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Cyber security
breaches in
financial services:
How to reduce risk

Author: Adam Kimmel

The Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) reported over 700 cyber security breaches in financial services in 2020. Internal workers' intentional or accidental actions caused nearly half (44%) of the breaches, and 96% of the breaches were financially motivated. Additionally, 81% of the patterns were either miscellaneous errors, basic web application attacks or social engineering.

These statistics show that cyber security breaches in financial services represent a significant risk. Employees inside your building can pose a risk of creating these data compromises, and financial institutions must be prepared to deal with them. The potential impact from regulatory, legal and reputational damages is enormous.

While it's impossible to prevent 100% of cyber security breaches everywhere, you can minimize damage by reducing the timing gap between detecting a breach and the response.

Cyber security breaches in financial services: Why cyber security is integral to customer experience

Brand integrity is critical to gaining and maintaining customer trust. It's challenging to create but easy to lose. When a security breach occurs, any mishandled data can be weaponized against your brand. As a result, security issues can help compromise the identity you worked so hard to build. Your customers expect your brand to handle their data, regardless of threat risk, securely. In addition, regulatory agencies expect you to adhere to restrictions created to protect user data. Maintaining compliance with cyber security regulations in financial services delivers both brand trust and improved security.

Cyber security regulations in financial services: Closing the gap between breach detection and response

A reactive action plan is helpful, but to help minimize the time between identifying a breach and effective response, you should develop a proactive incident response plan. There are two prongs:

  • What to do to prepare for a breach
  • What to do once an incident occurs to prevent the breach from happening again

The processes and rules put in place for your data analytics program can lead to the automatic notification to a human response team to hunt threats and use appropriate detection methods that emphasize threat intelligence from many sources. They're trained to uncover potential cyber security breaches in financial services early and respond rapidly.

Verizon's incident response service team includes over 300 specialists with more than 15 years of expertise in investigations and threat intelligence. It's flexible enough to integrate with your existing security services while being customizable to fit your needs. In addition, the team analyzes incidents to improve future preparation and employs a validated incident resolution cycle to help resolve the incident.

How an intelligence-driven cyber security program optimizes incident response

Threat intelligence can arm a financial service organization with the insight it needs to optimize its security controls. But threat intelligence may be of limited value if it only draws on the first-hand threat-identification experience of the organization itself.  An external partner, such a managed security services firm, can enrich threat intelligence with insight about new and emerging threats from organizations across the global financial services industry. Such a partner can help an organization recognize threats it has never seen before—and help create an effective defense.

As many cyber security breaches in financial services happen outside working hours, a managed partner should offer round-the-clock support to protect your data. In addition, employing this program in the cloud can offer scalability and flexibility as your business needs change. Finally, operating with a continuous improvement approach that helps ensure the response to each incident may help protect you even more from the next one.

Incorporating a program to help reduce cyber security breaches in financial services enables you to become proactive in responding to a threat. Having a plan in place to address an incident can help to reduce the potential for a breach. In addition, the human-powered threat hunting a managed partner can offer can point you to the areas you need to address immediately.

Learn more about Verizon's solutions to help protect against cyber security breaches in financial services.