Small financial institutions, big data issues

Security in the financial sector is serious business. All financial organizations, no matter their size, deal with security issues – from data breaches and hacks, to well-meaning employees downloading malware by mistake. These organizations must be vigilant: their reputations depend on security. In addition, they have to follow strict compliance regulations determined by their industry.

This is difficult for multinational banks with virtually unlimited resources, as was shown recently when the central bank of Bangladesh was hacked, and had $81 million taken. So, just imagine the challenge facing small financial institutions. When it comes down to it, these companies are at a much higher risk of being wiped out by a single security issue.

What’s a small financial institution or bank to do? The first big step can be summarized in one word: knowledge. Small financial companies have a lot of important, often unstructured, financial and customer data. If you’re a member of such a team, below are three things you have to know in order to keep your data secure, and keep your reputation, and business, intact.

Confirm you’re in compliance.

The financial sector faces many complex and stringent compliance requirements, and for good reasons. Just assuming your compliance program is strong is dangerous. You have to know your company is compliant with all regulations and continues to stay compliant as those regulations evolve.

A particularly effective way to start is to make sure your compliance solution offers visibility into your storage – true data-awareness. This enables your company to discover, and eliminate, potential issues hidden in your data. Not only does this keep you in compliance, it can lead to increased productivity, simplified operating procedures and lower costs.

Know where your data goes.

The data that financial companies store is particularly valuable. Account numbers, Social Security numbers, personal data, the list goes on. It’s not enough to just know all the data you have; you have to know where it goes and what it’s exposed to.

For example, small banks often need to move account data quickly through their IT environments to reflect balance changes or account movement. It’s important that this information doesn’t travel through locations that aren’t secure. It’s critical, then, that you have constant visibility into your data storage to mitigate any risk of your customer data getting into the wrong hands.

Detect if you’ve been breached in the past.

One effect of data-aware solutions is they can shed light on the past. Once a data-aware solution starts going through long-term data storage, it can find evidence that a security breach has occurred in the past – unbeknownst to anyone at the company. This knowledge is frightening, but it gives you the opportunity to learn. You may find a potential security hole that you can now deal with.

Small financial institutions deal with data that is just as important and sensitive as their larger competitors do, and small companies are subject to the same compliance regulations. On top of that, they’re generally dealing with these issues with limited IT budgets and staffs.

By increasing your knowledge of your data, through a combination of data-aware solutions, you can put yourself on equal footing with the big fish. This will keep your reputation strong, and even enhance it, and keep your customers’ data secure.

Learn how data security reinforces your brand’s promise to its customers.

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John Joseph

John Joseph

President and co-founder of DataGravity, John Joseph leads company’s sales, marketing, operations and customer initiatives. John previously served as vice president of marketing and product management at EqualLogic, leading these functions from the company's initial launch through the successful acquisition by Dell in 2008. He subsequently served as vice president of enterprise solutions, marketing at Dell for three years after the acquisition.