Cybersecurity is a critical element for all businesses, but especially financial institutions. Hackers are after the highly valuable PII stored in their systems and used for lucrative cybercrimes. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your financial institution from cybersecurity breaches.
Take Inventory of Your Devices
Your financial institution’s IT systems are its lifeline and must be protected from cybercriminals. Without a comprehensive cybersecurity plan, you may be one of the leading targets for cyber attack and may lose access to sensitive customer information or your entire computer system. This is why you must identify the devices connected to your network.
This includes computers that store sensitive data, electronic cash registers, branch office computers, inventory scanners, and cell phones. Hackers can transfer data to their systems once they access your device. You may not even be aware that they have installed malware. The thieves can use this information to steal credit card numbers and other personal data. Taking an inventory of your devices can help prevent this.
Network inventory tools can scan devices on your network and present a report of their hardware details, software, and open ports. The tool can also detect if the device is unprotected or has anti-virus protection installed. It’s essential to update the inventory regularly and keep it up-to-date.
Restrict Access to Sensitive Data
Financial institutions are especially vulnerable to data breaches due to their large amount of personal information. They are, therefore, high-value targets to threat actors, who may demand a ransom for the data or sell it on the black market. To protect your company, ensure only those employees can access sensitive information.
You can improve your security by limiting access to specific files and forcing employees to use multi-factor or two-factor authentication before viewing sensitive documents. Another essential tool is encryption. Encryption is another vital tool. A solid incident response strategy is necessary. It will also help to preserve trust in the institution and prevent liability from consumers and insurance providers.
It will also allow for more effective and efficient cybersecurity strategies to help prevent attacks. This should include assessing the current threat models, risk assessments, and cyber hygiene.
Backup Your Data
Financial institutions must take additional measures to protect customer data and comply with regulatory laws. This can be done by regularly backing up data. It will reduce the impact of cyberattacks that may result in data breaches. Once hackers gain access to your device, they can steal or alter data and transfer it onto their system.
You may not even be aware that malware is installed. The thieves can use this information to steal credit card numbers and other personal data. It is essential to back up all critical data, including word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, human resources files, accounts payable/accounts receivable, and financial files.
Backing up your data regularly can make your company less vulnerable to ransomware attacks that encrypt files, making them inaccessible. Backing up your data on multiple devices and storing one copy offsite is a good practice. Breaches in the financial sector are especially damaging because they can cause a loss of consumer trust and damage reputations.
Businesses need to bolster their cybersecurity protections to ensure they don’t fall victim to a data breach that could cost them big. Taking precautions like restricting access to sensitive information, regularly backing up your data, and monitoring suspicious activity can help businesses protect themselves from cyberattacks.
Monitor Your Network for Suspicious Activity
In a world where technology is constantly changing and expanding the attack surface, it’s virtually inevitable that security incidents will occur. As a result, it’s essential to be ready for when they do by having a cyber incident response plan in place. Once the immediate danger has been mitigated, a team should be set up to monitor your network for signs of a data breach.
Some of the most common indicators include strange changes in user access (i.e., access at odd times or from remote locations), discrepancies between a user’s device and the files they’re using, and configuration changes to the files on your system.
Another thing to remember is that internal and external factors can initiate a cyberattack. Employee negligence is a leading cause of breaches, from lost devices to poor password choices. It’s, therefore, vital to prioritize ongoing training and education for your employees on cyber risk and security.
Train Your Employees
Financial institutions are an attractive target for hackers because of the valuable PII they collect from customers. You must train your employees to protect your financial institution from cybersecurity breaches. Start by educating them about the most common threats, such as social engineering, online fraud, and phishing. Please ensure they know the importance of keeping company information safe by requiring them to back up all devices used for work.
Also, communicate that they may be personally responsible for data loss if their device is unsecured. In addition to training employees, reviewing and updating your technology policies is essential. Adding stricter permission settings, implementing an employee handbook incorporating best practices, and bringing in outside experts to help with cyber protection can all be beneficial. Contact an employment and cyber attorney to discuss incorporating these safeguards into your financial institution’s policy.