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Financial Institutions, The Prime Target for Data Breaches: 10 Preventive Steps

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In recent years, industries across the globe have seen a major increase in data breach cases. Increased reliance on digital data have had a significant impact on the growing prevalence of cybercrime in the modern age. The increase in digital adoption has revolutionized the way businesses are conducted. However, most organizations are still not utilizing the proper security tools to protect the data stored in digital format and thus, they are suffering from data breaches.

What is a Data Breach?

A data breach is the intentional or unintentional release of secure or private/confidential information to an untrusted environment. It can be intentional or accidental and occurs without the knowledge or authorization of the data owner. It exposes sensitive information (personal, financial, health, intellectual property) such as bank account details, debit/credit card details, passwords or emails containing critical data.

Data Breaches in Financial Institutions

As per the 2019 Financial Breach Report by Bitglass, 6% of all breaches in 2019 were suffered by financial services firms. However, these breaches compromised significantly more records than those that occurred in other industries. In total, more than 60% of all leaked records in 2019 were exposed by financial services organizations.

The impact of data breaches in the financial institutions far exceeds that of all other industries combined mainly due to the sensitive nature of the data being stored. In addition to the financial damage, the loss or theft of essential financial information can damage a firm’s reputation, lose the trust of clients and lead to a significant reduction in employee productivity.

Also Read: Cybersecurity Post COVID-19: How to Ensure Safe Return to Work?

What Are the Common Causes of Data Breach?

Data breaches are hard to prevent, one can prepare by knowing what are the root causes. Here are the most common ones:

  • Lost or Stolen Devices
  • An Insider (Accidental or Malicious)
  • Weak and Stolen Credentials
  • Hacking and Malware
  • Application Vulnerabilities

How to prevent data breaches?

With the threat of data breaches looming large, financial institutions need to invest more in cybersecurity. Here are the top 10 steps that can help to prevent data breaches to a great extent.

  1. Use data breach detection and data monitoring tools
  2. Conduct periodic awareness training sessions for employees
  3. Enable high-grade encryption for sensitive data
  4. Implement robust BYOD security policies
  5. Restrict downloads and external transfer of data
  6. Protect every computer and mobile device with anti-virus
  7. Activate malware monitoring and protection
  8. Periodically monitor system access
  9. Comply with the GDPR and/or other concerned data privacy laws and regulations
  10. Enforce strong password policy along with multi-factor authentication

What next?

The cyber security landscape is continuously changing with hackers finding new ways to access information. Financial institutions will continue to be a primary target for hackers. Your customers trust you to safeguard their private information. A data breach heavily shakes a customer’s trust and loss of trust can means business is taken elsewhere. Thus, you must make it a top priority. While a cyberattack cannot be fully prevented, the risk can be minimized significantly by taking proactive measures and fostering a culture of continuous security awareness.

Our managed cybersecurity services ensure that your customer data is protected with the very latest cyber security solutions. Contact us today to know how our team of experts can help you to beef up your cybersecurity.

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