Financial institutions are constantly upgrading their security and safety measures to ensure the integrity of their systems and protect their customers’ data. This needs to be done even in the digital age, as financial criminals are also harnessing current technologies to take advantage of weaknesses in financial systems. Scammers and phishers, for example, still try to exploit human weaknesses to access the systems that banks and other financial institutions use. The difference is that they do that now through the use of modern methods like emails and text messages.
To protect their organization and customers against these damaging activities, it’s a must for banks to implement security strategies, some of which involve the participation of the people and businesses they serve. Here are some of the strategies that financial institutions use to protect customer data:
Inform customers of ways to protect sensitive financial information
There are certain details that a person must not share with others. These include online banking account passwords, ATM PINs, and credit card CVVs. Banks must remind their customers time and again not to share sensitive information with anyone and that any form of unfamiliar communication that asks for these details likely comes from cyber criminals.
Ensuring that customers are aware of the strategies that hackers and phishers use to solicit their financial details is another important aspect of protecting customer data. Customers who are informed of the common strategies that criminals use to solicit sensitive information are more likely to recognize when they’re being targeted by cybercriminals. Following that, they can actively protect themselves, report suspicious activity, and alert others who may also be targets of these crimes.
Minimize data collection to only include essential customer information
Data is the currency in the digital age. Companies that belong to different industries collect a wealth of information from their customers and use the data to come up with products and services that are more suited to the needs of their target market. The same is done in the financial industry, though this comes with a few setbacks. One concern is that having a lot of data in a bank’s repository increases the value of the collection to people and organizations outside of the bank. This, in turn, makes the bank a high-value target for financial criminals who want to access this wealth of personal information.
To work around this issue, some banks are opting to collect the minimum amount of information from their customers.These institutions only solicit the details they need to push through with the transaction and nothing more. This lowers the value of their data collection to other companies as well as cybercriminals, thus reducing their chances of becoming the target of data breach efforts.
Limit access to customer information within the financial organization
It’s still imperative to keep a close eye on customer data within a financial organization. Not every bank employee will need access to the data collected from customers, and even then, their access to customer data should be constantly monitored. Many financial organizations make use of a tiered architecture to store customer information. This structure categorizes information into several levels, from frequently accessed data to more sensitive details about the customer. Organizing information and database access in this manner helps ensure the integrity of the repository in case cybercriminals get through the database using a compromised staff member account.
Maximize the use of security tools such as data backups
Aside from incorporating basic security measures in the structure of their database and the distribution of access privileges, banks can also make use of different tools and practices to improve their defence against tech-savvy financial criminals. One of these is regularly backing up their data. Having a backup of their customer information ensures that banks have an unaltered version of their database in case cybercriminals get through their initial security measures. At the same time, data backups offer a measure of protection to financial organizations against data loss that can be caused by natural and manmade disasters like fires, floods, and power outages.
Utilize advanced technologies to get ahead of financial criminals
Large institutions that are keen on avoiding the financial and reputational damage brought about by being tied to data breaches make use of advanced technology to fortify their security measures. Banks that deal with a global clientele and process large volumes of transactions every day, for example, rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict the strategies that cybercriminals might use to infiltrate their systems. The use of these cutting-edge technologies, on top of other safety measures, enables these organizations to secure the data of their clients.
No matter its size, a financial organization is likely to become a target of cybercriminals. As such, it’s a must for these establishments to study and implement security measures like the ones mentioned above to deter and prevent criminals from accessing their databases. Doing so will not only offer banks peace of mind but will also strengthen their customers’ trust in the financial industry as a whole.