29 August 2023

Mitigate data breaches in the financial sector​

Financial service providers face increasingly complex data security challenges on a daily basis. Data breaches pose a serious threat to both financial institutions and their clients, and the consequences of a breach can be devastating, not just financially. Therefore, it is crucial for financial service providers to implement robust IT security measures to prevent data leaks. But what mitigating measures can be taken to reduce the likelihood of a data leak?

A solid IT infrastructure and data security

It all starts with your IT infrastructure. Identify your vulnerabilities and ensure a thorough risk assessment and security planning. An experienced IT provider can assist you in identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the infrastructure. This can involve activities such as penetration testing, red teaming and security audits. Based on this, a detailed security plan can be developed tailored to the specific needs and risks of the financial service provider.

Once the infrastructure is securely in place, the next stage is to look at the data. Financial service providers deal with highly sensitive data such as personal information and financial data where data security is crucial. It is important to focus on implementing strong encryption algorithms and managing encryption keys to keep this data secure, both during storage and transmission.

"An experienced IT provider can assist you in identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the infrastructure."

Shift left security and patching are crucial

With both infrastructure and data secured, room for innovation emerges. The financial sector is in the midst of transitioning to banking 2.0. This brings a new range of banking services to the market, driven by technological advancements such as blockchain, AI, NFC, and cloud transformation. This has significant implications for financial institutions and the digital financial ecosystem. 

During this phase, numerous new applications are being developedand each new application in an ecosystem brings new security risks. Shift-left security is a godsend here. This concept integrates security from the beginning of the development process. By identifying vulnerabilities early and automating security testing, shift-left security helps prevent data breaches by reducing potential security risks in software. An IT provider can support organisations in implementing shift-left security through automated security tests, training developers in security awarenessand collaborating with DevSecOps and CI/CD during the development phase. CI/CD is essential in agile software development, accelerating the creation of customer-centric software by continuously releasing code improvements and new components once they meet quality requirements.

The combination of shift-left security and patching forms a powerful strategy to prevent data breaches. By integrating security from the outset, potential vulnerabilities in the software can be identified and addressed early on. This allows developers to include security updates and patches in the software before deployment.

Fortunately, financial organisations are also recognising the importance of effective patch management. According to the 2023 Solvinity Security Survey, patching postponement due to concerns over business continuity decreased from 37.8% in 2020to 16.7% in 2023.

Certainly, there is more to protecting financial data, but it begins with a securely established foundation in infrastructure and processes. To provide a secure and trusted environment for customers and their own organisation, financial institutions must continue investing. With advanced security solutions from IT service providers, they can mitigate risks and focus on enhancing and expanding their portfolio. Ensuring adequate system and data security is an ongoing process, as hackers will also continue investing find vulnerabilities.

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