Webinar: Elevate Your Financial Institution’s Cybersecurity

May 11, 2021


Cybersecurity for financial institutions

When every day brings news of another security breach or ransomware attack, it’s past time to evaluate whether the security controls and solutions you have in place are truly strong enough. 

Are you confident your financial institution is properly equipped to fend off a cyberattack or a breach of sensitive data? Even if you answered ‘yes,’ there’s always room for financial institutions to ratchet up their security protections. 

In our recent webinar, Cheryl Buntin, Senior Vice President of AaSys Group, Inc. took a deep dive into how banks can harden their security stance, both from an offensive and a defensive approach.

Topics covered in this webinar include:

  • The value of a cyber risk resilience (CRR) assessment for addressing not if, but when
  • Evaluating what controls your institution has in place
  • Situational awareness and technologies to consider

Cyber risk resilience assessment

The cyber risk resilience assessment allows your organization to measure the performance of your fundamental cybersecurity practices. 

The purpose of this assessment is to help you develop an understanding of your organization’s operational resilience. It evaluates your ability to manage cyber risks to your critical services (including lending and internet banking such as wires and ACH) during normal operations as well as during times of stress and crisis.

You can complete the assessment on your own or use a security vendor such as AaSys that can do it for you. 

The assessment looks at factors across 10 domains:

  • Asset management
  • Controls management
  • Configuration and change management
  • Vulnerability management
  • Incident management
  • Business continuity management
  • Risk management
  • External dependencies management
  • Training and awareness
  • Situational awareness

Completing this assessment and optimizing your security before an attack is crucial to keeping your organization and your customers’ information safe. Part of this includes keeping specific data on past attacks on hand to reference in the future.


Evaluate current security controls

Your employees are conducting a lot of business online (especially if you’re now working remotely) which means you’ll need to enforce best practices to ensure each individual employee is protecting your institution’s data. 

If you’re making use of VPNs, are you also employing multifactor authentication using an app like Authy or Google Authenticator? And on top of that, do you have a way of tying remote users to specific hardware and devices? This is essential for keeping track of security events and determining what happened and to whom.

If your institution uses Microsoft 365, there are tools that you can implement to increase security for your users. Regular internal audits to check each user’s settings and configuration ensure everyone is protected. Using BitLocker, you can encrypt hard drives to protect information if a device is lost or stolen. There are a variety of add-ons that you can make use of for identity protection, multifactor authentication, data loss prevention, and online archiving. 

Make a list of the technologies that your organization is using so that you can look into potential add-ons that will secure your resources more proactively.


Situational awareness and technologies to consider

Many companies fall short when it comes to the 10th domain of cyber risk resilience: situational awareness. 

Situational awareness is defined by the MITRE Corporation as: 

“Understanding your environment and accurately predicting and responding to potential problems that might occur. Comprehensive cyber situation awareness involves three key areas: computing and network components, threat information, and mission dependencies.”

Situational awareness is composed of:

  • Intelligence: Up-to-the-minute information about threats
  • Integration: Automated monitoring of your structure, processes, and applications
  • Speed: Reacting instantly for damage mitigation
  • Analytics: Compiling data to analyze, correlate, and visualize events to produce actionable situational awareness
  • Expertise: Understanding vulnerabilities and assessing threats accurately
  • Resiliency: Being prepared for the unexpected by protecting your data, systems, and enterprise

Situational awareness allows you to become proactive by identifying vulnerabilities in your systems, matching those vulnerabilities to threats, and providing solutions to mitigate those risks before those vulnerabilities are exploited.

The technologies that you choose to utilize will be based on your organization’s specific needs. Additionally, you will need to decide if you will implement some of these solutions in-house or outsource to other vendors (again, based on your needs).

Helpful technologies to consider include:

  • Endpoint detection and response (EPR)
  • Extended detection and response (XDR)
  • Security information and event Management (SIEM)


Identifying cybersecurity risks at your financial institution

When it comes to cybersecurity for your financial institution, being proactive is key. This allows you to figure out which assets are most susceptible to risk, understand when something seems off, and determine the possible events that can impact your physical and cybersecurity safeguards. 

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