigue sets in, these solutions become ineffective, with users ignoring prompts whenever they appear. Luckily, advances in machine learning mean that there’s technology available to prevent insider data breaches such as misdirected email, by deeply understanding the way that users behave and the context in which they share data, to ensure emails are sent to the right recipients with the right level of security.
The vast majority of organizations will never go back to every employee working full time within the office environment, instead post-pandemic we will see a myriad of different approaches – with some based in the office, while others work at home part or full-time, and as the world opens up again, their locations may change throughout the day. To mitigate risks from inadvertent errors to intentional data exfiltration, CISOs must address their security culture and protect their human layer with intelligent controls that mitigate employees’ behaviors and stop breaches before they happen.
Sumitomo Life Insurance Selects Talend to Build Company’s Data Infrastructure
Leading life insurer uses Talend in data lake environment for data analytics
Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), a global leader in data integration and data integrity, announced today that Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, one of the Japan’s leading life insurance companies, has selected Talend Data Fabric for its data analytics infrastructure.
Sumitomo Life aims to become the most trusted and supported company by its stakeholders, including its customers, and to grow sustainably and stably. Sumitomo Life’s vision is to offer advanced products to enable customers to live vigorously. To respond to that, the company is developing and delivering cutting-edge products that respond to its customers’ current and expected futures needs in areas focusing on nursing care, medical insurance and retirement planning.
“With the trust from our customers as the starting point of all our activities, Sumitomo Life is providing optimal life insurance services to every person through the sound management of the insurance business,” said Mr. Masakazu Ohta, General Manager in Charge of Information System Department at Sumitomo Life. “As a new approach, it was necessary to build a common foundation for big data management, and Talend is the driver. Talend’s superiority in cloud implementation, development productivity, features, and licensing model convinced us to be part of this journey together.”
To meet the needs of its customers and offer them innovative products and services, Sumitomo Life has decided to build a foundation for data analysis (Sumisei Data Platform) in the cloud for the promotion of new insurance products. The company evolved its legacy data environment to the new environment where they can store the data extracted from various systems both on-premises and effectively in the cloud.
In order to meet the needs of each individual customer and provide the best insurance for them, Sumitomo Life uses Talend Data Fabric as the hub of its data infrastructure. This manages data across the organization and integrates data into a data lake, which makes them able to utilize data across the company.
“We have been able to release projects with the continuous support of Talend, even amid the changing business environment in the Covid-19 crisis. We will continue to collaborate with Talend in order to actively promote company-wide data analysis projects,” added Mr. Ohta.
“The insurance market is one of the most competitive sectors. By facing tight regulations and complex customer needs, companies must be at the forefront of innovation to offer even more services and new products to its customers,” said Kenji Tsunoda, Country Manager Japan, at Talend. “Talend helped Sumitomo Life reinvent its data-driven infrastructure to provide a data management platform that enables the development of advanced products for its customers. We are delighted to support Sumitomo Life in the pursuit of their vision.”
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