Maintaining Cybersecurity in Financial Services

The technology landscape in the financial services sector is evolving at a breakneck pace — both for those who work in the industry and those who are looking to threaten it. A key challenge in financial services is that many organizations do not have enough internal IT expertise. They are working with a small IT department that does not have the bandwidth to explore cybersecurity threats — leaving them under-protected and vulnerable.

However, taking cybersecurity seriously is more than just a part of good business practice. It is deeply connected to the compliance requirements of the industry. In financial services, companies have large amounts of personal data from their customers — names, addresses, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other vital information — that need to be safeguarded.

For your financial services organization to run smoothly, both compliance and security are critical. While compliance ensures that your organization stays within the bounds of industry or government laws/regulations, security ensures that your organization’s integrity and vital data are secure.

Benefits of making compliance a priority

Global cybersecurity spending increased from nearly $40 billion in 2019 to $54 billion in 2021.1 It’s clear that organizations across the world are feeling the potential threats closing in, and are willing to amp up their security posture in order to withstand any possible attacks. However, adding to your online security budget isn’t the only way to keep your organization safe. By focusing on maintaining compliance, financial services organizations can protect their — and their customers’ — data. The benefits of prioritizing compliance are clear:

Encourages trust
Customers trust businesses like yours with their personal information, but unfortunately, personally identifiable information (PII) gets exposed in around 80% of security breaches.2 One security breach has the potential to destroy customers’ trust and your business’s reputation. By following all regulatory standards you demonstrate that your organization cares about its customers and wants to protect sensitive data.

Improves security posture
Regulatory compliance establishes a consistent baseline of minimum security requirements. Experienced IT professionals know that maintaining compliance requires constant vigilance — which includes audits, updates, monitoring, and more. When prioritizing compliance, your IT security posture is never static. It is always being improved by your IT team.

Reduces loss
Data breaches are less likely when security is improved. The cost of data loss can skyrocket when you factor in lost revenue, restoration costs, legal penalties, and compensation. Cost is not only measured in dollars. If your financial services organization suffers a security breach, the damage to your reputation can take years — even decades — to recover.

Increases control
When organizations focus on security, there is a higher priority on updating, auditing, and maintaining data integrity. This can help prevent data loss/corruption and reduce the amount of time spent fighting cyberattacks. As a result, organizations move against the “set it and forget it” mentality which is often prevalent in many companies. Instead, they work towards having full insight and control into their entire tech stack, ensuring they can keep up with any security threat.

Financial services compliance regulations that affect your IT infrastructure

As you know, there are countless compliance regulations within the financial services industry. Some are more closely related to your cybersecurity efforts than others. Having an IT team that has the knowledge and experience working within compliance regulations ensures that all your bases are covered — now and in the future. Pay special attention to these regulations:

  • The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is an information security standard aimed at reducing payment card fraud for organizations that deal with branded payment cards. The scope of this regulation goes beyond the financial industry.
  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) requires secure storage and management of electronic financial records. Comprehensive backup of data and access controls are a necessity.3
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) regulates private financial information, specifically customer data. It also oversees information-sharing practices.
  • In Japan, the Act on the Protection of Personal Information (APPI) regulates the commercial usage of personal data.
  • The EU’s Payment Services Directive (PSD2) governs data transfer during end-to-end payments.
  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs any data online within the EU.
Take control of your organization’s cybersecurity

Upgrading the compliance and security posture of your financial services organization is no longer an option but rather a necessity. However, it takes significant time and effort. Data breaches, ransomware scams, and phishing attacks can not only threaten the security of your data — they can take down your IT infrastructure for hours or even days. You know that uptime is money and productivity is required to maintain a competitive edge — but you can’t do it without an expert IT team on your side.

At JPMerc, we offer managed services, IT security services, and a full outsourced IT department for financial services organizations. Our expertise and knowledge can take a considerable load off your shoulders as you factor compliance into your organization’s cybersecurity posture. With us, you gain more than an IT provider; you gain much-needed IT expertise for your organization with a focus on compliance and cybersecurity.

Learn more about how we work with financial services organizations.