By Paul Holland, CEO and Founder of Beyond Encryption

Organizations in the financial services industry face a huge challenge in ensuring the security of their data. As the amount of information these companies keep increases, it becomes increasingly difficult to secure it effectively. According to IBM, the financial sector on average has the second highest cost resulting from data breaches, with around $5.72 million (£4.68) spent on detection, response and disruption resulting in loss of business. activity.

Cybersecurity has become a critical sector that businesses are focusing more on globally. For financial services, where highly sensitive data is regularly shared and stored, the implementation and development of dedicated cybersecurity systems is crucial. Many financial services organizations have paid close attention to digital communications, taking steps to ensure that any information shared internally or externally is completely secure.

Establish secure communication

Protecting stored data and digital communications from attack requires a holistic approach. The three main aspects that any digital communication strategy requires are:

Strong encryption

A technique of locking down the content of the communication and making it unreadable to any third party who intercepts the communication. This solution guarantees that only the intended recipient, having the necessary decryption key, will be able to decrypt the mail and then read its contents. End-to-end encryption ensures that emails are secure at rest, as well as in transit.

The risks of not encrypting digital communications are endless. According to a report by the Ponemon Institute, organizations can save $1.4m (£1.15) on average for each attack, by implementing a strong encryption solution on all online communications.

Resilient authentication

As digital ID technology has evolved, organizations have had access to a vast collection of software with which they can authorize users. Knowledge-based authentication, two-factor authentication, and biometric identification are just some of the solutions available.

Digital authentication is the foundation that strengthens the modern digital economy. Being able to reliably identify users ensures that organizations build trust with their consumers, with increased reliability improving customer experience and, therefore, increasing conversion rates. With 66% of organizations believing they could not recover from a data breach, there is no doubt that companies should increase their investments in cybersecurity that protects their users.

Safe and secure data storage

In 2020, cyberattacks against financial institutions exposed an average of 352,771 sensitive files. According to Verizon, 85% of these breaches were due to human error. Employees who regularly interact with secure data pose a serious threat to an organization’s cybersecurity when they have not been sufficiently trained in the aspects of maintaining proper cyber health. Not only should employees be trained in managing and sharing secure information, but also in crisis management and dealing with the consequences of a breach.

To address human error in cybersecurity, organizations must first understand that people are a company’s most important asset. When equipped with the right tools, knowledge, and training, employees’ ability to protect data from a cyberattack is powerful.

Major security breaches are inevitable and can be devastating to a company’s reputation and bottom line. Consumers need to be able to trust that their finances and personal information are safe and secure. Cybersecurity is one of the most critical challenges facing financial institutions today.

The bottom line

Data security must be at the center of every technology decision made by organizations in the financial services industry. However, accessibility is key to ensuring user engagement. Organizations should consider implementing an IT strategy with a strong security foundation and an adaptable infrastructure that can constantly transform and evolve with the ever-changing cybercrime landscape.

Encryption is fundamental to cybersecurity. It must be adopted alongside regulation of digital communication systems and employee training to mitigate the impact of future threats. Keeping employees informed and prioritizing ongoing development in this space is one of the most important tools an organization can implement to stay ahead of emerging cyber threats. In an increasingly digital world, cybersecurity is no longer just a “nice to have”, it’s a “must have”, and financial services organizations need to be compliant, reliable and secure all throughout the customer experience.

Stephen V. Lee