Summer is in full swing, and many employees are heading out of the office for their annual summer vacations. However, while employees are taking advantage of the summer months, so are cybercriminals! Cybersecurity attacks continue to increase and are becoming more sophisticated with recent attacks involving extortion, destructive malware, and compromised credentials. An attack on a financial institution resulting in the loss of data can have a devastating effect on the organization’s revenue and reputation. In addition, the amount of time and money needed to resolve these attacks can be significant.
While the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) actually encourages mandatory vacation time for bank employees of all levels, this can be a challenging time for many community institutions that have a small staff and rely on key individuals to ensure their institution is adequately protected. So, what are some key steps financial institutions can take to ensure their organization is protected when key personnel take time off?
- Have a Solid Layered Security Program
Financial institutions should employ a strategy that places many uniquely tailored layers throughout the network. By employing multiple controls, security layers ensure that gaps or weaknesses in one control, or layer of controls, are compensated for by others. This includes scanning your network for threats on a regular basis and ensuring all patches are up to date. Implementing a layered approach to security enables institutions to catch security incidents before they become damaging. The right balance of security layers allows staff to automate security tasks and takes the pressure off one individual managing the entire security program.
- Create a Strong Security Culture and Adequately Train Staff
An important part of combatting cyber attacks is ensuring that all bank and credit union employees are comfortable highlighting security-related issues and will follow the appropriate steps to ensure they get resolved. This means staff must be adequately trained to spot security issues; understand the importance of protecting sensitive information; and recognize the risks of mishandling this data. All employees should know how to report anomalies, mistakes, or any concerns immediately. To effectively execute this, employees must understand what to look for; where key vulnerabilities lie; what steps to take when a security issue arises; and who they should alert.
- Partner With an Industry-Specific IT Security Provider
To help augment security responsibilities and combat cyber-attacks, many community financial institutions are turning to industry-specific IT and security service providers familiar with banking regulations to act as an extension of their organization. These organizations act as true partners and work alongside current staff to provide timely support, and they help the financial institution successfully design and execute a comprehensive security strategy. An IT and security service provider can help automate and control many of the administrative functions that normally fall to the IT security department, making it less daunting for personnel to take time away from the office.
Cybercrime is one of the greatest security challenges and concerns for financial institutions today, and community banks and credit unions cannot be complacent when it comes to protecting themselves and the sensitive information they hold. When the security staff is out or unavailable, outsourcing security processes helps fill the personnel gap and provide added stability for the institution and peace of mind to all.
At Safe Systems we understand the challenges that come with managing security programs and ensuring the network is safe and secure. By making the decision to partner with Safe Systems, your organization will benefit from time-saving automation, an in-depth view of your IT network environment, and additional support in co-managing your IT security operations. We want to provide you with assurance that the institution’s IT network is functioning efficiently, optimally, securely, and is in compliance with industry regulations at all times.