Contemporary cyber-security landscape in banking

In the ever-evolving financial landscape, technology is the bedrock of innovation, efficiency, and transformation within the banking sector. The complex dance between technology and finance has heralded an era of unprecedented change, defying traditional paradigms and propelling banks into the digital age. The growing use of technology in banks is not just a matter of operational enhancement; it is rather a fundamental shift in how financial services are delivered, accessed and experienced.

The integration of technology into banking has undergone a seismic shift, turning a once paper-driven industry into a dynamic ecosystem of digital transactions and real-time connectivity. The arrival of sophisticated software, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and block chain has revolutionised every facet of banking, from reshaping customer interactions to redefining risk management and regulatory compliance.

The evolution of Information Technology (IT) in banking has opened new frontiers, accompanied by challenges that demand strategic attention. The growing dependence on technology brings forth a plethora of issues, spanning from the rapid flux of technologies to the intricate complexity of IT systems. Challenges include the need for diverse controls tailored to different technologies, ensuring alignment with business objectives and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements while addressing the repercussions of outsourcing IT services leading to vendor dependency and concentration risk. Additionally, the critical consideration of segregation of duties and the omnipresent threat of external forces precipitating cyber frauds and crimes add layers of complexity to the already dynamic technological landscape.

Complicating matters further is the potential for higher impact resulting from both intentional and unintentional actions of internal employees. The introduction of new social engineering techniques aimed at acquiring confidential credentials adds another layer of complexity to the security paradigm, against which heightened awareness among staff members is a crucial line of defense. Hinting at cyber risk, the RBI Governor Dr. Shaktikanta Das while addressing the global conference on financial resilience on 23rd April 2023, said that it has been identified as the foremost in top 10 operational risks for 2023 based on a global survey of financial institutions.

Therefore, as technology evolves at break-neck speed, addressing these challenges necessitates a holistic approach that not only focuses on technological solutions but also encompasses robust governance, risk management and compliance frameworks. However, in a dynamic landscape of banking and finance, where technological advancements and cybersecurity threats coexist, it becomes imperative for banks to employ comprehensive frameworks for technology and security governance, risk management and compliance to safeguard themselves against the multifaceted challenges posed by technology-driven disruptions, human errors and non-compliance.

Muneer H. KongaWani
J&K Bank Ltd.

Technology Governance – a critical component of this framework – refers to the set of processes, structures, and policies ensuring the effective utilisation of technology to achieve organisational objectives while managing associated risks. It involves decision-making frameworks, accountability structures, and strategic alignment to optimise technology investments. And security governance is the complementary framework that encompasses the measures to protect information assets, mitigate security risks and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

In conclusion, the cybersecurity landscape in banking needs to demonstrate and sustain the delicate balance between innovation and security. As technological advancements reshape the financial industry, banks need to embrace the transformative power of technology while fortifying their defences against an evolving array of threats in cyber-space. Achieving a secure and technologically resilient banking sector necessitates a harmonious fusion of cutting-edge solutions, robust governance structures and a proactive organisational attitude that anticipates and mitigates risks. In this regard, an active collaboration between financial institutions, regulatory bodies and innovators of disruptive technologies remains pivotal in safeguarding the integrity of banking sector in the face of these fast-evolving cyber threats.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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