Mitigating Human Error and Insider Breaches – Can Banks Avoid a Million Dollar Mistake?

August 21, 2018

While cybersecurity threats loom large for big banks, regional banks face disproportionate risk with smaller scale security infrastructure and on-hand expertise. Human error can be a major vulnerability for regional banks, who risk losing millions of dollars and invaluable data records, not to mention lasting damage to their reputations. Human error by nature is not error-proof, but smart IT security investments can help smaller banks avoid costly mistakes.

What can you do to mitigate your risk?

Understand your vulnerabilities Technology makes security processes easier for end users. Human error can often stem from outdated processes, lack of training, under-resourced support teams and inadequate oversight — and there is always the issue of malicious intent from existing and former employees. Even regional bank leaders like SunTrust suffered breaches by former employees, in their case, compromising the data of over 1.5 million of the firm’s customers. Insider breaches are pervasive — Verizon´s Data Breach Investigations Report found that half of data security breaches are rooted with insiders, those acting unconsciously (through employee negligence) and maliciously (for profit). You need to take stock of your bank’s security shortcomings, especially from the standpoint of insiders, in order to strategize and prioritize for your current risk level.

Change your mindset Firms can’t rely solely on error-proofing their operations — that approach does not fully capture today’s current data environment. Regional banks must come to terms with the expanding costs of data protection, regulatory compliance, and the ripple effects of a breach, even if that means changing the way they do business. The opportunity cost of a potential breach that erodes market share, consumer confidence and trust over proactive security investment is often too great for firms to bear. Expanding technology and support staff as well as engaging data security providers is quickly becoming part of the cost of doing business for smaller banks who are seen as an easy entry point into the financial system. Some regulators, like The New York Department of Financial Services, are even mandating tighter cybersecurity rules, including increased full-time staffing of information security officers.

Shift towards automated processes, IAM, and PAM There may be no way to completely error-proof your firm; however, investing in automation, technology, and people help to manage your risk profile. Smart technologies and analytical tools abound to cross-check payments, govern data, perform audit trails, and manage access. Deploying identity and access management (IAM) and privileged access management (PAM) help automate the necessary business rules for ensuring proper data governance and access. These, in turn, help ensure security policies are being employed and followed. This is particularly important when users need new or updated access, enabling firms to tighten on-and-off-boarding policies and ensure that former employees are immediately discontinued from access to your systems.

Do you know your regional bank’s largest security vulnerabilities? Talk to our team of data experts about how you can mitigate your insider risk.

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