Information security compliance in the banking Industry
Regulatory compliance is the process of following laws, rules, and regulations that are pre-specified for organizations as per industry standards, trends, and demands. Among all industries, the banking industry is said to be the most sensitive and vulnerable in terms of cybersecurity. Any data breach or malicious activity has long-term ramifications.
Massive digitization in the banking industry has resulted in efficiency and convenience for both banking organizations and customers in the recent past. But what about security and compliance after the IT infrastructure transition?
A strong and well-defined compliance culture ensures adherence to fair information security practices, manages conflicts of interest, and treats customer data fairly. Thus, compliance policies go beyond what is legal and embrace broader standards of integrity and a code of conduct. Although most of these standards come from external requirements, the organization’s internal rules, IT policies, and business procedures need to work according to the policy standards.
What do the RBI guidelines say?
The RBI (Reserve Bank of India) has provided a set of stringent cyber security guidelines to help both government-authorized banks and privately-run banks mitigate IT threats that linger every day. RBI officials have done ample R&D to collect evidence, feedback, and opinions from various banks (including financial institutions) to identify security risk areas and prepare guidelines to secure the IT security infrastructure of the banks. As per the circular, RBI has also added that the IT operations team and the IT security team have to be two separate entities so that the IT security infrastructure receives better management.
As per the latest released compliance guidelines, RBI demands the below for an overall IT security framework.
- End-to-end protection of customer data
- Advanced real-time threat detection
- User access control & management
- Vulnerability assessment and Seamless monitoring of user activities
- Extra focus on extended network in Shared environment
The context behind access management challenges
The risk management team in banking organizations spends sleepless nights to ensure the end-to-end security of multiple data centers and the privileged accounts that are spread across shared IT environments. A single misuse of privileged identity can impact critical banking assets and bring downtime to the entire IT infrastructure. The challenge becomes more intense as parts of the operations are managed and controlled at the back end. Moreover, if the privileged accounts are shared among many end users, then how crucial would it be to ensure real-time threat analysis of every activity? In the context of digitalization, the current IT ecosystem is more vulnerable to threats.
Currently, there are no clear guidelines for banking organizations that want to adopt cloud computing. As a result, banking organizations are reluctant to migrate IT workloads to on-cloud environments. However, sooner rather than later, when the RBI does come out with a set of guidelines, many access management challenges will arise, like the segregation of end users’ roles, policies to manage users, and managing and revoking the rights of over privileged users, among others.
Why is Privileged Access Management significant?
Regarding the challenges as discussed above, here are the IT security loopholes that lead to catastrophic incidents in banks.
- Lack of IT governance framework
- Poor real-time monitoring of the end-users
- Inadequate or no user authentication mechanism
- Poor password management or vaulting of passwords
- Absence of reporting and audit of the privileged activities
ARCON’s Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution helps organizations mitigate malicious insiders and third-party threats proactively. It ensures that the IT risk and compliance management teams can have the best privileged access management practices to build the foundation of a robust identity and access control framework. This solution with high scalability provides a secure gateway that ensures role and rule-based access to target systems.
ARCON | PAM seamlessly monitors each and every privileged session in real-time, and the admin can keep an eye on the live sessions to find anything anomalous. It helps them take immediate and necessary action. The overall access mechanism is based strictly on ‘need-to-know’ and ‘need-to-do’ principles, even at a granular level. To validate the users based on their roles, ARCON | PAM offers Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), which authenticates users and seamlessly integrates with third-party authorization tools. Moreover, the Password Vault frequently randomizes and changes passwords to create a crucial security layer.
Lastly, the Audit Trails feature helps banks stay audit and compliance-ready, as ARCON | PAM provides a detailed report of every privileged session in both text and video formats.
How does ARCON | PAM help banking organizations to comply with the RBI mandates?
As said earlier, here is the reason why Indian banks chooses ARCON | PAM over the rest:
- End-to-end protection of customers’ data: ARCON | PAM allows or restricts commands based on server, group, or users and controls the permissions for commands fired by users based on the roles and responsibilities. Hence, unauthorized access is prevented in real-time.
- Advanced real-time threat detection: Real-time session monitoring of ARCON | PAM helps the IT administrators to keep an oversight on all privileged activities
- User access control & management: The password vault of ARCON | PAM automates randomization and generation of dynamic privileged passwords regularly and offers MFA (multi-factor authorization) to ensure secure access to applications, databases, and cloud resources. Granular access control and command filtering capabilities helps banks to implement ‘need-to-know’ and ‘need-to-do’ principles.
- Vulnerability assessment and Seamless monitoring of user activities: ARCON | PAM reinforces banking security infrastructure with real-time threat analytics to spot suspicious activities and prevent data breach incidents. Centralized administration and monitoring ensures that every access to the logs are captured both in video and text formats for audit trails.
- Extra focus on extended network in Shared environment: The solution manages and governs all privileged identities in a bank’s IT environment. Role and rule-based access ensures that every privileged identity is authorized and validated.
The RBI has issued the above compliance guidelines to make sure that every Indian bank is compliant with the regulatory standards. However, cyber incidents do occur, and the victim banks end up repenting for their non-compliance. ARCON | PAM solution, once deployed, helps banks follow the RBI guidelines and stay away from data loss, non-compliance penalties, and other legal consequences.