By: Siddharth Bhat, Chief Technology Office, Religare Broking Ltd.
The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for an accelerated digital transformation across industries. The broking sector, in particular, has witnessed a surge in digital innovation, significantly enhancing customer experiences. However, this digital explosion has also exposed the industry to heightened cybersecurity risks. In response, broking firms must adopt a meticulous and strategic approach to cybersecurity, aligning with stringent regulatory demands aimed at safeguarding customer interests. Here are key takeaways and best practices to fortify cybersecurity defenses in the ever-evolving digital landscape:
Regular security audits and assessments: In the relentless pursuit of staying ahead in a competitive landscape, businesses often push new features and products to market swiftly. To ensure the integrity of these offerings, incorporating security checks into the development and release cycle through DevSecOps is crucial. Nevertheless, to identify and address vulnerabilities comprehensively, periodic security audits and assessments are indispensable. Leveraging third-party cybersecurity experts and engaging ethical hackers ensures a multifaceted evaluation of the efficacy of existing security measures.
Customer and internal employee awareness: Recognising that customers and employees constitute the frontline of defense against cyber threats, continuous cybersecurity training is imperative. The discrepancy between the rapid spread of digital technologies and the slower rise of digital literacy underscores the need for ongoing education. Regular phishing attack simulations and informative mailers play a pivotal role in keeping stakeholders abreast of the evolving threat landscape.
Zero-Trust security: Embracing a Zero-Trust security model necessitates a paradigm shift, wherein every process and approval undergoes rigorous scrutiny, regardless of the user’s status. While this approach is instrumental in enhancing security, effective stakeholder management is paramount to mitigate potential concerns regarding its impact on productivity and time to market.
Scouring of the dark web: Understanding the prevalence of sensitive information on the Dark Web is a critical proactive measure. Utilising advanced tools capable of scanning the Dark Web allows organisations to identify and address any instances of misinformation or sensitive data circulation. This proactive approach empowers firms to take swift action against malicious posts and phishing websites.
Leveraging AI-based tools: The evolving threat landscape is likely to witness the emergence of AI-driven cyber threats. Adopting and implementing AI and machine learning tools becomes essential for automating threat detection, analysing security logs, and predicting potential attacks. This forward-looking approach ensures a proactive defense against sophisticated cyber threats.
Incident response plan: Acknowledging that no organisation is immune to cyber attacks, developing and regularly testing an incident response plan is indispensable. This plan should encompass well-defined communication protocols, containment procedures, and recovery strategies. A swift and effective response is paramount in mitigating the impact of security incidents.
Continuous monitoring: Implementing continuous monitoring solutions enables real-time detection and response to security incidents. This proactive approach minimises the potential impact of breaches by allowing organisations to identify and address security threats promptly.
While it’s impossible to guarantee immunity against cyber attacks, adopting these best practices fortifies an organisation’s cyber resilience. A robust cybersecurity framework, encompassing regular audits, awareness programs, cutting-edge technologies, and proactive response strategies, instills confidence in an organisation’s ability to navigate the complex and evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.