Can we afford to lose the master key of our bank locker? We are always over-cautious about the security of our financial assets. Similarly, in the digitalization era, we are controlling our virtual money through mobile banking, internet banking, UPI and more. The changing consumer behaviour has forced the financial institutions to overhaul their IT infrastructure.
In the digital era, modern financial institutions must adopt innovative IT mechanisms and security in order to ward off data threats. More importantly, access to Privileged accounts, gateway to confidential information, must be robust to mitigate malicious insider activities and anomalous third-party threats.
Why are Financial Institutions targeted?
Financial institutions like banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies among other financial entities are prone to data breaches. There is a continuous threat to this sector such as financial losses arising from breaches, regulatory penalties along with damage to reputation.
The IT infrastructure vastness and the extent of data sensitivity of this industry have always lured cyber criminals to target this industry for years.
Financial institutions process, store, and transfer business-critical information and private customer records every day and every hour. This huge and endless process of data accumulation keeps organizations piling on their ‘responsibility to protect data’ every single day. Once compromised, these PII (Personally Identifiable Information) claims a comparatively higher price on the dark web. Thus, this industry is more susceptible to breaches.
What are the consequences?
A couple of years back, an Indian nationalized bank suffered an embarrassing IT security breach where the hackers siphoned off almost Rs. 95 crore. The organization has overcome the loss gradually, but the scar of being in the news for the wrong reasons never fades away. Once organizations face such a cyber catastrophe, the victim might face years of:
- Financial Stress
- Legal Liabilities
- Compliance Penalties
- Faceloss/ Reputation loss
- Fear of disloyalty from customers
- No more proactive investors
- Stakeholders lack of trust
- Longer revamp of IT security policies
Why is it a challenge for financial institutions?
Our research suggests that cyber attacks against the financial sector increased almost 250% globally between the last two years, with some 80% of financial institutions reporting an increase in cyberattacks during the pandemic. Hence, the severity of cyber vulnerability in the financial sector is quite alarming. There are several reasons behind these whooping figures, but the major among them are
- More Third-party Service Providers – With the increasing business operations, the IT expansion goes without control and organizations face the challenge of monitoring and controlling all end-users in the network periphery.
- Adoption of Cloud Infrastructure – Financial organizations are migrating their data centers and overall IT infrastructure on the IaaS platform for more convenience. However, it invites complex security challenges to ponder over.
- Lack of Control of Privileged Identities – Too many privilege elevations pose higher risk in a vast IT ecosystem. It results in lack of control and monitoring of the privileged tasks and eventually invites cyber anomalies.
- Equal Importance to all Regulatory Compliances – Multiple global regulatory standards help organizations to maintain end-to-end security in their IT infrastructure, though many times organizations fail to follow the mandates and invite non-compliance penalties.
- Lack of Zero Trust Security framework – With the advent of both remote and on-prem work conditions, financial institutions need to have Zero Trust security policy to ensure every access to the critical applications/ systems is verified and tested. Without this framework, proactive security control is not possible.
So, how can we overcome the challenges? What is the solution?
Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution is the best bet
A robust Privilege Access Management solution as ARCON | PAM secures all privileged accounts of financial organizations and helps to protect the information assets proactively. The seamless controlling and monitoring of every privileged access happening in the servers at a granular level limits the moves of a cyber criminal and lowers the chances of security breach.
The solution offers a centralized engine to govern privileged users where role and rule-based authorization policy, controls and monitors privileged users.
For IT efficiencies, financial organizations adopt cloud services, although the risks also multiply. ARCON | PAM offers adequate and relevant safeguards when it comes to securing financial assets on the cloud and even on hybrid cloud. The solution creates a robust security shield around privileged accounts in the IaaS environment to prevent illegitimate access and prevent data breach incidents. It reinforces stringent IT security controls by providing a digital password vault, adaptive authentication and dashboard for cloud identity governance.
In order to manage all the privileged accounts in a financial institution, role and rule-base access is a must. The primary threat always comes from compromised insiders. If business critical applications are accessed without role and rule-based privileges, just-in-time privilege elevation, and revoking privileges after the task is over, then obviously a malicious insider can misuse or abuse sensitive information and wreak havoc. ARCON PAM offers all critical capabilities such as Just-in-time Privileges to target systems, Privileged Elevation and Delegation Management (PEDM), and Granular controls to ensure access is limited and only on ‘need-to-know’ and ‘need-to-do’ basis.
Financial institutions have to stay compliant to multiple global regulatory standards like EU GDPR, PCI DSS, SWIFT CSCF. As a result, it is always wise to deploy a reliable Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution that helps the organizations to follow the mandates by default and evade chances of any non-compliance penalties.
Lastly, Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) has become the benchmark of a robust security infrastructure in modern enterprises. Financial organizations worldwide are facing increased demand for virtual modes of money management. Most of them are striving to ensure seamless and secure remote access across their IT environment, ARCON | PAM offers best security assurance to the risk assessment team by enabling the ZTNA security framework in the overall IT ecosystem.
Today, IT security teams of the financial sector demand solutions that are more proactive rather than reactive. ARCON | Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution offers a proactive approach to secure privileged access to target systems.