Survey reveals imminent threat in financial services security
July 23, 2014

Banks have been in the spotlight amid increasing concerns related to cybercrime, identity theft, access management and general data security, especially as financial information appears to be some of the favorite targets of the average hacker. Although it might not be quite as sensitive as medical records, trade secrets or defense data, financial accounts can be easily used to steal a tremendous amount of money in a relatively short period of time. 

Considering the opportunistic nature of cybercriminals, as they seek to attack the low-hanging fruit the vast majority of the time, it is not surprising that financial data has become such a commodity for these individuals. Financial services firms have faced an uphill battle to get their identity and access management strategies in order, especially as the sector has recently pushed such novel and diverse technologies into their customer-facing initiatives. 

Still, experts continue to be concerned about the sanctity of consumer financial information, as well as banks' ability to protect that data from the threats that abound on the Internet today. 

New survey, same results
The Economic Times recently reported that professional services firm KPMG conducted a large-scale survey to accurately gauge the state of security and risk in the financial services sector, while the results were less than desirable. The new provider pointed out that 58 percent of respondents believed that the financial services sector was in fact the most likely to fall victim to breaches and loss, while nearly 70 percent of banks appeared to be allocating less than 20 percent of their IT budgets toward the right investments. 

This has been a common thread for more than a year now, in that experts believe that the massive increases in IT security spending have not worked to the betterment of protection because of poorly placed resources. 

"With rise in the cybercrime, businesses are increasingly facing impacts not only on the financial front but also irreversible damage to their brands and market reputations," KPMG's head of the Risk Consulting Practice, Mritunjay Kapur, affirmed, according to the source. "As a result of this growing threat, there is a significant need for corporations to recognize cyber threats and craft cyber response plans. KPMG has released the cybercrime survey report, with a view of providing insights to senior level management/board of Directors and guidance to policy makers on various aspects of managing cybercrime."

The Economic Times noted that the respondents included 170 chief information officers, chief information security officers and other IT decision-makers. 

Get it together
Financial services firms have an increased responsibility to protect data from hackers and cybercrime at large, especially if they hope to maintain a strong brand stature in the eyes of their current and prospective clientele. Without more advanced identity and access management controls, banks will likely continue to struggle to get a handle on their information governance strategies. 

Many banks have already started to use dynamic authentication tools to modernize their security strategies, and this trend will hopefully accelerate in the near future.