With more and more financial transactions taking place digitally and billions of customer data records being generated every second of every day, investing in a robust cybersecurity solution is no longer a nice to have. It’s a must-have. In the financial sector, in particular, businesses hold masses of customer data that if exposed could pose unprecedented fraud and identity risks. The results of which are bad for business and could lead to heavy fines. They could also have a catastrophic impact on your customers.

Protecting Customer Data

Cyberattacks are on the rise and becoming ever more sophisticated. Keeping systems up to date and investing in the latest software to keep your business and your customers safe is vital to protecting yourself and them.

New legislation called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in Europe in May 2018, which set even stricter guidelines for the collection, processing, and storage of customer data. This had a big impact on many businesses who simply hadn’t put any kind of processes in place to deal with this new legislation. The result was that just days after GDPR came into place, businesses were already in trouble.  

One of the main stand-out points from GDPR was the focus on data breaches. Businesses could receive huge fines if customer data was exposed or stolen in a cyberattack. According to the ICO, fines can be anywhere up to 20 million EUR or 4% of worldwide annual turnover. It’s clear that with fines like these, investing in cybersecurity should be at the forefront of business strategy. 

Attacks on Financial Institutions

It’s no surprise that financial institutions are the main target for cybercriminals. They have always been at high risk of crime and the modern approach is to conduct criminal activity online. Online shopping, online banking, and contactless cards are all vulnerable to criminal activity, so processes and systems must be put in place to protect them.

One shocking statistic shows that in the first half of 2018 alone, criminals were able to gain access to £503m from UK financial institutions using authorized and non-authorized fraudulent activity. This money was stolen through in a mix of different methods, including people being tricked into sending money to another account and criminals redirecting customers to fake websites where they steal card information.

Planning and Implementing Cybersecurity

Choosing a new plan and solution will take time, but it’s worth sweating the small stuff. Reading up on new technologies and understanding what types of software protect what systems will ensure you choose an appropriate solution. Information on mcafee.com says that modern systems include technology such as machine learning and automated blocking processes, which help to reduce the manual aspect of cybersecurity such as blocking IP’s. 

Creating a cybersecurity plan is not something that should be the task of one department alone. Cybersecurity is the responsibility of the whole business and needs to be considered at board level right down to individual departments, so they can assess the impact it will have on them. There’s never been a better time to review what you have in place and make improvements.