Cyber Risk Management as a Best Practice: Benefits to Financial Firms

According to BitSight,  the financial services industry is a high-value target for threat actors. Firms in this sector are 300 times more likely to be targeted by a cyberattack and over 50% of these companies are at heightened risk of becoming a victim of ransomware. In another statistic, the financial sector was the most attacked in 2022 by DDoS attacks. This is far from surprising, as cybercriminals tend to gravitate toward money, and there’s a lot of it in the financial sector. 

Cyberattacks can have major ramifications on financial firms. Sensitive data can get lost in the dark web along with consumer trust and competitive edge. Moreover, headline-making lawsuits, legal investigations, and compliance violation penalties may result in turning off potential investors.

In an increasingly interconnected world, the digitization of financial services has revolutionized the way we conduct transactions, manage investments, and protect our assets. However, this digital transformation has also brought about a growing threat landscape, with cybercriminals relentlessly targeting financial institutions and their customers. The need for robust cyber risk management has never been more critical.

This blog delves into the benefits of cybersecurity performance management, focusing particularly on its significance for financial firms. By proactively addressing risks and implementing comprehensive cybersecurity risk management strategies, financial institutions can safeguard their operations, protect their reputation, and instill trust in their customers. Join us as we explore how cyber risk management enables financial firms to navigate the digital landscape with confidence and resilience.

Cyber Risk Management as a Best Practice: Benefits to Financial Firms

Key Benefits of Cyber Risk Management for Financial Firms

Protecting Critical Assets

Financial firms are entrusted with vast amounts of sensitive data, including customer information, financial transactions, and intellectual property. Cyber risk management ensures the implementation of robust security measures to safeguard these critical assets from unauthorized access, data breaches, and fraudulent activities.

Safeguarding Business Continuity

Any disruption to financial services can have severe consequences, both for institutions and their customers. Risk management techniques in cyber security enable firms to identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities, enhance operational resilience, and ensure the delivery of uninterrupted services, even in the face of supply chain issues or cyber attacks.

Regulatory Compliance

Financial firms operate in a highly regulated environment, with stringent requirements imposed by regulatory bodies. Effective cyber risk management enables compliance with industry-specific regulations and standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). By adhering to these regulations, financial institutions not only avoid penalties but also foster trust and credibility among their clients.

Enhancing Customer Trust

In an era where data breaches and cyber incidents frequently make headlines, customers are increasingly concerned about the security of their financial information. Implementing robust cyber risk management practices demonstrates a commitment to customer protection and privacy, fostering trust and loyalty among clients who rely on financial institutions to keep their assets and personal data secure.

Mitigating Reputational Risk

The reputation of financial firms is a critical asset that can be irreparably damaged in the event of a cybersecurity incident. Cyber risk mitigation strategies minimize reputational risks by proactively identifying vulnerabilities, addressing security gaps, and promptly responding to cyber incidents. By protecting their reputation, financial institutions can maintain stakeholder confidence, attract new clients, and sustain long-term success.

Competitive Advantage

Cyber risk management is not only about mitigating threats but also about seizing opportunities. By demonstrating a proactive and robust approach to cybersecurity, financial firms differentiate themselves in the market, gaining a competitive edge over peers that may lag behind in terms of cybersecurity readiness. Clients are more likely to choose a financial institution that prioritizes security and demonstrates a commitment to protecting their interests.

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Financial Sector Subject to Strict Security Requirements

Financial services organizations are more strictly regulated than almost all other commercial sectors and are required to show strong security, compliance, and governance measures. The protection of data, identities, devices, and applications must also abide by compliance guidelines established by federal bodies like the CFTC, FINRA, FFIEC, and the SEC. Sweeping legislation like Europe’s GDPR and the U.S.’s narrower-focused Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the GLBA, and the Dodd-Frank Act must also be followed by financial institutions.

In addition, given the current climate of rising security awareness, insider risk concerns, and public data, customers expect their financial institutions to provide them with high levels of security in order to be able to trust them with their personal data and banking assets.

Best Practices for Risk Management

When it comes to cyber risk management for financial firms, implementing robust best practices is essential to ensure effective protection against cyber threats. Here are some key practices to consider:

Select a Cybersecurity Framework

Establish a comprehensive cybersecurity framework that aligns with industry standards and regulatory requirements. Examples include the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, ISO 27001, or the FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment Tool. This framework should serve as a foundation for designing, implementing, and continuously improving cybersecurity controls.

Conduct Regular Risk Assessments

Perform regular risk assessments to identify, assess, and prioritize cybersecurity risks specific to your financial institution. Understand the threats, vulnerabilities, and potential impacts to critical assets. This will help you allocate resources effectively and focus on the most significant risks.

Implement a Layered Defense Strategy

Adopt a multi-layered defense approach that combines preventive, detective, and responsive controls. This may include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, endpoint protection, data encryption, strong authentication mechanisms, and security monitoring tools. Implement security measures in depth to protect against various attack vectors.

Establish Strong Access Controls

Enforce robust access controls to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive systems and data. Implement strong password policies, multi-factor authentication, and user access management processes. Regularly review and revoke access rights as needed, especially for employees who change roles or leave the organization.

Employee Training and Awareness

Invest in cybersecurity training and awareness programs for all employees. Educate them about phishing, social engineering, password hygiene, and other common attack vectors. Encourage a security-conscious culture where employees understand their roles and responsibilities in protecting sensitive information.

Incident Response Planning

Develop an incident response plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a cyber incident. Clearly define roles and responsibilities, establish communication channels, and conduct regular drills to test the effectiveness of the plan. Prompt and coordinated response is critical to minimize the impact of cyber incidents.

Regularly Patch and Update Systems

Stay up to date with security patches and updates for all software and systems in use. Regularly apply patches to address known vulnerabilities and ensure that systems are protected against the latest threats. Consider implementing automated patch management processes to streamline this activity.

Data Protection and Encryption

Implement robust data protection measures, including encryption of sensitive data at rest and in transit. Utilize encryption technologies to secure data on endpoints, servers, and during transmission. Implement data loss prevention (DLP) mechanisms to detect and prevent unauthorized data exfiltration.

Vendor Risk Management

Assess and monitor the cybersecurity posture of third-party vendors and partners. Ensure they adhere to robust security practices and have adequate controls in place to protect shared data and systems. Consider contractual agreements that include cybersecurity requirements and incident response obligations.

Continuous Monitoring and Testing

Implement continuous monitoring and security testing to detect and respond to evolving threats. Conduct regular vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and security audits. Monitor network traffic, system logs, and security events to identify anomalies and potential indicators of compromise.

Engage Cybersecurity Experts

Consider partnering with external cybersecurity experts who can provide specialized knowledge, conduct audits, and offer guidance on emerging threats and best practices. Their expertise can augment your internal cybersecurity capabilities and provide a fresh perspective.

How Centraleyes Helps Financial Firms Navigate Risks

In the digital age, cyber risk management is imperative for financial firms to protect critical assets, ensure business continuity, and enhance customer trust. Adopting an automated, integrated risk and compliance management platform like Centraleyes will put you in a better position to proactively manage cyber risks, navigate the complex threat landscape, comply with regulatory requirements, and maintain a strong reputation in the industry. 

Centraleyes enables teams to easily create and define frameworks to fit their specific needs and run regular assessments for continuous monitoring. Our one-of-a-kind smart mapping features let you share duplicate controls across frameworks, allowing for a quicker, less redundant, automated compliance process.

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

Looking to learn more about Cyber Risk Management Financial Firms?
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