Security Integration By Design


By Paul McNamara, Senior Solutions Engineer at Edgio

The finance sector’s cybersecurity threat landscape is expanding at an alarming rate. With the emergence of new attack vectors and technologies, cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, targeting financial institutions with greater aggression and creativity. As a result, the conversation on cybersecurity within the industry becomes more critical than ever. Financial organisations must stay vigilant, updating their security protocols and investing in solutions to protect sensitive customer data and financial assets from cyber threats.

A mindset shift is required. It’s no longer a case of trying to prevent the inevitable – security must be included by design across all functions of financial organisations. To ensure that organisations remain secure, leaders must not treat cybersecurity as a separate process, but bake it into everything they do. With a major hack of a financial services payments system potentially costing the world $3.5 trillion, this has never been more important. With security involved in every step of the development process, businesses can reduce friction and mitigate the risk of creating an unsecured application.

Back to basics 

When approaching security by design, leaders need to keep things simple and cover the basics first. Develop a focus on the essential, not the exceptional. On a simple level, this means identifying anything exposed to the internet, and ensuring that it is protected. With an average data breach costing businesses $4.35 million, it represents a big loss for corporations.

The best way to ensure businesses are protected is with a holistic, end-to-end approach to cybersecurity. From basic infrastructure to DDoS protections to applications, every layer requires evaluation – and it’s not just for the threat of breaches. Holistic security solutions will protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of your data. While a focus on threats is invaluable, keeping a website up and running proves equally important.

Having the right solutions, capabilities and processes in place is vital so that businesses can use their money and resources wisely. For instance, even with the most sophisticated security solutions in place, too much focus on a specific threat, such as application hacking, leaves the remaining systems or infrastructure vulnerable. 360-degree protection across networks and applications ensures that the entire business, and its revenue, is protected.

It’s more than just prevention 

Taking this holistic approach to security one step further, businesses must look beyond the prevention of attacks, and extend their strategy to detection and response. Think of it like getting sick. An individual can maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly, but this does not prevent them from eventually catching a cold. In cybersecurity terms, a business can only do so much to prevent an attack, but the likelihood of being a target is inevitable.

It’s about setting expectations with shareholders and executives that security is a business enabler, not just a strategy to prevent attacks. Building a culture around prevention, detection, and response enables businesses to focus on what they can control, rather than trying to predict the impossible. They can then react faster, reduce downtime, and have the flexibility and confidence to deal with any situation that comes their way.

For instance, when businesses look beyond prevention, they can innovate to improve performance. WAAP (web application and API protection) solutions and a distributed edge network enable instant propagations on configured deployments, allowing businesses to test updates without going offline, limiting the impact on site performance and customer experience.

As for dealing with incoming traffic, businesses must follow a similar approach – moving from bot mitigation to bot management. With internet traffic increasingly coming from automated bots, tracking, categorising, and mitigating bad bot traffic can help businesses to reduce needless consumption of data and network resources. Instead of a preventative blanket approach in blocking all bots, bot management also allows business critical automation to carry on as usual, gaining visibility across all bot traffic and allowing partners to query APIs.

Embed security into corporate culture

Although having the right infrastructure and solutions in place is vital, building a security-minded culture is the best way to fully integrate these practices. People are still the same, although the technology and threat landscape keeps changing. They are a business’ biggest asset and biggest problem, and shifting their mindset, knowledge, and experience is critical to move forward.

Technology transformation and digital innovation follow human behaviour. If employees are finding comfort in tried and tested solutions, it is easy to acquire technology debt and endanger operations by running on legacy systems. Building a culture based on trust is key. Business to business, entity to entity, and employee to employee, instilling this emphasis on trust ensures that security remains a top priority and reduces employee susceptibility to phishing attacks.

Companies in the financial sector should return to the fundamentals of cybersecurity, shifting away from a solely prevention-focused mindset, and foster a cultural shift to facilitate improvement and safeguard themselves in the future. In the face of increasing cyber threats, leaders need to view security as a tool to enhance performance and prevent attacks, rather than an afterthought.


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