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Data has become the lifeblood of the financial services industry. From managing transaction details and providing real-time account and trading information to automating risk management processes, forecasting, and fraud detection, data is integral and the most important resource to protect.
A recent study by Deloitte found that financial firms spent an average of 10% of their IT budget on cybersecurity and that CISOs rank keeping up with rapid IT changes and rising complexities in tech systems as top challenges, regardless of company size or maturity level.
Despite this, most financial firms are not sufficiently protected, lacking secure data encryption both at rest and in motion. Many fail to take full advantage of digital identity across all enterprise use cases. Financial institutions leveraging emerging business models dependent on the Internet of Things (IoT) are not recognizing the significant security risk represented by connected devices. Given the insurance, banking, and brokerage sectors’ growing reliance on data and the increasing digitization of financial services, now more than ever financial institutions must continually fortify their security capabilities and eliminate potential vulnerabilities to stay ahead of threats.
Threats Come from Many Directions
Any device, system, or organization that holds or transmits sensitive financial or customer information is at risk. Threats, which can originate from both internal and external sources, now run the gamut from malware and credit/debit card theft to phishing attempts, Business Email Compromise (BEC), ransomware-based extortion, and large-scale data breaches.
The consequences are far-reaching, as the Equifax data breach in 2017 made clear. The breach compromised the personally identifiable information of nearly 150 million consumers, exposing them to identity theft and other potentially serious consequences. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Equifax had installed a tool to inspect network traffic for evidence of malicious activity, but an expired certificate prevented that tool from working correctly. As a result, cyber criminals were able to launch attacks and gather sensitive consumer information without being detected for 76 days. News of the breach led to federal investigations and a nationwide consumer class-action lawsuit, which the company is now reportedly paying $700 million to resolve.
One-Stop Digital Privacy, Identity, and Security
So, how can the financial services sector ensure security, privacy, and integrity of data? The answer: Public-Key Encryption (PKI), the gold standard in digital privacy, identity, and security. PKI offers an excellent security foundation for every device, server, user, and application in the enterprise, whether on-premise or on the cloud. Encrypting data at rest and in transit guards it against theft or tampering, and guarantees that digital identity provides secure authentication of users and applications to protect against fraud.
While nearly every financial services firm has incorporated PKI into its web and device security in some way, not all are fully or appropriately leveraging the power of PKI. Too often, organizations are overwhelmed when it comes to managing security certificates and secret keys throughout the enterprise, as it is complex and difficult to issue, manage, and revoke/renew/replace certificates and keys numbering in the thousands or even tens of thousands. Simply think of the magnitude of the Secure Shell (SSH) keys floating around in your enterprise that you may not even be aware of.
Many financial institutions are failing to see the broad range of digital assets and use cases that can be protected by PKI. Outside of using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) PKI certificates to protect public-facing websites, enterprise PKI solutions can address the large-scale requirements for financial institutions with enterprise SSL, private PKI, zero-touch S/MIME email encryption, code signing, and document signing.
There are at least five ways PKI protects and secures financial services data:
Given the consequences of failing to protect data, banks, insurers, and other financial institutions should leverage the powerful capabilities of PKI to protect against increasingly sophisticated threats and avoid costly attacks. With enterprise PKI solutions, the financial sector can future-proof security, protecting customer information, gaining a greater peace of mind, and maximizing the value of data.
To learn more about Sectigo’s PKI products for financial institutions, click here.