Why The Rise Of Banking Security Breaches Matters For Every Industry

2016-09-29 by Sara Stringer

The banking industry is in a crisis. However, this crisis isn’t related to financial practices or currency. A series of high-profile data breaches have left everyone from investors to executives concerned. Giant institutions like Citigroup and many more have already been victims of savvy hackers. It seems like banks around the world are being targeted each week. Even the system used by banks to send payment instructions, known as SWIFT, has already been hacked three times over the summer.

In addition, the financial institutions that have been targeted are left with millions of dollars in expenses as they try to settle lawsuits, pay fines, and patch up weak security protocols. The aftermath of these attacks has left the public more distrusting of banks than ever before. What's even more troubling is that hacking attempts at financial institutions are expected to rise. The thing to take away from all of this is that no enterprise in any industry can afford to ignore the problem. Every industry is vulnerable when hackers are able to easily breach network defenses and cause damage.  

What Every Business Can Learn from High-Profile Breaches 

While large corporations make the news when they get hacked, these high-profile cases are only a small part of the story. Smaller businesses are also targeted by hackers on a regular basis. On top of this, many breaches aren’t reported. There are some lessons that these companies can take away from the situation. The truth is that a security breach does far more than simply expose information. A company has a lot to lose if a breach is allowed to occur because of relaxed security or oversights in network configurations. When client information is compromised, an enterprise is legally and financially responsible for trying to restore and protect that information. The competence and trustworthiness of a brand is diminished when clients learn that a breach has occurred. Allowing client information to be breached is a sign to the public that a company simply doesn’t care about protecting the people it serves. In addition, there are also some serious legal ramifications if it is revealed that a breach occurred because proper security steps weren’t taken. Any company that deals with patient health records could be in violation of HIPAA laws if information is leaked. Companies in other industries could be held liable when investigated by similar compliance entities. How can a business take steps to avoid becoming the next victim of cyber criminals? Here is a quick checklist to follow when reevaluating your enterprise’s digital security plan:

  • Create a policy against allowing your employees to use company devices for social networking.
  • Train managers and employees to spot red flags and establish protocol for responding.
  • Establish a list of allowable websites and block all others.
  • Train employees on how to avoid becoming victims of social engineering.
  • Bring in a third-party firm to strengthen your defenses via penetration testing.

It Starts With a Plan 

It is important to remember that an enterprise doesn't have to be a global financial institution to have a target on its back. Hackers are looking for any information that can be used to scam victims. This means that both employees and clients are at risk when network security is ineffective. One of the best ways to deter hackers is to exploit your network's vulnerabilities and weak points before they can. This can easily be accomplished with help from a third-party firm that offers network penetration testing. 

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Sara Stringer

Sara is an author who covers a wide spectrum of topics.

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