Cybersecurity is so important that every October, the United States Government devotes a whole month to raising awareness with the hashtag #BeCyberSmart. This October, it’s important to consider the steps your firm should take to avoid common cybersecurity pitfalls.
Operating in an environment where people are still working remotely and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future, where sensitive data is being processed on potentially unsafe networks like your employees’ homes, cafes, and other shared workspaces, and where access to data may involve sharing and printing on personal equipment, many compliance departments should amend their risk appetite to reflect the new world of remote work.
The impact on customer experience, reputation, integrity, and resilience are some of the more immediate reasons to take cybersecurity seriously, and the longer-term impact of regulatory fines, censure, and customer restitution should be front and center as well. The spaces in which we work may continue to evolve, but there are actionable steps you can take today to mitigate cybersecurity risk.
Key Cybersecurity Factors to Consider
- How many attacks are deflected?
- How many attacks become breaches?
- How many breaches create outages?
- How long do systems stay offline?
- How quickly can normal services resume?
In addition to these, regulatory factors and impact reporting should be taken into account, and each organization will need to quantify the reputational and financial impact of each cybersecurity incident accordingly.
Of course, organizations want to reduce the time spent reacting to and reporting incidents, therefore a greater emphasis on infrastructure investment and systems risk assessment should be undertaken. Some of the cybersecurity initiatives recommended are:
- Root and branch risk assessment of all Cloud IaaS platforms: A clear understanding of the providers’ own resiliency will help when constructing your own plans.
- Mapping of all internal and third-party systems’ architecture and dependencies: Complex organizations across multiple sites (and WFH/BYOD environments) may quickly lose track of suppliers and interdependencies. Consider how your company’s procurement professionals will keep you abreast of supplier M&A activity to ensure your go-to points are maintained.
- Cataloging and phased replacement of all legacy hardware and operating systems: All firms should know where their hardware risks are greatest and take appropriate action to disconnect vulnerable hardware and patch/update software as required.
- Taking a risk-based view of recruitment, training, and retention: Ensure that budgets are available to maintain and reward the best performers in the workforce, and that employees are educated on cybersecurity best practices.
- Deploying tech to drive an intelligent view of the entire network infrastructure: Knowing where vulnerabilities exist allows for highly responsive and effective interventions, preventing breaches and loss.
Cybersecurity risks will continue to take precedence. Fortunately, technology, software, and AI are driving change in financial services. While successfully implementing RegTech is often an intricate process that involves navigating dependencies, budget provision, and required deliverables, given the amount of risks in this uncertain world, it’s more important than ever to have reliable systems and processes in place.