Security intelligence is the data related to safeguarding an organization from any outside and inside threats along with the processes, and policies developed to accumulate and evaluate the information.
It can also be referred to as the actual collection, standardization, and analysis of the data created by users, applications, and structures that influence the IT security and risk position of a business.
On a daily basis, information flows in organizations for the senior management to make smart decisions. The various stakeholders (employees, customers, contractors) are interfaced through various technologies.
However, the technological infrastructure can also result in serious security issues. The probable areas of intrusion are unlimited. Security experts and business leaders are trying to find an answer to the question - Is it feasible to have a robust security in an increasingly interfaced environment?
Though the answer is yes, it needs a radical transformation in processes and practices encompassing the financial services sector. The focus is not only on IT. Robust security facilitates a positive customer experience.
Cybercrime and Profitability
Financial institutions are at great risk since they are perceived to be an easy target for cybercriminals. According to a survey by IBM, "Financial markets, insurance, computer and professional services together account for over 40% of all security incidents worldwide."
The losses, pertaining to cybercrime in other sectors could be due to industrial intelligence and fraud related to intellectual property, but in banking, online fraud is a possibility.
Any fraud related to the intellectual property and industrial intelligence could lead to reduced shareholder value, shut down of the business and net financial losses. These are the issues impacting the global financial sector, not only because the main reasons are not identified or the disruption to the customer is immediate, but also because they can result in a significant loss of money.
As per Andrew Haldane, Financial Stability Director at the Bank of England, "Cyber-risk has become a more pressing concern than economic depression and the Eurozone crisis, as it is a rapidly rising area of risk with potentially systemic implications".
Comprehending the seriousness of the security risk is only a beginning. Financial institutions must establish an in-depth security intelligence strategy that would enable the financial institutions to have an insight into the perceived threats.
Financial institutions leverage top-notch analytics to get an understanding of:
- The types of attacks that are occurring.
- The probable source of the attacks.
- The technology used by the cyber criminals.
- Weak spots that could be exploited in the future.
Michael Davison, Banking and Financial Markets, IBM, stated," There's not another single issue that unites the interests of so many people at senior levels of banks. It unites technology, the CFO, security and compliance functions. But cybersecurity is also mission critical for people running lines of business and who are running P&Ls. So quite rightly it sits on the Board agenda. But there's still work to do to educate Boards about the urgency of an effective response to the rapidly changing environment."
Financial institutions must implement the following practices to get the balance between the required innovation and the related risk:
Establish a risk-conscious culture
- An organizational transformation with an emphasis on zero tolerance towards a security failure must be established.
- An initiative encompassing the organizational hierarchy to execute smart analytics and automated response competencies is needed to identify and resolve issues.
Safeguard the Working Environment
The functions in distinct devices must be examined by a centralized authority and the wide array of information in an institution must be categorized, tagged with its risk profile and circulated to the concerned personnel.
The greatest problem with the IT systems and the unnecessary costs is from executing services initially and looking at security afterwards. Security has to be a part of the application from the first phase of design.
Ensure A Safe Environment
If the system is secure, security personnel can monitor every program that's functioning; ensure it is ongoing and operating at optimal level.
Manage the Network
Organizations that route approved data through controlled entry points will be in a better position to identify and separate the malware.
Cloud Based Security
To prosper in a cloud scenario, organizations should possess the technology to operate in a secluded environment and track probable issues.
An organization's security strategy must also involve its vendors and efforts must be made to establish the best practices among the vendors.
Financial firms have been a major target for malware attacks. Several aspects are impacting the financial sector. The direct connection between the breach of several personally identifiable information (PII) to the profitability has not been lost on the global financial stakeholders. This has led to the implementation of several global security projects.
A hazardous type of malware for online financial transactions is "Man-in-the-Browser" intrusions. It happens when a malicious program affects an internet browser. The program adjusts activities conducted by the user and in some instances, can initiate actions independently. It could lead to online stealing.
Financial institutions that can transform radically at a fundamental level, the way they function would be safeguarded.
The aim of enterprise security could initially emphasis on IT structures, it must be extended from the technology personnel & their systems to each individual within the organization, and all the stakeholders conducting business with it.
Financial firms must comprehend the data that they have, which must be made available to the system, where they can compare and develop a real understanding of the actual threats and contingencies that may compromise the business.
With the recent explosion of information privacy and security legislation, executives and IT groups are more accountable for security requirements and compliance auditing. Closer examination of company security postures is exposing potential vulnerabilities previously unimportant or even unrecognized, including:
- Disconnect Between Security Programs and Business Processes - Information security programs are often inadequately integrated into business processes, creating disconnect and process inefficiencies.
- Fragmented Security Information, Processes, and Operations - Information security often takes place in a decentralized manner. Separate databases and unrelated processes might be used for audit assessments, intrusion detection efforts, and antivirus technology.
- Security Performance Measurement Difficulties - Many organizations struggle with performance measurement and management, and developing a standardized approach to information security accountability can be a daunting task.
- Broken or Nonexistent Remediation Processes - Previously, compliance and regulatory requirements called for organizations to simply log and archive security-related information. Now, auditors request in-depth process documentation. Both threat identification and remediation are becoming more important.
- Abnormal User Activity and Data Leakage Identification - With today's security requirements, organizations need to quickly and efficiently add processes to facilitate incident identification and detection of anomalous behavior.
Security Decision Support Solutions: Today, achieving information security compliance and managing risk requires a new level of security awareness and decision support. Organizations can use both internal security expertise and external consultants, to implement security information. Integration of network operations centers with security operations centers aids timely identification and remediation of security-related issues. For successful security decision support, organizations must automate incident response processes. These automated processes, however, must remain flexible and scalable. Risk management and compliance are dynamic, with ongoing modifications, regular and complex security incidents, and continuous efforts for improvement. A successful comprehensive security decision support solution involves several critical elements: compliance, business services continuity, threat and risk management, and security performance measurement.
Compliance: The emergence of compliance as the leading driver for information security management projects has forced organizations to refocus on securing underlying data critical to financial operations, customers, and employees. Achieving regulatory compliance is a complex challenge for organizations, with massive amounts of data and complex applications to monitor, and increasing numbers of users with access to those applications and data. Organizations need accessibility to contextual information and to understand real-time network changes, such as adding assets, and the new vulnerabilities and threats that creates.
Business Services Continuity: Of the security management program across an organization is key to risk management and compliance success. Organizations should be able to predict where most threats might occur, and how they might impact the business. Data is constantly in motion, continually consumed by users and applications across the enterprise. Increased deployment of service-oriented applications increases the number of users with potential access to enterprise data. Service-oriented applications have many moving parts, and monitoring at the application layer is much more difficult than monitoring network activity.
Threat and Risk Management: As businesses and networks grow, organizations shift their security focus from trying to address all security issues to establishing security priorities. The larger, more complex organizations choose to focus on the most damaging threats, those with the greatest financial impact, and those security issues that can cause the most disruption to business processes. Previously, the focus for security organizations has been on stopping threats from outside the enterprise. Yet data leakage and inappropriate user activity from inside the enterprise are often bigger threats, since the potential hacker is so much closer to the data. Organizations today are forced to reconsider their approach to managing risk from insiders.
Security Performance Measurement: Given that organizations cannot manage what they cannot measure, the need for security information event management and benchmarking are key aspects of an effective security decision support solution. Organizations need to understand their security posture at any point in time, and then have the ability to use that as a security baseline to measure against. Also, executive management needs a fast, straightforward, and credible way to have visibility into the organization's security posture.
Unified Network and Security Management: Too often, identifying, managing and eliminating threats across the enterprise is a fragmented and ineffective process for businesses and can lead to damaging outcomes. Taking a trial-and-error approach can result in network and application outages, lost data, lost revenue, potential compliance violations, and frustrated users. To meet compliance needs and maintain business services continuity, organizations need a coordinated response across a unified infrastructure. Paul Stamp, Senior Analyst for Forrester Research, states, "When security incidents like a worm outbreak or a system compromise occur, information risk management needs to coordinate the response, providing timely advice regarding the appropriate response actions. Moreover, they need to make sure that the different teams involved in IT security that need to plug the security holes communicate effectively and get the job done as efficiently as possible."
Security Information Management: The Backbone of Security Decision Support. Security decision support can provide a flexible yet comprehensive solution for addressing risk management and compliance challenges. An enterprise-class SIM platform can translate raw data into actionable security intelligence that can facilitate decisions regarding appropriate mitigation and remediation. Security metrics enable management to take decisive action. SIM also accelerates incident response with a consistent work flow. SIM technology enables collection and interpretation of security information from strategic applications and compliance-related assets, as well as from perimeter devices. Security information is made available to individuals and technology domains across the enterprise, while supporting IT governance, enterprise compliance, and risk management initiatives.