Financial file matters matter. Not only are these files a top priority to the banks and financial institutions that handle millions of transactions daily, they also matter to the industry’s compliance regulators, and to the public trusting that their financial information is secured.
How organizational and personal financial data is handled and secured is a heavy responsibility, most often landing squarely on the shoulders of busy IT teams. On top of protecting financial data while it’s at rest and in motion, these professionals help their organization meet stringent compliance requirements to avoid hefty fines, sanctions, and negative public opinion.
What are the Threats to Financial Data?
Financial data in all its forms – credit card information, banking ID numbers, social security numbers, and sensitive financial documents – all are tempting to cybercriminals for their potential lucrative payoffs from the details contained in electronic transactions.
The numbers-based finance industry faces some big numbers when it comes to the average cost of a data breach. While the global average cost of a breach in 2023 was $4.45 million, according to the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, the financial industry averages about $5.9 million per breach, just under 30 percent higher than the global average.
What makes these threats so daunting, besides the bottom-line cost factor? The access that threat actors have to customer’s personal information, which makes an initial breach one that can have repercussions for years.
Financial threats can start with an overt cybercriminal attack, bloom from simple human error, or through any number of attacks such as compromised credentials, social engineering, or phishing.
Financial Compliance Requirements Require Strong Security
Industry regulations – both national and international – play a large role in banking or other financial interactions. While the threats to this industry are numerous and ever-present, various and stringent compliance requirements are designed to help thwart the worst of them.
Meeting the requirements to protect data, networks, and infrastructures spelled out in PCI DSS, GLBA, GDPR (Europe) CCPA (California) can be made easier by implementing solutions such as Zero Trust File Transfer, which allows financial institutions to encrypt and securely share files with authorized individuals, free from viruses and malware, and delivers total control over those files wherever they eventually land.
“Another thing to consider compliance-wise is how your solution can be integrated with cybersecurity solutions such as threat protection and data loss prevention,” said Chris Bailey, Senior Product Manager, Fortra. “It’s critical that financial institutions have a way to safely collaborate without the risk of malware entering into the institution or incurring the risk of employees inadvertently mishandling data.”
Fortra’s Threat Protection bundle utilizes a Secure ICAP Gateway to block the sending of sensitive data that could contain personally identifying information (PII) or run up against PCI DSS regulations around financial data. "These combined solutions can also redact specified information so that files can be allowed to flow through to allow organizations to continue doing business, but with any sensitive data replaced with asterisks," added Bailey.
Meeting other compliance-related requirements, such as SOX 404 and 409 and the Dodd Frank Act, can be complicated and cumbersome without security solutions designed to assist in securing the movement of data, such as managed file transfer.
Related Reading: 5 Ways MFT Helps the Finance Industry
The Benefits of MFT for Securing Financial Data
Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a robust solution for transferring financial files and is a more secure, comprehensive option for any organization managing transactions containing financial or personal information than off-the-shelf or free file transfer options for financial data exchanges.
A secure MFT solution such as GoAnywhere MFT can:
- Standardize and automate common file transfers, which helps eliminate risks of human error
- Track file movements and generate audit reports, essential for meeting financial compliance requirements
- Streamline data exchanges
- Help secure collaboration
- Support key encryption protocols
- Integration with other financial systems and processes
- Encrypt connections with trading partners
- Send even very large files quickly
- Handle very fast file transfers
- Ensure critical business continuity with clustering and high availability
- Be deployed on-premises, via the cloud, as MFTaaS, or in a hybrid environment