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The Importance of Data Security for Financial Institutions

Everybody is taught to protect their data—don’t expose your social security number, be careful where you enter your credit card information, avoid sharing your ID on the internet, etc.

These pieces of advice are offered to avoid making it easier for cybercriminals to steal your identity and use your personal information for their benefit.

But this idea applies to much more than our personal identifying information. Businesses from all industries are tasked with protecting their information, as well as the information of others. And no industry is more highly targeted than the financial industry.

Money is the root of the majority of crime. And of course, this is exactly what financial institutions deal with on a daily basis.

Technology is constantly evolving. Financial institutions are trying to find ways to make their services easier to use for the customer. This creates new possibilities and affordances for the consumer, but it also introduces vulnerabilities.

Awareness of the various considerations related to data security is the first step toward proper protection.

Financial institutions need to keep the security of their data at the forefront of their attention at all times. This data can affect not only the business itself, but the entirety of their customers, employees, and vendors.

1. Financial Institutions Are a Major Target

A recent study found that financial institutions were under near constant attack, particularly when compared to other industries. In fact, it found that financial institutions were the target of about 25% of all malware attacks in Q1 of 2019.

The reasons for this are fairly easy to see—criminals are motivated by money. And gaining access to financial data can open up a lot of possibilities.

All businesses have the potential for hacks, but financial institutions carry a heavier load of this potential and need to put systems in place to address this reality.

2. Compliance

Not only is data security simply a matter of good business for financial institutions, it’s the law.

There are a series of regulations relating to the safety of the public’s data such as financial information.

As a financial institution, it’s your responsibility to keep this information safe.

Examples include:

These regulations address various aspects of the financial industry. The GDPR, for instance, relates to anybody either located in—or doing business with a company within—the European Union.

The unifying idea between all these regulations, however, is that a business that deals with sensitive information needs to handle this important data with care.

3. Customer Trust

A lot of trust is involved when someone hands the security of their financial information off to an outside entity. This is true for small scale instances like online purchases, so it is held to a higher level of scrutiny when dealing with financial institutions.

Salesforce data needs to be protected to protect this trust.

Any erosion in this trust will lead to clients taking their business to another provider that will offer adequate security.

Financial institutions need to protect this sensitive information because it’s regulated and it is the right thing to do. However, another aspect of this is that it is simply a good business practice.

4. There Are a Lot of Potential Threats

There are a lot of opportunities for bad actors to gain access to the Salesforce data of financial institutions.

These are generally large operations, which can open vulnerabilities if strict attention isn’t paid to security measures.

Cybercriminals and cyberterrorists target the data of financial institutions because of the potential wide-ranging effects. They can hack into the accounts of administrators, or even third-party vendors to gain access to the system. Privileged users can leak information, knowingly or unknowingly.

The list of threats is long and evolving. Constant attention to protecting your Salesforce data is essential to remaining secure.

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5. Downtime Is Costly

Your clients expect access to their financial information at all times. Any interruption in this access results in angry customers and lost business.

You need to be able to minimize the possibility of experiencing this downtime, as well as the amount of time without service in the event of an outage.

Maintaining strict security practices relating to your Salesforce data will help minimize the potential for these events. You also need to have a plan in place to recover this information to accompany these practices.

Frequent backups are the first step toward getting back online after an outage.

Updated backups of your Salesforce data will lower the amount of time it takes to recover. The ability to quickly and sufficiently recover these backups will get your systems back online to minimize the negative effects on your customers and business.

6. New Technology Means New Vulnerabilities

Technology is being constantly updated. New versions of current systems are adding new capabilities. Products and services are being introduced to the marketplace. This influx of new technology creates opportunities for advancement, but it also creates opportunities for cybercriminals.

Financial institutions need to stay on top of this constant rollout of new potential security threats. There might be overarching themes in tactics, but the actual means of accessing your Salesforce data will evolve along with the new updates and capabilities.

Security is an ongoing effort.

Cybercriminals will always find new tactics to compromise sensitive information. Financial institutions need to remain equally vigilant.