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The Role of Networking and Communications in Financial Cyber Security

finance and cyber security

Some of the biggest and most expensive hacks of all time have targeted financial institutions. Equifax. Capital One. JP Morgan. All of these impacted millions of accounts and cost institutions billions in damages.

Financial institutions will always be a target for hackers based on the sensitive nature of their data, making it imperative for these organizations to continuously evolve their security measures to outpace the sophisticated tactics of hackers. As technology advances, so do the methods used by cybercriminals, creating a perpetual challenge for the finance sector to safeguard digital assets and protect client information from unauthorized access and breaches.

Comprehensive security starts with having a robust networking and communications backbone in place. From there we work with financial clients to implement a layered cybersecurity posture. Let’s first look at cyber security and finance more closely.

Understanding the Role of Cyber Security in Finance

If there’s one sector that should prioritize cyber security, it’s the finance sector. The reason is simple – they’re dealing with people’s money and personal information, making them a favorite target among cybercriminals.

According to a 2022 study, financial institutions were the target of 556 breaches in 2022. This startling statistic underscores the importance of effective security protocols to combat schemes and illicit activities aimed at individuals, organizations and systems. Here are reasons cyber security should be implemented within finance.

Fraud Prevention

Fraud is the #1 reason for comprehensive information security in banking and financial industry sectors. Fraud ranges in severity and degrees from payment card fraud to loan fraud and cyber fraud. Institutions are frequently targeted with cybercrimes, including identity theft, ransomware, unauthorized transactions, and account takeovers. According to one study, it’s costing financial organizations a collective $5.9 million.

Advanced security protocols like two-factor authentication, encryption, and real-time monitoring systems are essential in identifying and mitigating potentially fraudulent activities before they can cause significant damage. Furthermore, if breaches do occur, there is a better chance of resolving them as they’re happening, preventing them from causing more damage.

Customer Data Protection

Financial institutions store vast amounts of sensitive personal and financial information. Aside from making unauthorized transactions, cybercriminals can also acquire this personal customer information. This can include home addresses, credit card information, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and other sensitive data. A breach can lead to severe consequences for customers, including financial loss and identity theft.

Cyber security measures such as secure data storage, encryption, and regular security audits are crucial in safeguarding this information. Information security in financial services not only protects customers’ data from external threats but also ensures internal data handling follows stringent security standards. Approaches include encryption, access controls and authentication, and endpoint detection and response (EDR) systems.

Networking and Communications

In the world of finance, secure networking and communications systems form the backbone of day-to-day operations. The cyber security of these systems is critical not only for the smooth functioning of financial services but also for ensuring the security of the information that flows through them.

Financial institutions rely heavily on networked systems to conduct transactions, manage accounts, and communicate with stakeholders. Cyber security in this context involves safeguarding both network infrastructure from attacks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and intrusion attempts. And with impenetrable voice and text communication devices. This is achieved through advanced firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and secure network protocols that encrypt data in transit, ensuring communication lines aren’t compromised.

Email and messaging systems are essential for internal and external communications in financial institutions. These channels are often targeted by cybercriminals through phishing attacks and malware distribution. Implementing secure email gateways, end-to-end encryption in messaging, and educating employees about safe communication practices are crucial steps in protecting these communication channels.

Regulatory Compliance

Financial firms are one of the most heavily regulated sectors in the world. Most countries have strict laws and standards that these institutions must follow, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

Non-compliance with these regulations can result in hefty fines and penalties. For example, the GDPR levies up to 20 million euros for severe violations of its policies. Finance cyber security platforms can help firms maintain compliance by not only ensuring updated security standards but also providing reporting and assessment tools that make auditing and vulnerability assessments easier and faster.

Reputation Building

Ultimately, finance and cyber security are all about fostering trust. Institutions that prove they can safeguard their customers’ data and money often get more business from them. Unfortunately, this is getting harder in today’s landscape with breaches in headlines more and more often. This has led to consumers starting to mistrust banks and financial institutions more than ever.

One of the most fundamental ways to regain this trust is by investing in cyber security. Financial firms that prioritize effective cyber security encounter fewer hacks and breaches that may affect the public’s perception. A single cyberattack can significantly damage a company’s reputation, eroding customer trust and potentially leading to a loss of business. By investing in strong cyber security defenses and demonstrating a commitment to protecting customer data and assets, financial institutions can build a reputation for reliability and security.

5 Managed Network & Mobility Services Secured from MetTel

In an industry where seamless connectivity and mobile integrations are essential, MetTel stands out with its comprehensive suite of managed network and mobility services. MetTel offers tailored solutions for financial services designed to streamline network management and enhance mobility for institutions of all sizes, addressing cyber security ranging from encryption, firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention measures, software updates and patch management, access controls, incident response planning, backup and recovery along with regulatory compliance.

Managed Network Services

A robust and reliable network is at the heart of effective cyber security. Finance companies deal with a myriad of data flows and interconnected parts, which your IT team must have a good grasp on at any given time.

A four-time Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Managed Network Services, MetTel’s Managed Network Services provides financial firms with everything they need to achieve a stable and secure network, including network design, cloud access, transport services, and troubleshooting. Gartner recognizes MetTel as a leader based on the range of management for both LAN and WAN, network automation performance, and security operations for enterprise networks. An early leader in Secure Access Service Edge with market-leading SD-WAN, Firewall as a Service and Zero Trust Network Access, MetTel security supports branch locations, remote workers, on-premise internet security, private application access and cloud service security.

POTS Transformation

Retiring POTS (plain old telephone service) lines is an essential step to improving communication networks and increasing cyber security. Aside from rising costs and dwindling support from telephone companies, moving to a digital network enables firms to monitor their networks better and take advantage of network intelligence features and functionality for improved security.

MetTel’s POTS Transformation is a turnkey transition from traditional landline-based communication (easily intercepted) to more modern, secure technologies with several security measures including encryption protocols to secure data during transmission and present unauthorized access to sensitive conversations. Firewalls and security protocols protect against hacking, malware, and other nefarious attempts to steal information. Access controls, regular updates and patching by MetTel, and adherence to compliance standards along with monitoring and incident response, make POTS replacement with MetTel a much safer communications choice.

Managed Mobility and IoT

One of the biggest cyber security vulnerabilities is your employees’ unsecured phones and laptops. A compromised device provides an easy gateway for hackers to access your system and steal data.

MetTel’s Mobility Solutions help prevent breaches by giving you complete control over your company’s mobility needs, including procurement of devices for your employees, as well as provisioning, staging, kitting and MDM, secure enrollment into the corporate network, ensuring only authorized devices access company resources. Mobile Device Management enforces security policy, enables distribution and management of applications, assists with security updates, data protection with encryption measures, VPN configuration, and secure containers for sensitive corporate data.

MetTel’s enterprise mobility management service is a portal not just for ordering, but inventory management, asset tracking, data collection, usage, and history data. This service also encompasses Internet of Things (IoT) devices, helping create better connectivity throughout a financial institution and all over the world with Single SIM. Access to multiple networks and regions with several security features like authentication and access controls, encryption, and remote monitoring.

Integrated Firewall-as-a-Service

Firewalls remain a critical cyber security measure for preventing unauthorized traffic, such as malware and hacks, from breaching your network. However, you’ll need an advanced firewall that can keep up with the increasing sophistication of cybercriminals.

MetTel’s Firewall-as-a-Service is a scalable solution that helps protect the network from the latest threats. Advanced features beyond traditional firewalls play a crucial role in the cybersecurity posture of a financial institution. Advanced threat detection and prevention, applications awareness and control, intrusion prevention, SSL inspection, user and identity awareness, segmentation and segregation of data from the network with centralized management and reporting are added layers of defense.

Network Scout

Robust cyber security should involve a suite of tools working together to cover every aspect of your network. But with so many moving parts, this coordination can be a difficult task to tackle.

The best approach is to entrust it to MetTel’s End-to-End Network Security Services (NSS). Network Scout, part of the broader suite of managed services, is proactive monitoring, management, and optimization of network infrastructure. Key features include security monitoring and threat detection with intelligence integration and network traffic analysis. Alerts and reporting are real-time network performance and security incident updates.

Protect Your Business with MetTel

In addressing the financial sector’s challenges, the role of specialized solutions is more important than ever. MetTel’s managed network and mobility services aren’t just tools — they’re integral components in building a resilient, efficient, and secure financial environment.

MetTel has been managing robust, reliable networks since 1996. Our comprehensive network security and infrastructure solutions have been recognized by industry standards as the best in the business. This includes being named the 4X Leader in Gartner’s 2023 Magic Quadrant for Managed Network Services.

Ready to level up your cyber security? Check out our cutting-edge solutions for financial services today.

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