Globally, there is a transformative shift in the way the financial services sector operates today. Increasing consumer expectations and customer mobility have necessitated financial institutions to move beyond the traditional ‘brick & mortar’ type of business to a modern digital-driven service model. As part of this shift, banks are increasingly adopting new technologies and moving to cloud-first architectures.
Digital Transformation Introduces Bigger Security Risks
The financial services sector has always been a prime target for threat actors. It’s where the money is! But with digital transformation, the attack surface has expanded dramatically. Security vulnerabilities emerging from increased complexity in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments are tempting threat actors to mine the wealth of financial and customer data now accessible on the Internet.
According to 2022 reports, ransomware, phishing, web application and vulnerability exploitation attacks, denial of service (DoS) attacks, insider threats, and attack campaigns of nation-state and state-sponsored threat actors are some of the most prevalent threats that financial institutions face today. As threats grow more sophisticated, financial institutions have the responsibility of stepping up security systems and cyber-resilience to ensure strong security and compliance postures.
There Is A Greater Focus on Data Privacy
In the wake of increasing cyberattacks worldwide, data privacy is taking center stage in the regulatory world. Financial institutions collect and process large amounts of personally identifiable information (PII), such as names, addresses, emails, contact, and social security numbers, as well as financial information, such as debit/credit card numbers and transaction information. To safeguard the privacy and security of this information, regulators have a close watch on financial institutions to ensure they are implementing the right security controls that can:
- Ensure the security and confidentiality of information
- Protect the integrity of customer records
- Protect data from unauthorized access that could result in substantial harm to the customer
Cost Implications of Breaches and Non-Compliance Are Too High
The financial services sector is heavily governed by regulations, such as the global PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (in the US), and the EU’s overarching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that aim to protect customer data from getting leaked and misused.
Given the high risks involved, any privacy infringement can invoke huge financial penalties from these regulators. A banking regulator fined US bank, Capital One $80 million in August 2020 “for failing to adequately identify and manage cyber risk,” which resulted in a massive data breach in 2019. In December 2021, Capital One agreed to pay a whopping $190 million to settle the class-action lawsuit that customers filed for a massive breach of its cloud computing systems and data theft. Clearly, non-compliance and data breaches can severely impact your bank and its reputation.
How Can Financial Institutions Keep Up with Security and Compliance?
To secure sensitive data and comply with evolving data privacy regulations, financial institutions must take an integrated approach to data governance and protection—one that can balance privacy, security, and productivity. One of the effective ways of achieving this balance is to optimize and manage PKI (Public Key Infrastructure).
Public Key Infrastructure is based on cryptography and has been the backbone of security in the online world for many years now. There are two key attributes of PKI that play a vital role in protecting data both at rest and in transit:
PKI helps verify the identity of every network entity before providing network access. By using digital identity as the measure of trust, financial institutions can provide secure access to assets regardless of where they are—on-premises or in the cloud. As opposed to the perimeter-based defense, PKI helps decentralize security and creates identity-based micro perimeters around assets, building stronger individual defenses. In doing so, PKI helps prevent unauthorized access and mitigates vendor supply chain risks to a great extent. Using PKI-based authentication also helps enhance the user experience. As the authentication process involves no manual effort, user productivity is not impacted.
PKI helps protect the confidentiality and integrity of data, both at rest and in transit, by encrypting data transactions and preventing malicious actors from intercepting it. Encryption especially helps prevent man-in-the-middle attacks that are often hard to detect. Encryption is one of the best security practices financial institutions can adopt to comply with evolving regulations and avoid penalties.
With its powerful combination of authentication and encryption, PKI helps financial organizations strengthen the security of their infrastructure and create a safe environment for digital communications and financial transactions. This helps organizations better comply with data privacy regulations and build customer trust.
Modern, automated PKI and certificate lifecycle management solutions available today can enable financial institutions to discover certificates and their corresponding assets in hybrid environments, build complete visibility, and monitor certificates efficiently and effectively for outages and breaches. They can help scan the network in real-time and alert security personnel of potential risks and vulnerabilities. More importantly, they can help securely store and manage encryption keys to ensure regulatory compliance.
While financial institutions do use PKI certificates for website and device security, there are also a broad number of enterprise security use cases that provide additional protection. From digitally signing emails to securing web applications,devices and software, PKI can be applied across several fronts to deliver more robust security today.
Choose Better Security for a Secure Future
As the financial services industry pivots towards customer-centric digital solutions to better serve its customer and grow revenue in a competitive market, new threat vectors will inevitably emerge. PKI-based authentication and encryption can serve as an effective method to mitigate these threats and protect the privacy and security of customer data. As the regulatory landscape grows more complex, encrypting communications can help avoid data breaches and regulatory sanctions. Also, with customers becoming more cognizant of cyber risk, PKI-based digital security can serve as a competitive differentiator for financial institutions as they pursue new growth opportunities.
AppViewX Can Help!
As you embark on your journey towards digital transformation, make sure you build a robust and efficient certificate management system to mitigate security risks and stay ahead of the game.
Want to know how AppViewX can help?
You can also download this case study to learn how a Slovakian commercial bank eliminated outages and saved compliance costs with AppViewX certificate lifecycle automation.