Cybersecurity is an increasing concern for all businesses, but financial firms are being guided to take extra precautions as attacks escalate. In 2020, up to two-thirds of financial services firms suffered a cyberattack and nearly half have seen a rise in attempted attacks since the pandemic began.
The cost of a breach can cripple a financial firm quickly as the need for reporting, outside counsel, forensic discovery, credit monitoring requirements, and more mount. And smaller financial organizations — those with 500 to 1,000 employees— saw costs skyrocket to $3,533 per employee. And that doesn’t include the cost of lost business and a damaged reputation.
To help you avoid this costly scenario, we have put together a quick primer to help you get the cybersecurity you need to stay protected.
The Top Cybersecurity Threats to Financial Organizations
Since financial firms have access to a large amount of personal and sensitive information that allows them to work effectively for their clients, they are a primary target for cybercriminals. Small companies, as noted above, are at higher risk, primarily because they spend less on cybersecurity, have access to client information, and can even act as a gateway to more enticing targets.
Currently, the three main cyberthreats facing financial firms are:
- Ransomware and Malware
Ransom- and malware can take over your networks, computers, and files and begin encrypting them to keep you from gaining access, often in the space of hours or days. At that time, hackers may either expose the data, use the data for their own purposes, or issue a ransom demand your company must pay before your information will be made available to you again.
Phishing schemes are a vehicle by which hackers deliver malware or ransomware to your network. Often found in innocent or official-looking emails as an attachment or click-through link, phishing emails are designed to get your employees to open them and deploy the malware.
- Outright Data Theft
Some cybercriminals are not interested in negotiation — instead, they simply break in, steal your data outright, and use it for other black hat operations.
Regardless of how they strike, hackers can adversely impact your bottom line. To defend against them, you need to take proactive measures.
A Proactive Framework for Cybersecurity for Financial Firms
The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) has outlined a set of steps financial firms can take to enhance their cybersecurity and reduce risk of successful attacks.
First, firms must review current practices, including supply chain risk management, risk assessment frameworks, and current governance practices.
Then, firms should find opportunities to educate staff about the prominent threat vectors and what must happen to keep information protected. A good backup regime that includes multiple backup strategies should be deployed — and it should include an off-site copy that can be removed from the network in case of infection.
And, as duties are segregated within a firm, so should access to data be segregated —physically, virtually, and practically.
Firms should centralize cybersecurity operations and enhance security opportunities using partnerships. Managed services providers can design a comprehensive cybersecurity program that includes access control, remote monitoring, and other tools to foster awareness of network activities without the cost of hiring in-house IT professionals.
A Disaster Recovery Plan, including incident response plan, should be developed and practiced to ensure your firm can respond swiftly in the event of a breach.
While these steps may seem easy, staying ahead of evolving threats can quickly become complex, particularly for firms without in-house IT assistance.
Let Perry proTECH Design a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Plan for Your Firm
At Perry proTECH, we understand how difficult it can be for smaller enterprises to get the kind of protection needed to remain safe from increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats. Our team of cybersecurity professionals can help you craft a strong and resilient protection program that meets you need, challenges, and budget.
From cloud-based backups that keep your data at your fingertips, even during a breach, to access control and remote monitoring, our team can help your team stay in front of evolving threats. And we will be with you every step of the way, helping prepare a Disaster Recovery Plan, offering assistance with employee training, and providing cutting-edge maintenance for your network to keep you updated with the latest security patches.
Don’t put your company — or your clients — at risk. Contact a Perry proTECH consultant and partner with us for cybersecurity you can count on, regardless of the size of your firm.