In our increasingly digital world, cybersecurity has become a prominent issue for both service providers and their clients. This is particularly the case in the finance industry, where millions of financial transactions involving sensitive data are conducted daily. Understanding and implementing best practices for mitigating cybersecurity threats are crucial to keeping your organization, employees and customers safe.
Properly protecting confidential data from cyberattacks requires a strong, intelligence-driven and risk-based security program that is backed by executive leadership and investments. This program should include incident response plans that must be tested regularly. Consider the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, which has been broadly adopted across industries. Once in place, the program must be reviewed frequently and updated accordingly.
A reliable network and system, along with computer security, is essential to protecting the confidentiality and integrity of information being processed, transmitted and retained. Anti-malware and anti-virus software should be installed on servers and workstations. This software, as well as any programs downloaded on your workstations, should be centrally managed and updated daily. Network and firewall monitoring is also key to detecting threats and preventing intrusions. Make sure your security program includes regular vulnerability assessments, penetration testing and patching protocols.
Additionally, organizations that house and transfer confidential consumer data are responsible for the security of their data transfer processes. Using multiple dedicated and encrypted networks that are actively monitored for bandwidth usage can help ensure file transfers are completed securely and effectively.
Controlling and monitoring user access to sensitive systems and data is vital to maintaining a secure environment. Keep access limited to only those who require it for essential job functions, and maintain stringent password requirements that meet industry standards. Strengthening the authentication required to use company email accounts, systems and software programs on personal devices (i.e., mobile phones, iPads, personal laptops, etc.) is particularly important as new technologies and devices are introduced. Continually monitoring user activity of everyone with access to sensitive data helps to proactively identify any suspicious or unsafe actions.
Physical security is also a key component to safeguarding sensitive data. It’s important for employees at all levels within an organization to engage in practices that keep physical environments and facilities secure. Utilize a key card system to ensure only authorized personnel have access to buildings and workstations, and establish company-wide policies to prevent piggybacking and unauthorized entry. Instruct employees on how to properly secure their workstations when they are away from their desks, including locking their desktop access and keeping sensitive data out of sight. The use of surveillance cameras and security guards provide additional security for higher-risk locations, such as data centers.
Criminals who carry out cyberattacks are always looking for new ways to gain access to sensitive information, and they target both individuals and organizations alike. In order to properly protect your company and employees from cyber threats, it’s important to train all employees to combat cyberattacks. Demonstrated executive-level support for enterprise-wide security initiatives, such as cybersecurity awareness training, can also help you create a secure environment throughout all levels of your organization.
Cybersecurity is a major area of concern for both businesses and individuals. Constant communication and transparency around your cybersecurity practices will help ensure your stakeholders feel comfortable. By engaging in these practices, your company can heighten your protection from cyber threats and gain a reputation as a safe and secure organization.
Learn more about cybersecurity in Cybercrisis management: Are you ready to respond?