When you’re running a financial institution, your cyber security efforts are critical to your productivity levels, reputation, and bottom line. But how do you know if you’re doing enough to protect your bank from cyber threats? Ideally, you should assess the health of your cybersecurity plan on a regular basis by working through these questions.
1. Are Your Cyber Security Efforts Proactive?
Effective cyber security measures don’t wait for attacks to occur. They take a proactive approach. Do you have tools that secure your organization from cyber intrusions? Do you have policies in place so you can minimize damage if a breach occurs? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, you need to improve your cyber security strategy.
2. Do You have a Business Continuity Plan?
If you fall victim to a cyber-attack, you need a business continuity and recovery plan. When assessing the health of your cyber security efforts, look at how you plan to deal with the aftermath of an attack.
What safeguards do you have in place so you can continue serving your customers and dealing with core banking activities? How do you plan to alert affected customers?
The way you deal with a cyber-attack can affect your reputation as much as the attack itself. Banks with a well-tested business continuity plan also tend to incur less costs in the aftermath of an attack than businesses without them.
3. Are Senior Leaders Involved With Cyber Security?
Effective cybersecurity policies cannot just be the domain of your IT team. Your entire organization needs to support your cybersecurity efforts. Your top executives, board of directors, and managers must understand the importance of cyber security. They often control how much spending gets devoted to these essentials.
They should also have a firm grasp on the basics of your cyber security policy and the role they play in protecting your financial institution. Phishing emails in particular tend to target bank managers or executives. If they aren’t aware of the risks, they may fall prey to these attacks.
Senior leaders also set an example for other employees. To increase compliance across the board, your management team should commit to using cyber security tools and deploying best practices.
4. Do Your Cyber Security Efforts Mirror Your Brand Identity?
The health of your cyber security affects nearly every aspect of your business. Effective policies should mirror your financial institution’s brand identity. For example, a bank or credit union may bill itself as responsible and trustworthy to customers. Its cybersecurity efforts need to support those core values.
5. What Is Your Cyber Security Maturity Level?
Take some time to look at the maturity level of your financial institution’s cyber security efforts. Once you identify your maturity level, develop a plan to get to the next level. Most financial institutions fall into one of the following maturity categories:
- Partial — You typically deal with cyber threats in a reactive manner, cleaning up attacks rather than focusing on preventing them. You may have a piecemeal approach to cyber security. You haven’t formalized your risk management practices throughout your organization.
- Informed — Your management team has approved cyber security risk management practices. However, you have not established these practices as policies throughout every level of your institution. You’re well informed about cyber threats, but you need to do more to minimize the risks.
- Repetitive — Your risk management practices are policies. You have tools and processes in place to protect your institution from cyber threats. You also have a plan to deal with attacks if they occur. However, you use static cybersecurity methods. You aren’t actively pursuing new ways to handle changing threats.
- Adaptive — The most mature cybersecurity policies are adaptive. They rely on dynamic tools and processes that safeguard against existing threats. However, they also work to detect and protect against emerging threats.
Once you get to the top level of cyber security maturity, you never stop. Your financial institution continues to use lessons learned to adapt policies and practices to enhance protection.
Financial firms face an average of 2,000 cyber-attacks every minute. To protect yourself and your customers, you need an adaptive cybersecurity strategy. At SQN Banking Systems, we assess the health of your cybersecurity, identify the best tools for your needs, and help minimize the threat of a cyberattack. To learn more, contact us today.