The cyber security revolution: why staying safe is so vital for your business and finances
12th Sep 2019
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Staying safe online is important no matter what industry you might find yourself in. According to one study from McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, cybercrime claims nearly 1% of all the world’s GDP – which, when understood in terms of its effects on individual businesses, is clearly a key threat. When you work in an industry as sensitive as finance, it quickly becomes even more important to ensure that your security architecture is fixed and in place. What are the exact threats to your cyber security as a modern finance firm or team, and how can they best be mitigated?
Changes to tech
On the whole, technological innovations are usually good things when it comes to cyber security. Anyone who has ever signed into an online banking app will have been through the standard process of signing in with a fingerprint, for example – a sign-up system that, from a safety point of view, is incontrovertibly better than using a phone call or other similar system. However, technology, like all things, has its downsides. Real-time payment settling is a boon for businesses looking to cut down on wasted time – but for a fraudster, faster turnaround times inevitably mean that there’s less time to authenticate some transactions.
Gone are the days when an organisation’s finance leader was the only person with access to the company’s bank accounts – and the days when going down to the bank and meeting with a designated staff member was the only way to access funds are also now out. In the modern age, finance teams are big and complex – and apps, online banking and more mean that there’s inevitably more vulnerability. That’s why productivity and data software that helps you keep track of who has logged into what system and what actions have been taken is vitally important.
It can happen to you
Ultimately, one of the reasons why cyber security is sadly so necessary is because it is a universal vulnerability – and the attitude that your particular firm is immune is a real weakness. Customers of financial services providers in the UK made a collective £500m in just one six-month phase recently – that’s a large figure, and one that your firm could easily be included in if you don’t invest in secure finance software. Complacency, then, is in some ways the largest threat of them all. As this video from cyber security expert Ed Thornbury shows, a password of eight characters can often be cracked in just five hours:
Cyber security should be a vital part of the risk management strategy of all sorts of organisations. For a finance leader looking to protect the financial resources of a client or an organisation for which you work, it’s even more important that you are on the ball when it comes to safety. We recently shared that £22,700 is the annual average cost for businesses that have lost data or assets after a breach. From the new threats posed by technology to the problems of changing workplace structures, there are plenty of reasons to keep yourself as motivated as possible to stay safe.