High Alert: The Growing Risk of Cyber Attacks

by Shaun Proudfoot

No industry sectors are immune from a cyber attack. The digital interconnectivity of businesses, operations, suppliers and customers means that any organisation is vulnerable to potentially catastrophic cyber breach, electronic data theft or sabotage. This inter-reliance between organisations and the growing prevalence of cloud computing, social media, mobile computing, IoT, big data and state-sponsored espionage, has catapulted cyber risk into one of the top concerns of business leaders today. Financial institutions, especially, are prime targets for cyber criminals, which puts the industry high on the risk list for network security and data privacy exposures.

In recent decades, technology has transformed the way financial services companies interact with each other, their customers and business partners. In order to facilitate day-to-day activities and the changing demands from customers, processes and systems have been developed and deployed to help minimise transaction costs and meet the required levels of customer service demanded. With the demand for heightened protection for the financial services sector, this increased connectivity also contributes to a heightened level of cyber risk.

Recent breaches at major companies highlight the increased sophistication and persistence of cyber attacks. The challenge of putting in a robust cyber defense to protect information systems and key data assets such as financial and personal information means that boards have to increase their level of oversight of cyber security. In order to make privacy and security a key part of any data management programme, a coordinated effort is required by a diverse range of stakeholders within an organisation. Increasing the level of boardroom focus on cyber risks helps define and shape the culture of data protection within the organisation.

With regulators and rating agencies paying increasingly close attention to risk mitigation strategies and considerable media attention focused on the rising frequency and extent of the threat, financial institutions should be on a higher alert regarding their potential exposures to cyber attacks and how they plan and align their organisations in addressing an ever changing landscape.  Companies need to act now.

Optimity Advisors can help you evaluate and build a cyber risk management and mitigation plan with the use of a military grade diagnostic tool. Whether you are just starting a cyber risk management planning process or reviewing your current plan / situation, Optimity’s experienced cyber risk team can provide the expertise and advice to protect your organisation and help provide a certain level of stability throughout your organisation.