The scrutiny of financial services companies and banks has been growing in intensity over the past few years, as customers and industrial regulators start to have higher and stricter demands. This should come as no surprise, however, given that banking and financial services companies hold some of the most valuable data in the world. These institutions in the financial sector are major prime targets for criminals and hackers who desire to make hefty sums of profit from the sensitive information being stored in critical systems and applications. As a result, there is mounting legal and social pressure from consumers and the authorities such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. No corporation, be it big or small, can escape these tight laws and the watchful eyes of the general public who have entrusted their personal information over.
But, business owners of banking and financial services firms need not lose sleep over these circumstances. One simple yet efficient step into ensuring the digital security of the organisation and its services is through the use of two factor authentication (2FA). What 2FA provides is an extra step to the process of logging in and acts as another door of security. Even if hackers and identity thieves somehow manage to break past the first layer of security, 2FA is present to stop them as well as buy time for the IT administrators to activate countermeasures and shut down all malicious attacks. Usually, any competent and modern identity and access management solution will come along with 2FA capabilities.
Traditionally, there are three factors during the authentication process. The first factor is something the user knows such as the password they have created for themselves. The following factor is something the user has. This could be a mobile phone or any other device that is connected. The third factor is something that can be used to verify the user’s identity. Simply put it, this could range from the fingerprints of the user or even their facial features. How 2FA enhances IT security is that it utilises two of these three factors.
Applications and systems that have 2FA in place will require the user to provide an additional piece of information such as an email address or a mobile phone number, which will be accompanied by a password or PIN number. The most common approach is to use a time based one time password algorithm. A password is generated from a secret key which only works for a short amount of time. The user must therefore enter this generated PIN as they are logging in with their credentials before the time limit runs out. Once the PIN has expired, they have no choice but to repeat the whole process again. Other alternative methods can include prompting the user to provide a fingerprint or scanning of eye and/or facial features for recognition. Such methods are also known as biometric authentication.
The presence of 2FA methods can easily shut down repetitive attacks from hackers. It is no surprise that the top IAM solutions provide 2FA.
As of now, the migration towards the cloud has been increasingly fast. Companies and businesses of all sizes are accelerating towards cloud based technologies and solutions, with even the giant corporations racing to keep up with the times.
Every business wants to be more agile and more innovative, in order to maintain a competitive advantage over potential rivals. They also want to ensure that their digital security game is constantly strong. Customer relations have therefore become the best area for enterprises to invest effort and time into improvements and developments. With a strong customer identity and access management (IAM) solution, the organisation will have a crucial cornerstone for business success.
Customer IAM empowers organisations to form innovative and targeted strategies moving forward to be able to meet the needs of consumers in better ways. Additionally, customer IAM strategies make sure that regulatory compliance is met, in accordance to strict industrial standards. In doing so, it is easier to forge trust and respect within the customers once they observe that the company has passed through stringent vetting. Besides that, customer IAM helps companies to organise all sensitive and confidential data that pertains to their customers in a single storage point. Furthermore, businesses that are on their pathway to digital transformation can continue to keep their sales on track, while maintaining consistent customer engagement all the way through the challenging process.
How does a customer IAM solution provide the benefits that are springboards for digital success? Read on to find out!
First of all, customer IAM is the stepping stone towards single view. As markets grow more competitive, catering to the interests and needs of potential customers has become much more relevant than before. Storing all information with regards to customers who have signed on and utilised the brand’s services within a single point not only ensures data security, but it also assists the marketing side of organisations. How so? Customer IAM solutions empower the marketing team with the creation of extensive customer profiles that can be accessed through a single view. All information that is related to login activity, devices and even purchase histories can be accessed. This in turn provides valuable business insight into each customer and enables the company to tailor their services to enhance customer user experiences. Personalised engagements is very critical to ensuring that sales leads will be converted to business transactions, thus generating more stable revenue for the business from customers who are more likely to continue using their services and products. In this era of social media, developing relationships between the company and the consumer is a gateway towards marketing and retail success.
Customer retention can be made much easier and more efficient when the user experience is seamless and frictionless. Customer IAM provides features such as registration management and single sign on (SSO) which streamlines the process of logging on and remembering passwords for different channels. Customers enjoy enhanced experiences, knowing that their data is in secured hands.
With customer IAM, businesses can modernise for digital success.
As the twenty first century sees a new age of technological advancements and innovation, the world of banking and financial services has changed. Today, customers no longer have to make the trip down to a local bank just to settle their financial issues and needs. With the Internet and the state of our current technology, everything has become digitalised and mobile, creating a new wave of digitalised transactions. When it comes to online banking, the benefits are many. For banks and financial institutions, they are able to be cost effective when it comes to enhancing work productivity. For other business partners, customers and employees, everything is made more convenient as well as having each interaction with the company being a personalised experience.
However, not everything is a bed of roses. Online banking and financial services have their fair share of drawbacks. With the news of recent security breaches and major banking and financial services firms becoming a juicy target for hackers, customers and partners may start to grow wary of sharing their personal data online. With a modern financial grade identity and access management (IAM) systems, not all hope is lost for the modern banker. Compared to the traditional IAM systems, this new generation of off-the-shelf IAM software has emerged to provide sophisticated infrastructure and algorithms that will ensure cloud-based and mobility-based businesses remain secured. In addition, modern IAM ensures that the right people are authorised to access financial services and systems. IAM solutions also come equipped with multifactor authentication mechanisms to ensure that the users are who they claim to be. Moreover, modern IAM solutions are much easier to use and deploy. As they are developed with a mobile-first mindset, the extremely intuitive nature of such modern IAM solutions will make the experiences for both employee and customer very easy to learn and therefore, much more appealing. With the extra security features, such as single sign-on (SSO) functionality, customers are able to trust their shared data will be kept and stored in safe conditions. Not only does this contribute to increased brand loyalty in the financial institution, but it also spells out a raise in bottom-line savings for the organisation at large. Research has brought to light evidence that many financial services organisations end up making significant cost savings as a result of enjoying the new connectivity and security standards offered by modern IAM solutions. With password recovery and password management related issues greatly reduced, banks and financial services firms are able to better budget their IT security, who can now focus on executing large scale initiatives and projects. Another unique set of benefits that banks and financial services firms can obtain through the adoption of modern IAM is the reporting and analytical features that will empower the company with proactive monitoring and documenting of usage by customers. Through the extensive view of customer profiles, marketing teams will be able to analyse login activity and application utilisation. On top of that, IAM ensures regulatory compliance. With IAM, customers and financial institutions can bank on.
Whether they realise it or not, organisations across various markets and industries have recently found themselves having to deal with the effects of shadow IT. Shadow IT refers to the technology that has been adopted and brought in by individual employees or business units to the office environment, without the consent or the knowledge of the organisation’s IT security teams. Due to the vibrant market of software-as-a-service (SaaS) services and applications rising in popularity, many business managers no longer feel the need to go through the corporate IT teams to obtain the application functionalities they need for their jobs. This as a result enables shadow IT, made more prevalent because of how accessible and convenient the market is. Just through superficial surveying, many corporate executives are not aware that there are shadow applications and services being in use within their workplace environment. Some of them may not even be familiar or informed about the concept of shadow IT. While the organisation may be infiltrated by the presence of these shadow applications and services, it does not spell doom and gloom for them. While these applications can serve to help business units and employees in their job scopes, there is however potential risks to IT and data security.
One such immediate concern is identity and access management (IAM). Employees may find themselves locked out of important applications and services should they fail to recall their passwords. On the other hand, there is the great risk of employees reusing the same passwords for different services and applications, from personal web sites to corporate accounts. This could open up organisations to vulnerabilities and expose them to attacks from hackers and cyber terrorists if these accounts and services end up becoming compromised. In addition, there is the issue of making sure that employees can only access features and data that is relevant to their duties and scope of work. It is also crucial for the timely removal of application access and other account privileges when employees leave an organisation. If the IT team is not aware or able to monitor the records of account and log-in details of a given cloud service or application, this deprovisioning of accounts will not be completed. Beyond that, given the nature of the shadow application or service, IT teams will not be able to track the usage of applications across the organisation. This is important for the criteria of cost control especially when paying for SaaS applications based on the number of employees and business units.
In the face of cloud based applications, how can IT departments get back control over IAM? One idea is to utilise single sign on (SSO) for all cloud based applications. Doing so will eliminate the issue of reusing passwords while adding extra layers of security. IT teams can also take a risk-based approach and edit security policies accordingly.
For financial services firms, shadow IT poses a serious risk to the security of organisations and could have major consequences for regulatory compliance and operations.
The largest entities of the financial services industry have been at the forefront of adopting identity and access management(IAM) solutions for close to a decade. With the need to implementing IAM on the rise, mid-sized and smaller financial services organisations are starting to use IAM solutions, so as to achieve better regulatory compliance and prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information.
The technology of IAM was first introduced in the beginning of 2000, when the Internet began to revolutionise how people worked and operated and organisations began to be able to do much more with shared computing. As their application infrastructure became highly complex, with financial services organisations having to move off the mainframe to use hundreds of applications across the Internet and their networks, there was a crucial need for a central management system of access. As a result, financial institutions eventually positioned themselves to be at the front edge of the adoption of IAM. The need for management programs stemmed from the fact that financial services firms do not have a lot of the specialisation that is relevant for IAM, which brings to light the inability to manage IAM adequately on a one-off basis. The need for audit controls and data protection, as well as the strict regulatory requirements in the industry, is what fuels the transparent paper trails that allow reports to be produced at faster rates. As a result, this important factor is an elaboration of why financial services organisations turn out to be at the head of the pack when it comes to the adoption of IAM solutions.
Across the financial services industry, there is a major recognition for IAM to be a core security infrastructure that needs to prioritised and given attention. As most financial services organisations are working towards a future driven by identity, they have recognised at this point in time that there is a need to plan for a modern identity management infrastructure. As more services and applications are outsourced and moving towards cloud-based platforms, more concerns and challenges for IT security are bound to surface. Such issues can be mitigated by financial institutions through IAM solutions.
In addition, larger financial services institutions are deep in contemplation over the use of IAM. Aside from the debate over internal and external IAM and the outsourcing of identity management technologies, there are various types of IAM that have different functions and are put to use differently. While an organisation can utilise employee IAM, financial services organisations in particularly can gain great use out of consumer-side IAM solutions that cater towards the needs of the financial services industry. Audits have revealed the imperative for organisations to progress and move towards the implementation of an IAM infrastructure.
As IAM is founded on the principle of least privilege, which means that the right people have access to the applications and systems that are needed for their work, transparency and security policies can be enforced. This transparency is why IAM has been gaining traction within the financial services industry.