Where Does the Banking Industry Rank in the Cyber Security Game?

Igor Izraylevych

3 min read

Any industry that has strict regulations and compliance requirements is a complex one, and banks know this all too well. 

Regulatory compliance for banks is one of the hardest standards to adhere to in software development. In order for software development to safely follow these best practices it is critical to partner with people that know how to do it correctly the first time. 

We want to delve into the details of how regulatory and security requirements tie into your main project, and who specializes in supporting companies that undertake such projects.

Cyber security in banking has become one of the most challenging issues in the sector. There are hundreds of thousands of potential attackers that are geared towards illegally accessing client funds through various attack vectors. 

The only way to prevent these kinds of attacks from being carried out successfully is to integrate best practices directly into your software. 

One of the best examples of this are the OWASP Top 10 Proactive Controls which outlines how to prevent data from being accessed by third parties such as hackers, sniffers and malware.

If you are looking to build your own banking app with built in protection against security threats then you need to ask questions. Think about what you can build into your banking solution that lines up with your security requirements. Compliance is a huge issue in the banking sector, and if you want to compete then you need to make sure that your products are in line with these regulations.

Information security and regulations are two areas in your product development where you will spend a large amount of time as they directly impact your ability to access the market. If you don’t get this right, then you risk losing your license. If this happens then you cannot compete at any level in the market, which could be catastrophic to your business.

Project Planning

A lot of businesses make the mistake of rushing through the planning stages of an app development project, hoping to fill in the blanks as they make progress. 

This might be a valid approach in some industries where failure is an acceptable part of the prototyping phase, but this is not the case with a banking system. Online banking security has to be at the core of the application’s development, and that security has to be in accordance with the compliance requirements of the banking cyber security regulations.

As you can see these issues are nested within a larger framework of compliance and security, which is not something that most software development teams are familiar with. 

Internet banking security has come under intense pressure in previous years, thanks in part to its popularity and the fact that cyber criminals have become more tech savvy as targets move into the online space. 

Mobile banking security also plays a massive role with many people opting to interface with their banks via a mobile device.

Once you have established a baseline of objectives and solutions for your project then you need to start mapping these controls out onto the security frameworks that you will be following. 

For example if we think about user journeys as they log into an application. How are we storing that Personally Identifiable Information? Where is it being stored? Which compliance must be followed for this region? Is GDPR a concern for this user? Which regulatory bodies do you have to communicate with in order to meet their compliance requirements?

On the back end, you also need to ensure that the compliance standards are followed regarding data access and controls. 

Who can access user data? What kind of change controls are in place? What regulatory compliance is needed to store audit logs of data access? Access control is a huge part of the cyber security puzzle, and compliance naturally dictates implementation. 

So in order to comply with regulations you not only need to follow the market regulations regarding user data, you also need to follow the regulatory guidelines on implementing the safeguards that make compliance possible in the first place.

This is not an easy undertaking for any development team as they need to take the following into account:

Banking Security Standards

Your products must comply with these standards and also follow any and all recommendations. Your applications are audited and scrutinized to ensure compliance within the region that you are operating. 

If your product services multiple regions then it must segment that data accordingly so that it complies with data security practices as well.

Banking Cyber Security Regulations

If you are implementing an online application that requires that users log in with Personally Identifiable Information then you have to ensure that your systems are water-tight. 

In order to deploy your application you will have to submit it to intense pen testing and other evaluations to ensure that you are following security best practices.

Banking Regulations Compliance

After taking the previous two elements into consideration you then have to contend with the actual banking regulations compliance aspect of your product. 

How does the inner workings of this product, application or service work? Does it align with pre existing products, or does it need to be run through a verification process to ensure that it operates responsibly within the banking sector?

And again we have more layers of complexity within each of these items mixed in with security challenges and security risks. The result of all of these factors again points to the need for an experienced partner that can help navigate these issues as they relate to regulations and cyber security in banking.

Choosing the Right Partner for your Project

When it comes to partner choices in the Fintech space, there are few with experience like S-PRO. We are familiar with standardized Fintech security practices and requirements especially as they relate to banking security standards, compliance and regulations. 

As a result we can help you with PCI DSS/PA DSS compliance and PSD2 integration. We have the experience in adapting projects according to the EU’s Payment Services Directive PSD2 so we will be able to steer your project in the right direction.

Igor Izraylevych