Are Your Third-Party Assessments Enough To Keep Your Bank Secure?

As important as cybersecurity is for anyone operating in the modern business world, it’s especially crucial for banks and other financial institutions. Your data and your assets are simply more valuable than those of organizations in other industries.

That’s why cyber-attacks are 300 times more likely to occur against a bank than they are a different type of business. Facing those kinds of odds, you can see why your cybersecurity is so important. Without the right defense, you’ll have to pay a steep cost…

The True Cost of Cybercrime In The Financial World

The monetary damages a bank like yours could face in the aftermath of a cyber-attack are considerable. According to the Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach 2019 report, the average price tag of a cybercrime event was $5.86 million last year.

But that’s not the only cost – you also have to deal with reputational damage, which affects your ability to retain clients and gain new ones. Nearly 30% of clients left their bank, and 12% left their credit union when they were informed of unauthorized activity on their accounts.

The point is that cybercrime is expensive for banks and financial institutions – that’s why it’s smarter to invest in your cybersecurity and test it on a regular basis.

Have You Tested Your Cybersecurity?

No matter how much you’ve invested in your cybersecurity, you can’t just assume it’s effective enough to protect you against cybercriminals. A key best practice for cybersecurity is to regularly test your measures to make sure they hold up in the event of an attack, and to identify any unseen vulnerabilities that are putting you at risk.

That’s why third-party vulnerability assessments are so important. By having an experienced IT security company examine your cybersecurity from top to bottom, you can verify the effectiveness of your cyber defenses.

Unfortunately, not all third-party assessments are created equal. Some are virtually worthless, involving nothing more than a technician checking off items on a list:

  • Do you have a firewall in place?
  • Do you have an antivirus solution in place?
  • Is there a data backup in place?

And so on. While these are certainly all important aspects of a viable cybersecurity posture, checking them off a list is not enough on its own. A third-party assessment should also actively test your defenses.

The 3 Most Important Tests In A Third-Party Assessment

  1. Vulnerability Testing
    As the most basic test phase of a third-party assessment, Vulnerability Testing is about identifying and assessing any security loopholes that exist in your IT environment. In finding these vulnerabilities, you can then address them and make sure they do not put you at risk.
  2. Penetration Testing
    The penetration test is an authorized attack on your organization’s technology and staff and is one of the best ways to accurately evaluate your security controls. In combination with a red team exercise (in which a full-scope attack simulation is executed to test organizational security), you can double-check each and every aspect of your cybersecurity posture.
  3. Application Assessment
    This last phase is often overlooked in third-party assessments, so make sure you ask for it specifically. It goes beyond just checking your security capabilities, and instead, examines that of the vendors whose software you use.

    By testing off-the-shelf and in-house applications, the third-party assessment team can recommend important changes in their configuration to make them stronger, or even recommend an alternative software, if they’re deemed too unsafe.

Perhaps more than anything else, effective cybersecurity is about what you know. Does your staff know how to spot a phishing attempt? Do you understand the limits of your current cybersecurity defenses? It’s what you don’t know that will put you at the greatest risk.

Kraft Technology Group will help you figure out precisely what you don’t know, carrying out robust penetration testing and recommending best practices and proven solutions to address any vulnerabilities that could put you at risk.

Like this article? Check out the following blogs to learn more:

The Need for Cybersecurity Expertise at the Board Level for Banking

The new Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP)

NIST’s Small Business Cybersecurity Corner