What Financial Institutions Can Do to Keep Clients’ Data SaferWhile cyber-crime is on the rise, less than half of organizations cited in research from Poneman Institute felt ready to defend against an incoming cyber-attack. According to experts, financial institutions are more at risk than most due to the fact the confidential client data they keep makes such an enticing target for hackers. So what can you do to address this risk? Start with solid technology infrastructure and staff who have the necessary security skillset.

Create a Comprehensive Policy

With the right staff on board, it’s time to review your security policy. A comprehensive security policy covers the rules and responsibilities for every position in your organization. IT should also address what to do in the event of a breach as well as the processes for dealing with these potential events. This could range from small things like a missing flash drive, needs to be outlined in advance.

Implement the Policy at All Levels

Once new security policies are created and reviewed, they need to be implemented across the board and thoroughly documented. No one likes new security restrictions, and there may be some pushback, but a policy that isn’t used is of no use. Simply listening to the concerns of staff and editing the policy where needed goes a long way toward getting everyone on board. Be sure that every exception or change to the policy is documented and tracked. Think of your security policy as a living, breathing, adapting document that needs to be maintained. This is all the more reason to have a dedicated security person.

Hire a Dedicated Security Expert

In the IT world, security is a subset of skills. Asking your tech experts or engineers to pull double duty in both the break-fix and security arenas divides their attention and leaves your company-wide open for hackers. True security comes from implementing and updating security policies as well as monitoring and mitigating risk factors. In short, it is much more than just a full-time job, and definitely not one more responsibility to add to someone’s already full list of obligations.

Technology moves forward at an alarming rate, and hackers have proven themselves to be determined and resilient when it comes to accomplishing their goals. To protect your data, the first step is to learn how hackers think. They look for something to exploit, whether it’s an unsecured device or an improperly trained employee. The best defense is a good offense.

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