How Financial Organizations Can Manage Risk During Digital Transformation

By Fortra's Digital Defense

Data breaches have always been a threat against the financial sector, but they’re becoming more and more common in our interconnected, always-on world. An increase in cyberattacks means there are more opportunities for devastating data leaks in your organization, leading to hefty fines and financial losses.

IT leaders need to strengthen their infrastructure against vulnerabilities to stop attacks before they even happen, even as they take on digital transformation projects. Digital transformation is a must to stay competitive and it can be an asset, but accelerated timelines can increase your threat exposure.

Managing Rising Threats

The pandemic-caused boom in work-from-home arrangements led to a sharp rise in cyberattack incidents in 2020 and 2021. In fact, organizations reported a 116% increase in malware and exploit activities in 2020 alone.

Cybercrime is incredibly common and affects organizations across every industry. However, it’s especially damaging to the financial sector due to the immense amount of wealth and data. Financial firms are 300 times more likely to be attacked. Billions of sensitive records are accessed by malicious activities every year. Often this is accomplished by exploiting security vulnerabilities.

Vulnerabilities are weaknesses in infrastructure that open an organization up to an attack. The risks posed by the weaknesses can be mitigated by vulnerability management (VM). VM identifies, analyzes, and prioritizes vulnerabilities that put business-critical assets at risk. VM helps financial institutions:

  • Proactively identify vulnerabilities before they are exploited
  • Analyze and prioritize existing vulnerabilities using threat intelligence, risk context
  • Achieve compliance and meet or exceed data regulations, industry standards

The number of vulnerabilities considered critical continues to grow. According to industry reports, 50% of internal application vulnerabilities are high-risk. However, most teams are short on resources and must properly prioritize even those vulnerabilities that are categorized as critical.

Fortunately, an expert vulnerability management program enables teams to customize risk context so they can determine which critical vulnerabilities pose the most risk to their organization. This risk-based approach empowers teams to swiftly remediate what matters and prevent data losses, breaches, and regulatory fines. See how this approach helped one financial institution manage risk during digital transformation.

Maintaining Cybersecurity During Digital Transition

A leading financial organization partnered with Digital Defense to reduce its risk during digital transformation. With more than 200,000 customers and $2 billion in assets, this institution innovated its systems while ensuring security during the transition with Digital Defense’s always-on Frontline Vulnerability Manager.



Highlights of this use case include:

Continuous Scanning and Monitoring

During the transition from legacy infrastructure to new cloud-based infrastructure, the team managed both. They were retiring assets daily from the legacy system and deploying assets in the new infrastructure. Using Frontline VM, they ran nightly vulnerability scans on the new environment while still running scans on the old IP address scheme 2 times a week. This helped ensure daily changes weren't creating new vulnerabilities.

Risk Management and Reporting

The client used Frontline Security GPA to monitor and report on risk after making changes to the new environment. Frontline Security GPA is an intuitive security rating metric provided in a letter (A,B,C,D, F) grade and numerical GPA. The Security GPA weighs asset importance and criticality as well as vulnerability severity to provide a full picture of an organization’s security posture. By closely monitoring their Security GPA, the organization could monitor secure project progression.

They also used Security GPA to simplify security conversations with stakeholders of varying levels of technical expertise. The user-friendly score made it easy to present and discuss security levels and transition progress. The financial institution now uses Security GPA on a monthly basis to have continued security conversations that improve its security posture across the organization.

Personalized, Professional Support

The institution had a Frontline Pro subscription, which includes a Digital Defense Personal Security Analyst (PSA). The PSA configured the new infrastructure, helped build new scan policies, analyzed scan results, and provided direct remediation planning guidance. This Pro support gave the financial institution’s project team more time to focus on deploying their new infrastructure, and confidence that their scan policies were in expert hands.

Additional Benefits

Proper Configuration

Misconfigurations can account for 80% of vulnerabilities and they can often be introduced during times of transition. Digital Defense helped the client properly configure the new infrastructure so they could avoid introducing new vulnerabilities and maintain security.

Maximized Resources

Digital Defense also helped the financial institution prioritize remediation tasks. Intelligent prioritization reduces resource drain on IT teams and maximizes their productivity. This helped the client focus their energy on remediating the greatest risks first, based on their organization’s context, and addressing less-critical issues over time.

Is your organization vulnerable?

Proactive protection is the best defense against cyberattacks in 2021 and beyond. With an increasing number of threats on the horizon, it’s critical for IT leaders to fix vulnerabilities before nefarious parties take advantage of your weaknesses.

Fortunately, IT departments can optimize their limited staff and resources. Digital Defense helped this growing financial institution take advantage of the cloud while maximizing visibility, security, and compliance. Through improved vulnerability management, expert advice, and robust analysis and reporting, the client was able to significantly reduce risk during a time of transition.

Join the many financial institutions that trust Digital Defense to maintain their compliance and protect business-critical assets. Get a Quote.

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