tackling identity challenges for better online protection

As an industry, financial services are highly vulnerable to cyberattacks. The Bank of England recently surveyed UK financial sector executives, finding that a staggering three-quarters (74%) saw a cyberattack as the biggest risk to the financial sector in the short and long term, closely followed by inflation. or a geopolitical incident.

That’s why financial services companies need to work harder to strengthen their online defenses. Preventive measures can protect sensitive corporate data from malicious actors and ensure that damage is mitigated when a breach occurs, or even stop it altogether.

Protecting identity in the digital arena

Identity is one of the main factors contributing to the “success or failure” of a breach. According to a recent study, 84% of all IT security incidents are due to compromised identities. From impersonating CEOs to emails that appear to come from IT support, cybercriminals have learned to morph into those we trust. They are becoming increasingly adept at stealing credentials, carrying out social engineering attacks, and ultimately exploiting poor identity security hygiene within enterprises.

Cybercriminals’ tactics have been made easier by the shift to remote working since the pandemic. Today’s hybrid workplace has made it much more difficult to monitor the corporate security perimeter – a perimeter that has become the users themselves, as hackers could immediately seek to take advantage of multiple points of attack. user access. But the office is not without risk either. All it takes is for a user to click on an unsuspecting phishing link. Any compromised account paves the way for cybercriminals to get their hands on sensitive business information.

To eliminate these risks, it is not a question of knowing where an employee works. These are the cybersecurity measures in place. Using AI-powered identity security gives staff only the access they need to perform their assigned roles and responsibilities, no more, no less. The use of AI is also accelerating and streamlining identity decisions, which is crucial given the pace at which businesses – and cyber threats – are evolving. This allows identity teams to act faster and more effectively to spot and stop unnecessary, inappropriate or potentially compromised access.

Improving financial services cybersecurity with AI

Artificial intelligence can never replace valuable human expertise, but it can augment it by using algorithms as a “force multiplier” to support overworked security analysts, identity management professionals, and disaster responders. incident, all of whom need to sort through an increasing amount of information to do their job. works.

An AI-powered identity security program also allows organizations to realize both cost and operational efficiency benefits, while easily and quickly scaling and adapting to the growing environment. more complex in which we live. Yet nearly half of organizations (45%) are just beginning to prepare for identity-based attacks. Given the annual increase in cybersecurity insurance costs, service growth, rapid adoption of remote workforce strategy, and integration of IoT devices – in addition to Ease the pressure on cybersecurity personnel – the need to adopt an identity security program becomes starkly evident.

Coping with growing identity challenges in financial services

The case for identity security is even more pressing given the enormous amount of identity data generated in today’s world, from individual users and systems to automated robotic processes. Machines now account for nearly half (43%) of all identities in the average enterprise and these are expected to grow exponentially over the next 3-5 years. There is so much data that finding anomalies is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.

Since even the simple definition of an identity has evolved so much, organizations must keep pace. This means ensuring that their identity security programs account for this type of identity when securing access. It’s not just about securing access for employees, but also for contractors, partners, and now software bots. Many organizations have yet to even recognize this type of identity as requiring the same identity security checks as their human counterparts.

Human or non-human, companies still need to do two things when it comes to managing these identities: reduce risk through better visibility and increase efficiency through automation. With AI at the core of their identity program, financial organizations can gain better visibility and insight into the specific risks associated with user access. Additionally, these can help automate and streamline identity processes and decisions such as access requests, role modeling, and access certifications, improving efficiency across the organization. organization. The power of AI will have a significant impact on how organizations manage, control and secure all types of identity.

Move from technology-centric to people-centric approaches

With the increased likelihood of high-impact cyber events in the UK, financial services companies need to invest in the right technological measures to properly protect their data. Identity security is an important measure that can go a long way in preventing attacks, and automating the process helps reduce stress on overburdened IT security departments.

By approaching technology investing as more than just a box-ticking exercise, financial services firms can improve their defense strategies and prepare for the cybercriminals of 2023 and beyond.

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