What are the main cybersecurity challenges the BSFI sector faces?

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Cybersecurity is important no matter what industry you're in, but there's something about financial services that seems to really add weight to it. On one hand, as people, we tend to be much more protective over money. On the other, there's the knowledge that financial services and banking are becoming increasingly digital. With that, we face the worrying reality that the attack surface area is increasing too.

The banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector is an obvious target for attackers. However, malicious actors can walk away with more than just money. The sheer volume of data held by companies in the BFSI arena makes the sector all-the-more exciting for attackers.

Thus, it goes without saying that BFSI organisations often have robust cybersecurity measures in place. However, as fintech evolves, so does the calibre and complexity of threats. Not only are existing threats becoming more sophisticated, but new ones are also entering the BFSI horizon.

The price of new technologies

We live in an exciting age for innovation, but unfortunately, this can come as quite the cost for BFSI. Take artificial intelligence (AI), for example. AI has demonstrable potential across a number of industries and can boost cybersecurity, no doubt. However, it could also pave the way for a new generation of AI-driven cyber attacks.

Sadly, organisations can only fight what they know, and BFSI is no exception to that rule. While organisations often sport the best possible cybersecurity, there is no knowing what AI-driven attacks are coming over the hill until they hit. In turn, organisations should exercise enterprise-wide vigilance and as good visibility as possible, on top of the solutions they already have in place.

Customer demands

What's more, customers continue to expect and demand features from their banking apps. These apps have overtaken in-store visits in popularity, necessitating that these demands be met. However, delivering these attractive elements can lead to compromised security. Because customer demands are constant, so are the updates and different versions of the app. The more you tweak, the higher your chances are of a glitch or flaw in the app's security.

Unfortunately, malicious actors can take advantage of even the most minute cybersecurity gap and create significant damage. Thus, organisations must strike the right balance between meeting evolving expectations and not compromising their security. However, it's important to remember that customers can forgive slightly outdated interfaces – they can't forgive personal data leakage or financial theft.

Third parties

Third parties can also create problems for BFSI. As BFSI businesses often have unforgiving cybersecurity measures, malicious actors may look outside of it for a way in. In particular, they latch onto third-party vendors for an entry point. Of course, BFSI organisations cannot take chances, as it'll cost them not only millions in money, but millions in customers too. Thus, such businesses must extend their cybersecurity measures through third-party risk management.

While third-party risk management sounds difficult to manoeuvre, there are, thankfully, some fantastic solutions on the market, many of which zero in on automation for some added oomph. The solution by BitSight Technologies is a perfect example of what organisations need. This offering helps businesses act quickly through immediately notifying them of risks within the supply chain.

Furthermore, it enables organisations to collaborate efforts with their third-party vendors to reduce cyber risk quickly by sharing BitSight Security Ratings with critical third parties. Organisations should also consider platforms like BitSight to guide them through prioritisation. In particular, it enables businesses to target resources at vendors with the highest level of risk.

Why not check out our Ask the Expert with Ben Lorica at O'Reilly Media about  the implications of AI on privacy and ethics?