The financial services industry has seen its share of cybersecurity breaches this year, with attacks like the Equifax hack affecting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. And if we’ve learned anything from the largest breach in U.S. history, it’s that the industry must move towards smarter cybersecurity practices in order to confront and prevent cyberattacks sooner.
As Tom Gilbert, CTO, Blue Ridge Networks says, “While the number of breaches continues to increase, organizations are realizing that one product alone won’t be the holy grail of cybersecurity defense.” Because attacks are becoming more targeted and sophisticated than ever before, financial services organizations are turning to a defense in depth strategy, “to protect against the many different attack vectors that are being used today, and multiply their cyber defense exponentially,” Gilbert adds.
One of the biggest challenges financial services organizations face is having a complete “understanding of what exactly a defense in depth strategy is,” Gilbert says. “Many organizations often refer to two of the same type of cyber defense mechanisms as defense in depth, but that’s not the case.”
A true defense in depth approach involves multiple layers of defense with several layers of preventing or eliminating threats. “For instance, some organizations could benefit from an Identity Access Management (IAM) solution with an added Network Access Protection (NAP) solution,” Gilbert adds.
Authentication is a key component to a defense in depth strategy, which may consist of two separate techniques for authenticating credentials, such as password authentication combined with a smart card. Gilbert mentions, “This is true two-factor authentication; there is a possession factor and a knowledge factor. The strength of one offsets the weakness of the other when they must be used together to gain access.”
There are many other best practices financial services organizations should follow when it comes to cybersecurity, though. It’s critical that IT leadership ensures all network connected devices and machines like ATMs, physical security cameras, or other operational technology (OT) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are fully protected against potential threats. “Financial services companies need to consider their OT systems not just as a potential vulnerability but as a potential attack vector on their IT infrastructure,” Gilbert notes.
With so many financial services organizations today sharing information with partners, service providers, and vendors, they face increasing vulnerabilities with regards to security. It’s incredibly challenging to enable two-factor authentications among multiple companies, which in turn defaults users to a basic user ID and password. “These weak credentials beg to be stolen and are often the first stage in a multi-stage cyber attack. The good news is, Blue Ridge Networks has successfully provided secure extranet solutions across financial organizations for years, ensuring that all network access and communication is secure,” Gilbert concludes.
Find out more about Blue Ridge Networks here.