Importance of identity-based connectivity within the financial industry

06 September 2022

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The financial industry is experiencing an increase in cyber threats and cybersecurity protocols. Banks across the globe must understand how to provide network security for their organizations. Ultimately, financial institutions will need to look to more secure network solutions to keep cyber attacks at bay and protect sensitive data, assets and information.

As cyber threats increase and cybersecurity protocols evolve within the financial industry, it is crucial that security professionals prioritize protection of their organizations’ network and applications. According to IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in the financial sector in 2021 was $5.72 million, with costs expected to rise this year. As banks move away from legacy systems toward digital transformation, now is the perfect time for them to adopt more advanced security solutions to help combat the influx of cyber threats and ensure their assets are protected.

Turning to identity-based access

Identifying the risks posed by working with third-party vendors is a crucial first step companies in the financial sector can take to safeguard themselves from cyberattacks. For instance, if a vendor with access to a bank’s internal network is breached by a cyber criminal, there is no telling how much of the bank’s network the attacker can access through the compromised vendor. Making matters even worse, many attackers who infiltrate a third-party vendor also leave behind backdoors that allow them to return at a later time without being challenged by cybersecurity protections.

But despite the serious security risks, third-party vendors cannot simply be blocked from corporate systems. Third-parties form an essential component of the day-to-day operations within financial services, and banks cannot conduct their business without them. The best step financial firms can take is to adopt a security framework that is founded on identity-based access, a model often called zero trust. This security approach empowers banks to verify access and track movement within their networks and to remain secure even if their third-party vendors are compromised.

The zero trust framework ensures users are granted only the bare minimum access to the information and resources required to fulfill their roles, helping to prevent information from falling into the wrong hands. Strong authorization methods, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), form a critical piece of identity-based access and allow banks to limit third-party accessibility without compromising the ability of vendors to provide their valued services.

In addition to more vigorously controlling access, select zero trust access solutions empower banks to mitigate third-party risk by actively supervising and recording a vendor’s actions on permitted applications. With all activity recorded and available for real-time auditing, security professionals and business owners are able to monitor vendor access requests and maintain full visibility into what’s happening inside their networks.

As cyber criminals become more advanced and employ tactics that are harder to defend against, financial institutions must adopt modern solutions that both decrease the risk of breaches and limit the damage of incidents that do occur. Cybersecurity has been a growing priority within the financial industry for many years, but today’s digital landscape makes it more critical than ever that security professionals take action to protect the organizations’ assets. By incorporating the zero trust framework into their very infrastructure, financial institutions can more effectively combat attacks. The zero trust security model will reduce the risk of infiltration of outside threat actors while allowing third-party collaboration to thrive and maintaining a positive user experience for customers.