Ask These 3 Questions to Maintain Customer Trust at Your Financial Services Organization


In financial services, everything comes down to trust.

Your customers trust you with their valuable and private data, and it is your responsibility to ensure that it remains in the right hands at all times.

In order to do that, financial services organizations need to maintain uptime and ensure their IT infrastructure is protected against any nefarious cyber threats. However, many financial services companies do not have IT expertise in house. Small IT departments where personnel are overwhelmed with IT tasks don’t have the bandwidth to predict and thwart incoming threats.

Data breaches, scams, and phishing attacks are no longer obvious — they are sophisticated and complex, often leveraging state-level technology and difficult for even the trained eye to see. As a result, it’s vital for financial services organizations to ensure they are prepared for anything because that’s what their customers expect of them.

Want to make sure your financial services organization can maintain your customers’ trust? Ask yourself these 3 questions.

1. Does your company provide regular IT training about cybersecurity and commonly-used software to your employees?

Your workforce is the first line of defense against cyberattacks. They encounter external emails and systems on a daily basis, and could easily mistakenly click on a link they shouldn’t — opening your systems up to vulnerabilities.

Financial services organizations need to provide regular training to their employees on cybersecurity best practices, password management, bring-your-own-device policies, and more, especially to those employees that work remotely.

Without regular training, employees may let their guard down and fall for a sophisticated cyberattack. This could lead to a data breach — and that’s a major breach of customer trust.

2. Does your company have a CIO or equivalent skillset for strategic planning and business alignment?

It is imperative for financial services organizations to have executive team members that have IT expertise and are tasked with developing IT strategies for short- and long-term execution.

Maintaining uptime, protecting confidential data, increasing productivity, offering responsive support — all of these initiatives require a high-level strategy that takes into account logistical, operational, and financial factors. Not to mention, financial services organizations have to follow complex compliance regulations that extend to how their IT infrastructure is set up and managed.

Just like finance, IT is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” industry. Creating a strategic plan or disaster recovery plan and then not touching it again for six months will mean it is out of date when you need it most. A CIO-level expert on the team can ensure the company is aware of the latest trends, innovations, and threats — and can act on them as needed.

3. Does your company have Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery technologies and procedures to return you to business in case of a critical outage or cyberattack?

What would happen if your customers were not able to access their data for a few hours or even a few days? How much money would you lose? How much money would THEY lose? It’s safe to say they would be shopping around for another financial services institution pretty quickly.

While outages can happen for any reason — such as a natural disaster or security breach — it’s important to have a step-by-step plan in place to reduce downtime and get back up and running as quickly and safely as possible.

A financial services organization’s reputation is key to its success. If customers can’t trust that you will keep their data safe and accessible at all times, they will choose to work with someone else.

Simplify complex IT needs by asking the right questions.

If you answered no or maybe to any of these three questions, you need to take a step back and re-evaluate your IT department.

Download the IT Self Assessment that has 12 essential questions for financial services organizations to help you determine how best to move forward. Maintaining trust, ensuring uptime, and keeping data safe are possible if you have the right expertise on your team.