CYE Insights

Cyber Risk Assessment Services in the Financial Industry: 5 Key Tactics

Financial Organizations Face Unique Cyber Risks  

Banks, insurance companies, investment firms, and other organizations in the financial industry are justifiably concerned about both cyber exposure and regulatory compliance. Accessing financial data continues to be at the top of hackers’ wish lists. Personal data stolen from financial organizations is highly prized, not just for the sale value of account and credit card information on the dark web, but also because criminals can use credentials to break into the network and reach valuable assets. Consequently, the average cost of a breach – including containment costs, regulatory fines, legal expenses, and other factors – is one of the highest of all industries, at $5.29 million in 2021 

Despite ongoing investments in security tools and technology, the financial industry faces unique challenges to reducing risk. The push for digital transformation comes at a time when many organizations are still saddled with legacy systems they must maintain. Customer demands for innovation and frictionless services put increased pressure on the security team. Open banking introduces added risk of data loss, identity theft, and data protection violations, as aggregated customer data is held in third party providers’ infrastructure.  

As a result, financial organizations look to cyber risk assessment services to help manage cyber threats and to communicate effectively with executives.  

Five Tactics for Cyber Risk Assessment Services  

A variety of cyber risk assessment services are available, many based on established frameworks or historical data and probabilities. However, given its unique demands, the financial industry has adopted specific tactics to select and utilize the most suitable cyber risk assessment services. Financial organizations have found these five tactics to be optimal in choosing and using the most suitable cyber risk assessment services.  

Tactic 1: Develop a risk focus  

Organizations select cyber risk assessment services that help them better understand the trends and new/changed regulations they need to address to reduce cyber risk. Services based on an understanding of the organization’s unique characteristics, coupled with relevant historical intelligence, can determine which cybersecurity threats pose the greatest risk.  

Tactic 2: Look at the big picture – in context  

Financial organizations determine what is most important to protect, such as customer data, business continuity, fraud protection, intellectual property, or other assets. They look for cyber risk assessment services that can prioritize threats that pose an immediate risk to these valuable business assets, rather than services that merely provide a list of the biggest misconfigurations and vulnerabilities without context. A service that can visually display the attack routes that could lead to those business assets, along with the probability that potential attackers will take those attack routes, is especially valuable.  

Tactic 3: Discover the true cost of a potential breach  

Traditional loss components – the cost to contain a breach, along with regulatory fines and expenses related to class-action lawsuits – must be combined with others, such as the variable cost of cryptocurrency-based ransom payouts, damage to the brand and customer churn, and downtime/ lost productivity. Financial organizations know that the cost horizon is long for organizations in highly regulated industries: costs continue to accrue more than two years after the breach. 

Tactic 4: Develop mitigation plans for valuable business assets 

No organization has the time or resources to mitigate all possible attacks. Financial organizations build mitigation plans for vulnerabilities with the highest probability, while blocking attack routes to the most valuable assets. They look to the cyber risk assessment service to prioritize the highest-exposure critical business assets – those that are most likely to be breached—along with data on the cost of a breach. Services that allow the organization to visually evaluate the impact of blocking various attack routes can make mitigation plans more efficient and cost-effective.  

Tactic 5: Build resilience and scalability 

The organizational environment is constantly changing, as is the cyber threat landscape. It is extremely important to be able to protect the organization as attack methods evolve. Resilience allows the organization to prepare for rapid recovery from a cyber breach. Scalability allows even the largest organizations to address all probable threat sources, including those coming from the internet perimeter, from insiders, and from the extended supply chain. The optimal cyber risk assessment service for the financial industry helps in the continuous monitoring of the organization’s infrastructure and prioritization of mitigation efforts, with a focus on the most valuable business assets.  

Conclusion  

The financial industry faces a growing level of cyber risk due to its complex set of demands and requirements; at the same time, the cost of a breach is only increasing. The five tactics presented here enable financial organizations to reduce risk: they rely on cyber risk assessment services that provide visibility into the most probable attacks on their most valuable business assets. Complete, visible information helps them prioritize actions to reduce risks, and help communicate material risk reduction and avoidance to senior management and the board.  

CYE’s comprehensive security assessment covers your entire organization’s ecosystem while considering context. With the help of experienced red teams performing real attacks, CYE maps possible attack routes to business assets across all environments, thereby delivering the most contextual organizational security assessment. Click here to learn more about how CYE helps financial organizations. 

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By CYE
September 8, 2022