How to Protect Financial Data: 4 Cyber Risks MSPs Can't Ignore

Contributed by: Meaghan Moraes, Blog and Social Media Manager at Continuum

Banks have always been a prime target for cybercriminals. With enormous stores of cash and consumer data, and the massive threat of financial losses, regulatory consequences, and reputational damage, there’s really no choice for financial institutions but to innovate and accelerate their cybersecurity strategies.

Although banks and credit unions are monitored closely, with quarterly or semi-annual audits performed by government regulators, security doesn’t stop there. Many small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in finance work with a managed IT services provider (MSP) and rely on their cybersecurity tools, education, and continuous protection.

Below, we’ll cover four vulnerabilities MSPs should be hyper-aware of in 2019 so they can better secure their clients’ financial data.

Mobile Vulnerability

As consumers have less and less cash on hand, banks are becoming more mobile-accessible to easily and instantly enable payments and transfers. While convenience is at an all-time high, so is cyber risk for financial institutions.

In a recent study on the cybersecurity of 30 major banking apps, all 30 had at least one known security risk identified, and 25% of them included at least one “high-risk security flaw.” Their vulnerabilities included insecure data storage, insecure authentication, and code tampering.

While mobile banking is now the way of the world, it’s important that MSPs hone in on their clients’ mobile security, as well as the mobile security of the end user.

Web-Based Vulnerability

According to a recent report that named the financial sector the “most vulnerable to attack” of all the industries tested, web-based banking applications have also been shown to lack effective security. Researchers found that every financial site they tested contained at least one high-severity vulnerability.

Similar to mobile, web transactions are simply the way consumers are accustomed to banking now. So, for financial companies to keep up with consumer behavior while avoiding a major cyber attack, they’ll need to lean on an MSP who can enhance their mobile and web cybersecurity protocols.

Third Party Vulnerability

There have been a number of major banking cyber attacks that were caused by shared banking systems and third-party networks. It is common for financial organizations to rely on third party vendors for their daily operations. Yet, these businesses should be informed on the level of cyber risk associated with this practice–and the responsibility ultimately falls on the business’s MSP. It’s crucial that third party security is continuously monitored for cybersecurity vulnerabilities and security awareness training is consistently administered to end users. Lack of awareness could ultimately cost your clients millions.

Cryptocurrency Vulnerability

One in five financial firms today are saying they might start trading cryptocurrencies later this year. While the involvement of major institutions could potentially add a layer of security to the crypto industry, it would take extreme measures to ensure real security of these digital currencies.

What does this mean for MSPs working with clients in the financial industry? It’s important to assure them that no matter what, there will always be some level of risk—however, you can take the measures necessary to control that risk level, keep it within an acceptable range for the business, and proactively detect and respond to threats in their environments.

While finance is a high-risk industry, the pay-off of taking the right steps to keep businesses secure is well worth it.