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Financial Industry Cybersecurity Checklist

financial industry cybersecurity checklist

The financial sector is already subject to a number of strict cybersecurity policies designed to protect valuable customer assets, including directives from the FDIC, FTC, GLBA and others. Given that the industry handles sensitive information and often experiences expensive data breaches, it only makes sense that more and more regulatory agencies seek to tighten regulations.

In the latest effort to enhance these protections, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed new cybersecurity requirements for financial firms, including hedge funds and registered investment advisers (RIAs).

Working with a reliable managed security services provider (MSSP) like Omega Systems can provide valuable insights for improving compliance with these strict financial regulations and help your company navigate new and increasing requirements with ease. It can also reduce costs by ensuring you meet expectations the first time.

Here are five steps you can take to prepare your firm for financial cybersecurity rules and regulations and mitigate your risk of cyberattacks.

1. Identify Your Risk

Proactive risk management can help your organization avoid expensive noncompliance penalties and fines. Understanding the risks your organization faces is essential to creating a strong risk management plan.

At Omega Systems, we follow a specific process to identify, detect and report on your unknown unknowns — hidden vulnerabilities that exist both inside and outside your organization and could become key exploits for would-be attackers.

After we complete the assessment, we provide you with a detailed security engagement summary of your overall vulnerability. This report provides vital insights for remediating these risks, including which gaps should be your highest priorities.

After you’ve incorporated these changes, you can establish a vulnerability testing schedule. Conducting regular IT risk assessments can help you continuously adapt to the evolving threat landscape.

 2. Implement Managed Security Monitoring and Alerts

The longer a threat remains in your system, the more damage it can cause to your organization — and your investors or customers. That’s why it’s critical to set up advanced monitoring measures to detect and alert you about sophisticated cyberattacks.

Relying on security information and event management (SIEM) services can reduce the impact of an attack by identifying threats before they can disrupt business operations. These solutions include data aggregation, consolidation and sorting functions to secure your data from threats.

Omega’s managed SIEM services monitor and analyze security events in real time, leveraging automation and machine learning to detect and track discrepancies in your network.

Customized alerts and reporting capabilities use data from SIEM logs to generate powerful insights into your unique cybersecurity environment. These logs also create a detailed audit trail, enabling compliance with key data requirements.

Firms without in-house IT or who want to enable rapid response capabilities can rely on our skilled Security Operations Center (SOC) analysts to provide round-the-clock monitoring and support. As soon as an incident is identified, Omega’s trained SOC team efficiently diagnoses and resolves these issues before attackers can compromise your sensitive data.

3. Create an APT Plan

Being prepared to respond to even the most advanced threats is necessary to prevent data loss and comply with growing regulations. Advanced persistent threats (APTs) are serious problems for the financial sector, especially for organizations operating remote work environments or using bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.

APTs are targeted attacks where intruders enter an organization’s network using advanced methods such as social engineering attacks and zero-day exploits. Once in the system, they continuously manipulate their code to prevent detection by conventional antivirus tools.

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) services utilize next-generation technology to provide greater visibility into suspicious activity within your network. Using machine learning and rapid response, our differentiated EDR solution maps attacks to the MITRE ATT&CK® framework, the leading knowledge base for behavioral analysis of threat actors. This step accelerates detection and diagnosis, significantly reducing dwell time across your network.

Plus, isolation and quarantine capabilities isolate threats, limiting damage to the rest of your system and reducing potential costs.

Too often, organizations only realize their network has been compromised when their data is stolen. A proactive, risk-centric approach to cybersecurity planning is critical for effectively preventing attacks.

In addition to EDR, other security measures to prevent and respond to APT threats include:

4. Conduct Cyber Awareness Training for Employees

Stolen credentials and phishing schemes are two common initial attack vectors. Many times, employees are the source of these vectors, when they ignore or otherwise don’t follow cybersecurity best practices. Training your employees to recognize and respond to threats when they see them is vital for protecting your data from cyberattacks.

Positive impact of information security training on workplace culture

Information security awareness training helps your company build a strong security culture by demonstrating the importance of cybersecurity to your staff. A security culture integrates cybersecurity into the foundations of your organization, which builds an extra layer of security against would-be attackers.

Omega’s annual training and assessment measures your employees’ cybersecurity knowledge and determines a baseline for future trainings so you can track how your organization improves year over year. We also create a customized training curriculum encompassing relevant, real-time topics like:

  • APTs
  • Data leaks
  • Situational awareness
  • Social engineering schemes
  • Malicious downloadable content

Limiting security training to one big annual session often results in employees forgetting what they’ve learned. Our automated security awareness program provides regular reminders and helpful security tips to keep training content fresh in your employees’ minds.

5. Engage Managed Compliance Services

Regulations change frequently, and falling behind on compliance with policy updates can be incredibly costly. Your organization needs to keep abreast of changes within the industry, but it can be challenging when your IT team is also balancing other tasks.

Relying on managed IT compliance services can:

  • Take some of the burden off your in-house security team
  • Satisfy stakeholder and investor expectations
  • Enable growth and scalability while maintaining compliance

For example, conducting routine internal audits can help you understand your compliance status, including key areas for improvement. A managed compliance solution that supports various regulatory frameworks enables you to assess how well your organization adheres to all the standards that apply to your company at once.

Smart Comply, our proprietary managed compliance solution, is based on data discovery, which enables deep visibility into your organization’s cybersecurity posture so you can design a navigable compliance roadmap. Couple that with professional expertise from our vCISO team and you can efficiently and effectively streamline the IT compliance process and stay in front of changing regulatory expectations.

Omega Systems Specializes in Managed Financial Cybersecurity

Whether you’re already subject to financial cybersecurity regulations or are preparing your firm for the forthcoming SEC cybersecurity requirements, consider outsourcing risk management tasks to Omega Systems. As an MSSP with more than 20 years of experience providing services to mid-market and enterprise organizations in the financial sector, we can help simplify compliance for your organization.

See why financial services companies of all sizes rely on our deep technical expertise and personalized services. Connect with our team today to learn more about our managed cybersecurity solutions.

omega systems specializes in managed financial cybersecurity

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