What’s The Importance of Security Awareness in the Financial Industry?

financial servicesThe financial industry is one of the most highly scrutinized sectors in the world, and it is also one of the most vulnerable and targeted ones in the digital underworld. The sensitive information that moves through financial institutions is essential to modern life and quite valuable to hackers.

Financiers take the highest cost per breach of any industry at $18.3 million per company, according to Accenture. The loss of goodwill can hardly be measured. What’s the importance of security awareness in the financial industry? The importance is that no company can afford to be without it.

Understanding the (Ultra-Connected) Landscape

Financial institutions are hit 300X more than businesses in other industries. Island hopping and waterhole attacks, among others, have caused 67% of finance companies to experience increased cyber attacks year over year. Do the companies in your supply chain know what a “waterhole attack” or an “island hopping attack” is? If not, no amount of internal security will protect a company. Financial institutions are more connected than ever, and cybercryme perpetrators can find their way into an enterprise system through tunnels from other companies.

Understanding the Consequences of Failure

Millennials trust tech over traditional banks across the world. Financial institutions are under extreme levels of scrutiny from the general public and from regulators. Failing to implement proper security can mean millions of dollars in losses from lost customers and fines from FINRA, the SEC and other regulatory bodies. Because financial companies are often held legally responsible when the sensitive personal information of clients is stolen, punishments can rack up very quickly. Security awareness, no matter how expensive, is certainly less expensive than this.

Employee Training

Relevant security awareness training for employees, particularly when it comes to cybersecurity, must take into account the connected nature of the financial industry. Management must facilitate the infrastructure and the connection between companies, but employees must take it upon themselves to learn the new job skills that are relevant in any position. Training must be more than a “set it and forget it” one-time morning meeting. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to breach security systems. Security awareness means understanding that the standard for security is always rising.

Turning Awareness into Efficiency

If any industry understands the language of investment, it should be the financial industry. The business of finance is not security – it is making loans and building business. As a result, the more efficient security awareness becomes, the more time a financial institution has to spend on its core competencies. Using modern training techniques helps a company maximize business results while reducing costs and improving morale. Awareness is only the first step. Efficiency measured in security vs. labor hours is the only real way to ensure optimal improvements.

Financial institutions have huge opportunities with the tech connecting the world to underbanked populations and money moving faster than ever. The cybersecurity of these institutions must keep pace with the opportunities, however. Security awareness is step one, and it is a step that must be continuously monitored and upgraded to fit the times.

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