Managing IT while staying competitive in the financial services industry is no small feat. Keeping up with evolving technologies, meeting customers’ demands, adhering to government regulations and ensuring sensitive data is secure is a feat to navigate. At the same time, keeping day-to-day operations running smoothly remains a top priority.
While there is an endless number of potential initiatives on the to-do list for IT leadership across financial services, there are a handful of priorities that are non-negotiable. Optimizing financial services IT strategies positions financial institutions for success by increasing competitiveness, securing critical infrastructure and supporting regulatory compliance.
These key success factors work together to deliver a best-in-class customer experience and drive your business forward.
1. Stay Competitive with New Tech and Top-Performing Network Infrastructure
Over the past several years, like most industries, the financial services sector has been experiencing a major digital transformation. Financial institutions are shifting to the cloud and adopting new technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. More than ever, continuous innovation and keeping up with cutting-edge technology is a must for every financial institution that wants to have a competitive edge in the marketplace that now includes new tech-savvy players like FinTechs and InsurTechs.
From blockchain to big data to AI and digital banking, determining which technology investments will best enable an institution to stay relevant can be overwhelming. While it can be tempting to get caught up in adopting flashy new technology, IT teams must remember to keep one important thing in mind: their customers’ needs. To stay top of mind, teams should invest in tools and technology that will elevate the customer experience, such as secure, convenient tech platforms that can be customized to specific user needs. Seamless connections and fast transactions are also critical, so it is important that network infrastructure can support expanded connectivity and business growth.
2. Keep Cybersecurity the Top Priority
By 2025, cybercrime is projected to cost companies $10.5 trillion globally each year. While no company or business sector is safe, cybercriminals are 300 times as likely to target financial services firms than any other industry, according to Boston Consulting Group.
Top threats, such as social engineering attacks, phishing, business email compromise (BEC), malware, ransomware and DDoS, wreak havoc on networks, brand reputation and the bottom line. As bad actors adopt new technologies and leverage more sophisticated tactics to steal data and access critical digital infrastructure, financial institutions must stay vigilant.
Additionally, IT teams need to dedicate time and resources to staying ahead of IT security and cybercrime trends so they can protect all network endpoints. But as financial institutions adopt new technologies, platforms and tools to protect critical data and enhance the customer experience, they’ll also add more vulnerable access points to monitor and secure.
Key ways to strengthen security posture across a financial institution include:
- Perform regular risk assessments
To identify vulnerabilities and to build a robust security strategy, it is important to take a good, hard look at your current security framework. Involta provides unbiased third-party assessments for a comprehensive view into your security environment. Some assessment components include vulnerability scans, penetration tests, security policy reviews, password strength and social engineering challenges.
- Leverage security tools and technology
Firewalls, threat monitoring and detection services can help keep networks safe. For example, Involta and Fortra’s Alert Logic, the industry’s leading managed detection and response provider, have collaborated to offer a comprehensive global security monitoring and response solution customized for the financial services industry—Involta SecureFinance. With 24/7/365 protection across both private and public IT infrastructure, you can trust you are operating securely at all times.
- Conduct continuous cybersecurity awareness training
You can never be too careful when it comes to securing your institution and the customer’s private data. Implementing regular cybersecurity training is a great step. Employees are often the first line of defense in preventing cyber-attacks—one click on a malicious phishing link can allow a bad actor to penetrate your defenses. Make sure to hold training sessions often and provide simulations to identify any opportunities for further education.
- Partner with reliable and expert service providers
Choose trusted partners that have a proven track record of delivering top-of-the-line cybersecurity solutions. At Involta, IT security is at the core of everything we do. Our team of experts is equipped with an arsenal of cyberwar defense technologies, including cloud security, security consulting and managed security.
3. Ensure Compliance by Adhering to Federal, State and Local Regulations
Beyond staying ahead of the competition and implementing security best practices, IT teams must make sure they are complying with current government and industry regulations. As one of the most heavily regulated industries, financial institutions must comply with legislation put in place to prove they are operating with the utmost integrity and security. Failure to comply can result in a higher risk of cybersecurity attacks, reputation loss and massive fines.
IT managers should maintain compliance by implementing efforts to encrypt sensitive data, multi-factor authentication and distribution of data storage. Ultimately, compliance plays a critical role across the financial services industry, ensuring that organizations have secure and ethical procedures in place. Involta’s compliance services help institutions overcome challenges, such as a lack of dedicated in-house staff, deficiencies in current regulatory compliance processes, escalating costs and more.
The Interconnection of Competitiveness, Cybersecurity and Compliance
While IT teams supporting financial institutions have much to juggle, it truly is an exciting time for the industry. As technology advances quickly and opportunities abound to provide a customer experience like never before, IT has the power to drive the industry forward—if they stay focused on staying competitive, keeping cybersecurity as a top priority and ensuring compliance. Each initiative plays an important role, and they work together to build a robust IT strategy that helps financial institutions meet the needs of their customers and grow their business.