Banking and Financial Cyber Security Compliance


Data protection compliance in banks became a hot topic as of late. Number of security breaches keeps rising over the last couple of years, prompting regulators to introduce new regulations and keep revising old ones. Regulatory focus keeps expanding in its scope, requiring more thorough approaches and better solutions. Days when compliance was undertaken as a project are long gone. Today cyber security compliance for financial institutions needs to be approached as a continuous process with awareness to the latest trends, best practices, and best solutions, available out there.

Bank compliance norms and risks

Major trends in banking and financial compliance


Many professionals where hoping for break in regulations this year, but it does not appear to be happening. Instead, we see the trend for tighter regulations and more thorough enforcement, for which banking and financial institutions reacting with new efficient approaches.


The most prominent trends in the compliance landscape are:


  • More legislations and higher repercussions. Compliance rules and legislations are constantly being introduced or revised forcing organizations to keep adapting. Costs for breaking the rules also went up dramatically over the last couple of years and it is projected to only rise further.
  • Expanded role of compliance department. In the dynamic regulation landscape, standard advisory functions of a compliance department need to be greatly expanded. It needs to take part in risk assessment and management and actively control implementation of compliance procedures.
  • Drive to establish a culture of compliance. Facilitating compliance culture and high ethical standards among employees can greatly decrease a number of incidents and regulation fees. This year, it became a high priority within many banks and financial institutions.
  • Increased role of technology. With increased number of regulations and big data volumes manual compliance becomes increasingly more difficult. Automating compliance systems as much as possible by using feature-rich compliance solutions will help reduce costs and save employee time.
  • Increased role of senior management. Senior management including board of directors needs to take pro-active role in ensuring that compliance requirements are met. They need to ask the right questions and cultivate compliance culture from top-down.


Best practices for achieving compliance


Choosing an effective strategy for achieving compliance is the first step to cutting cost and making your security more effective (see also best practices for cybersecurity).  There are a number of steps you can take to pass banking data protection audit:


  • Keep track of regulations. Continuous process of meeting compliance requires banking institutions to constantly keep up to date on regulations and proactively enforce changes to meet new standards.
  • Risk management is very important. Compliance risks need to be a part of general risk-assessment framework. Effective risk management that allows to identify residual risks will help to focus compliance efforts on helping business become more secure and profitable.
  • Automate. Automating as many compliance procedures as possible will help to save costs and time of employees that were manually doing the job. Combining all products and solutions into a single heavily automated system is the best way to reduce costs and possibility of human error when it comes to compliance.
  • Check third-parties that can affect your compliance. It is important to audit financial application providers and other third-parties that have access to your infrastructure and sensitive data. These service providers are not necessarily bound by compliance regulations specific to banking and financial institutions, making it your task to ensure that they have no averse effect on your compliance.
  • Focus on ethics and security. Ultimate goal of compliance regulations is to protect financial information and other sensitive data from any potential misuse. It is important to employ all the necessary measures to thoroughly protect the data.


Compliance and data security

Importance of proper security cannot be overstated. Data leaks and breaches often result in severe reputation damage and loss of customers. Malware, denial of service attacks, and phishing schemes are both increasing in frequency and scope, while mobile banking and IoT presents completely new set of cybersecurity challenges for financial institutions. Creating a thoroughly protected security perimeter becomes more and more important. However, it is worth mentioning, that the most hard to detect and costly security violations are not coming from the outside, but rather from the inside of an organization.


According to the statistics, shown by the white paper from Raytheon, if detected within 32 month, insider attacks cost banking and financial institutions $382,750 on average. If detection did not happen within 32 month from violation, average costs are estimated to grow to $479,000. Insider attacks usually lead to data breaches, loss of business and extensive recuperation costs. Insider threats and employees’ data protection are also thoroughly covered by compliance regulations. This makes it paramount to employ the right user monitoring solution allowing you to not only protect yourself from insider threats but also to achieve compliance.


Ekran System – great compliance tool for banking and financial institutions

Ekran System is a user action monitoring solution that will help you prevent insider threats and meet finance data protection compliance. Ekran System provides video recording of every user action that includes everything they see on the screen coupled with relevant metadata, such as application and active window names, visited URLs, etc. This allows you to monitor user access to sensitive data and trace any unauthorized actions. There is an ability to view live sessions and block user access if needed, allowing you to effectively prevent any violations.


Ekran System can be used to monitor users of any level of privilege, including system administrators - they cannot pause or stop the recording. It is also a great tool for monitoring third-party vendors and service providers. It features customizable alerts that will send notifications on suspicious activity, allowing your security team to stay on top and timely react to potential incidents.


Ekran System can produce a variety of reports based on customizable parameters. Such reports can be useful both for you and for compliance auditors tasked to audit banking cyber security providers and services. Ekran System reports can reduce both costs and length of such audit, giving specialists an easy access to the necessary data.


Ekran System can be used to meet compliance with PCI DSS, SOX, GLBA and a number of other regulations governing security and data protection in financial institution. It is an effective tool for protecting financial institutions and banks from insider threats and saving you money and effort to meet compliance in the process.