Navigating the Complex Landscape of Financial Security and Compliance

Navigating the Complex Landscape of Financial Security and Compliance

The financial services sector is currently facing a myriad of challenges that require a delicate balancing act between enhancing customer experience, combating fraud, meeting regulatory requirements, and optimizing operational efficiency. In this ever-evolving landscape, the industry’s traditional approach to security and compliance is being put to the test.


The battle against fraud

One of the foremost challenges in the financial sector is the escalating battle against fraud. As digital channels become increasingly popular, they offer both opportunities and vulnerabilities. While businesses aim to streamline operations and offer more convenient services, cybercriminals are quick to exploit any weaknesses they find.

Financial institutions are constantly looking for ways to reduce fraudulent activities, but these efforts often introduce friction into the customer experience. Additional security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, can make transactions more cumbersome for customers. Striking the right balance between security and user-friendliness is no easy task.


Regulatory compliance

In parallel, regulatory bodies are tightening their grip on the financial industry. New compliance requirements are regularly introduced to safeguard customer data and maintain the integrity of financial systems. While these regulations are essential for protecting consumers and the industry, they can create additional challenges.

Meeting these compliance requirements often demands significant investments in technology and resources. The complexity of adhering to multiple regulations across different regions can be daunting. Financial institutions must remain agile to adapt to these evolving compliance standards while ensuring they do not disrupt their core operations.


Operational efficiency and agility

In the quest for operational efficiency and agility, financial organizations are looking to consolidate their technology stacks and transition to more flexible, cloud-based infrastructures. This move promises cost savings and improved scalability. However, it also introduces new security challenges.

The shift to the cloud requires a reevaluation of security protocols to ensure data remains protected in a shared environment. It also demands robust identity and access management solutions to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.


The role of digital security technology


To navigate these challenges successfully, financial institutions need innovative digital security technology. This technology should not only safeguard customer data but also adapt to evolving threats. A proactive approach to security is crucial.

Equally important is the guidance of experienced partners. Navigating the complex landscape of financial security and compliance requires a deep understanding of industry-specific challenges and regulations. Experienced partners can provide insights and solutions tailored to the unique needs of financial organizations.


A Never-Ending Effort

It’s essential to recognize that financial security and compliance are ongoing efforts. Cybercriminals are persistent, continually searching for vulnerabilities to exploit. While no system can guarantee 100% safety indefinitely, staying one step ahead of these bad actors is possible.

If you need advice and to implement more security in your company, we can help.

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A convergent approach to enterprise security

A convergent approach to enterprise security

Globalization, easy access to information, exponential growth of immigration and society diversity, worldwide political and cultural conflicts, all these phenomenons have impacted the threat paradigm of security that has also been immutably changed by domestic and foreign terrorism.
Everywhere you go, organizations are in the middle of some sort of transformation. Whether it’s modernizing the platforms that have been there forever, trying to launch a data center in the cloud, or trying to manage manufacturing or IoT devices more efficiently, the size and shape of our digital footprint is changing. We no longer just have a “digital network”, or “digital services”, we now have an entire “digital ecosystem” and even that keeps expanding.

There’s no denying that we’re living in a time where the cybersecurity threat landscape is increasingly dynamic and complex. The landscape includes cloud-native environments, Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC), containers, secrets management, remote work

These new technologies and practices logically require security tooling to help address potential vulnerabilities and respond to threats and incidents when they do occur. However, there is a cost associated with the increased tool introduction and use.

Using multiple security applications results in identity sprawl. When a company uses siloed systems to manage its security risks without synchronizing them all, it creates a different identity for each application user. Few applications do not connect with the central server, forcing organizations to manage multiple identities.

Many organizations using cloud services have to suffer through various identity management. Organizations need to resolve identity sprawl issues to strengthen their cybersecurity and maximize security alerts. As every identity requires different credentials and passwords, it is impossible to keep track of them. Therefore, companies use the same passwords and account credentials for every application, pushing them to credential-stuffing.

If a company’s one application is targeted and breached, the attackers will gain access to the rest of the security applications and then sell this information on the dark web. From here, threats snowball, leaving the organization vulnerable to considerable brute force and hybrid attacks.

Product sprawl wastes many resources as the IT teams have to work overboard in software maintenance and individually train every employee to use all security products. It also wastes valuable time finding, opening, navigating, obtaining vital information, and switching between multiple products.

Product sprawl negatively affects individual and team productivity. When the teams have to operate numerous applications, it reduces the opportunity to work together and stay on the same page. Moreover, the transition from existing tools also becomes impossible as it requires training sessions to get them up to speed with every software.

What about Convergence?

We can define Convergence as the identification of security risks and interdependencies between business functions and processes within the Enterprise, and the consequential development of managed business process solutions to address those risks and interdependencies. This definition captures a significant shift from the emphasis on security as a purely functional activity, to security as an “added-value” to the overall mission of business. This is an important starting point because it essentially changes the way the concept of security is positioned within the enterprise.

Future of Security 

Managing the successful convergence of information and operational technology is central to protecting your business and achieving crucial competitive advantage
Identity Governance and Administration is– and to have effective security must be– that common meeting point of many different security disciplines.

To efficiently and effectively draw the security perimeter, it makes more sense to have a single, holistic view of organizational identities where you can determine policy, view posture, enact compliance, and respond to risk.

GRC (Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance) is the future of cyber security. A well-thought GRC strategy improves security objectives by better decision making, information quality, and team collaboration.

A cybersecurity platform makes it easy to transition new employees without extensive training. As the previous cybersecurity system needs to be manually monitored and tracked, GRC has automated firewalls. High-quality antiviruses and firewalls make businesses more secure, catching and destroying viruses before they breach the central data platform.

For organizations that are already worried about their cybersecurity incident response preparation, the accelerated pace of migration to the cloud brings on new and unique challenges. In an attempt to close these security gaps, organizations spend on the latest cybersecurity tools.

Some special accounts, credentials, and secrets allow anyone who gains possession of them to control organization resources, disable security systems, and access vast amounts of sensitive data. Their power can provide unlimited access, so it’s no surprise that internal auditors and compliance regulations set specific controls and reporting requirements for the usage of these credentials. Interconnected IT ecosystems streamline business processes but often obfuscate core risks that need to be identified, analyzed, and monitored to create an enterprise Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) vision. Soffid is is equipped with federation functionalities, privileged account management, low level permits, separation of functions and recertification processes.

Our intelligent analytics continuously monitor for and identify new access risks while providing native connectors with GRC solutions so risk managers can create holistic enterprise risk management strategies.


(2)  Pwc
(3) Deloitte

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The costs of non-Compliance

The costs of non-Compliance

Faced with a range of obstacles, businesses are changing how they approach cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has been a priority for business leaders for many years. Yet, despite investments in security controls, cyber-attacks keep coming.

Failing to meet regulatory compliance standards costs organizations billions every year. Even worse? The financial impacts continue to rise. These costs come from more than just fines and sanctions but actual damage to business disruption and loss of productivity. By taking a continuous approach to compliance requirements, your organization can dodge these monetary bullets and improve information security and data privacy.

Data protection compliance costs less than noncompliance

Smaller companies — with fewer than 5,000 employees — in particular may be hit hard by GDPR requirements and other data compliance hurdles. A new report does the math.
Research has shown that having a CISO can lower the cost of a data breach. But is there an effect on the cost of data protection compliance?
In many industries, the value of data is increasing, and so is the cost of protecting sensitive and confidential information. Regulatory scrutiny of information security is higher in industries such as financial services and healthcare, but that doesn’t mean other companies are off the hook.

Compliance, similar to a robust cybersecurity framework, is a key enabler of business and its absence instills heavy monetary impacts in the case of both on-premise and cloud deployment. What is the cost of compliance? Are organizations saving costs by remaining non-compliant? Understanding this is imperative in the world of modern business where cyberattacks continue to grow sophisticated.

Non-Compliance Cost And Its Repercussions

Several organizations had rationalized the non-compliance cost to be lesser than it is needed for bringing data and technology processes under compliance. However, the impact of non-compliance cost is jaw-dropping compared to the cost of compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, and so on.

Recent years have seen high recommendations for compliance regulations to prevent legal implications, consequences regarding business reputation, and possible fines

It has been witnessed that the demand for audit evidence requests is increasing and organizations, one in six times, are found non-compliant. This has resulted in huge fines when screened by third-party auditors. The majority of organizations believe that compliance becomes a problem while moving systems, infrastructure, and applications to the cloud. They think that challenges come to the fore while dealing with IT security compliance in the cloud.

Often Overlooked Costs

The complete financial costs of a data breach can be hard to quantify. Tangible assets are the easiest piece of the puzzle, but consider other expenses such as lost future business and reputational damage. Intellectual property loss, downtime, and operational impacts affect the daily activities of an organization and render it unproductive. Noncompliance is also a substantial financial factor—breaches often incur attorney’s fees, prosecution, and penalties.

Each data breach accumulates costs related to investigation, response, notifications to regulatory organizations, victim identification, public response, victim outreach, and internal and external communication campaigns. Victims often require compensation, as well.

Take a Proactive Approach

In light of the mounting risks to security and the expenses of a breach, every organization must make risk-aware decisions. The ultimate goal: mitigate risk without addressing every threat or vulnerability

What costs are involved in bringing your organization into compliance?  The following components typically make up compliance costs:

  • Data protection and enforcement – Preventing data leakage and enforcing data usage policies
  • Audits and assessments – Examining and inspecting the current stance of an organization compared to what is required by the compliance framework mandated
  • Policy development – developing internal policies that provide the structure needed to comply with various compliance regulation frameworks
  • Training – Training staff and others involved to carry out needed activities for compliance
  • Certification – certifying your business against various compliance regulations
  • Investment in security solutions and other specialized technologies (data loss prevention, governance, encryption, etc) – Investing in technology solutions that allow more easily bringing your business into compliance with regulation frameworks

To Sum Up

Compliance costs are significantly lower than that of non-compliance and leveraging technology solutions helps reinforce the process further. Holistic approaches are necessary for ensuring data compliance, security, and protection. As key functionalities of businesses evolve, surrounding malware protection, data usage, and backup, and audit applications, a number of AI-driven compliance solutions are coming to the fore. These solutions help shore up compliance programs, thereby avoiding risks and preventing costly repercussions of non-compliance.
While compliance costs are far less than the cost of non-compliance, using technology solutions can help to reduce those costs even further.  Soffid provides a holistic approach to ensuring your data is protected, secure, and compliant.

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Compliance. The state of security

Compliance. The state of security

A compliance audit is a comprehensive review and evaluation of a business or organization’s compliance with a voluntary compliance framework (e.g., SOC 2) or a regulatory requirement (e.g., GDPR). The scope of a compliance audit depends on which framework/regulation the auditor is evaluating against and, for some frameworks, what type of information the organization stores and how they utilize it.

Many companies still do not appreciate the interconnection of security and compliance. Both are often considered cost centers, and that paints a scowl on the face of many Chief Financial Officers. However, there is a different way of looking at compliance (or its negative counterpart, non-compliance).

We can divide compliance into the categories of obvious and not-so-obvious costs.

The obvious costs are easy to understand:

  • Track – Keeping a close watch on the requirements to maintain compliance
  • Mitigate – Correcting any deficiencies
  • Fines – Monetary penalties for compliance failure

Some of the hidden costs include:

  • Additional internal audits – To verify that everything is in order as well as the costs of reworking
  • Business disruption – Due to a regulator lockdown of a business unit or the entire organization,
  • Productivity loss – The time employees need to focus on remediation
  • Brand loss – Due to bad media coverage, and this leads to customer erosion

These costs ensure that your organization is equipped with the correct resources that are required to maintain and confirm there are no compliance slips. The biggest hidden cost, though, is the loss that is not accounted for due to non-standardized operating procedures and a lack of standardized control.

In information technology, this is known as secure configuration management.  An organization may be operating at lower efficiency without being noticed until regulatory compliance audits unravel the cracks in the IT ecosystem. This is the “close to broken” setting mentioned earlier.

Fortunately, the journey to compliance need not be a burdensome task. For example, in the banking industry, digital checking mechanisms enable institutions to track all the risks and ensure compliance by applying the appropriate controls. Comprehensive dashboards are used to ensure that banks can effectively monitor and mitigate compliance issues before they cross into non-compliant territory.

To reduce business risk by ensuring systems are properly configured or hardened to meet with your internal regulatory and legislative compliance standards, Secure Configuration Management is a must.

A secure configuration management tool combines network monitoring and Endpoint Protection methodology to compare monitored systems against an approved configuration baseline or a golden image. Deviation from this baseline, known as test failures, can usually be corrected with little or no human intervention. Secure configuration management is truly a need-to-have based solution.

Secure configuration management offers benefits to organizations, not only from the cost-avoidance standpoint of non-compliance but also from increased organizational efficiency and agility.

It is important to note that while many vulnerabilities are “common,” there is a more critical aspect of maintaining compliance to protect your organization. The largest segments of attack types are targeted. This type of attack means your organization is singled out, and the attacker has a specific interest in your business or your intellectual property.

A targeted attack takes time and planning, sometimes months, to lay the groundwork and prepare. Attackers still use commodity techniques to probe the systems in your organization, looking for the best path to exploit, but their methods are specifically tailored to your infrastructure, your processes and your personnel. The main reason that targeted attacks are effective is because organizations struggle to follow basic security practices and properly institute measurable security policies.

Could you imagine how much less risk your organization would have if you could eliminate 99.99% of attacks?

How Soffid Can Help
Soffid makes compliance to security standard easier with the broadest set of compliance and security policies that accelerate securing your infrastructure and knowing where the weak points are. We update these policies as standards change and allow you to customize the test and assessment results to better meet your individual needs, as you get a giant head-start on your security policy and framework as well as the flexibility to make it your own.

(1) Security Boulevard
(2) Forbes