Benefits Of 2FA In Finance

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.

CIAM: The Key To Success

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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.

Bank On Safely With IAM

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.

Dealing With Shadow IT In Finance

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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.

IAM Trends In The Financial Industry

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.

Authorisation & Authentication In IAM

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Authorisation and authentication are two major steps under the access control equation that work hand in hand. Authentication is the process of making sure that the identity of a registered user trying to obtain access to a service or application is valid. On the other hand, authorisation refers to the decision to grant an individual the privilege to access a specific resource or to perform a certain action. When handling data assets and information that are sensitive and confidential, it is crucial to have both authorisation and authentication. Without both of them working in tandem, organisations open themselves up to being at risk and exposing sensitive data to security breaches and unauthorised access. This spells out doom for organisations as it will create a domino effect of negative publicity, losing the trust of potential customers, and financial damages in terms of regulatory fines and reputational losses.

As of late, there are many different authentication mechanisms that can be utilised in the verification of a registered user’s identity.

–      Single Sign On (SSO) allows a user to only need a single set of login credentials to access different services, systems and applications. Some SSO systems use a technique known as federation which means that the applications users are logging in are spread across various domains. With SSO capabilities, the amount of password related cases and help desk calls can be cut down, relieving security departments of much burden and workload. This also ensures that employees will be empowered and productive, due to the end user experiences being more secured and seamless. This helps to combat the likelihood of employees bringing in their own smart devices and giving rise to shadow IT devices that cannot be accounted for and monitored. Organisations can therefore eliminate any vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their IT security infrastructure as long as they have a trusted enterprise SSO solution in practice.

–      Multifactor Authentication (MFA) consists of multiple layers of security and verification. It is a simple practice of adding another factor, such as a one time PIN or a security token, to make it more difficult for unauthorised persons (such as hackers) to access a user account. MFA makes sure of the legitimacy of the registered user who is trying to gain access into their account, preventing identity theft and cases of phishing and fraud. Moreover, with MFA features in place, repeated attacks and attempts to gain unauthorised access by hackers and cyber terrorists will be prohibited as such attacks will work to no avail. With such a robust mechanism, it should not come as a surprise that MFA is one of the most common security practices that has been widely implemented by companies.

–      Consumer Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions offer features such as self-service account management, customer registration, consent and preference management. In addition to those, they also provide multiple authentication capabilities, and those include SSO and MFA.

It is not enough to just have authorisation. Authorisation and authentication are both employed as a foundation for any competent IAM solution.

 

The Boon Of IAM To Financial Services

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In recent years, financial services organisations find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place, as competition increases alongside tightening regulations. The pressure is on the organisations to constantly deliver top-notch services and applications to their customers as well as employees. Coupled with the fact that the list of regulations is always growing, financial services organisations must deal with the risks of data breaches and other security challenges.

In order for financial services organisations to stand out from the rest of the pack, they need to focus on innovating. As a result, many organisations are relying on digital transformations to enhance the way the company operates and the way they interact with potential customers. Making their services digital is a path to ensuring efficiency and productivity, which will confer a competitive advantage upon the organisation.

However, digital transformation and innovation comes with the opportunity cost of having more risks to manage. Having more digital applications and services for the customers’ convenient access will also mean creating more targets for criminals and hackers to exploit. This can, in turn, increase the potential for frauds, digital scams, identity theft, or account compromise.

As a result, some financial services organisations choose to privilege security over innovation so as to mitigate these digital security risks. The number of access points to financial tools and accounts may be reduced, to allow for easier management and access control. Some companies may choose to wait for newer technologies to be introduced into the industry. However, these alternatives will cause the quality of user experience and convenience to suffer. The financial services industry is thus burdened with the dilemma of innovation versus security. With a rising population of tech-savvy digital consumers, being able to access one’s financial systems via mobile has become an important factor. At the same time, employees in the financial services organisations are also empowered to do their jobs more efficiently and streamline work processes to boost productivity levels.

With the introduction of identity and access management (IAM) systems, financial service providers no longer have to stress out over the balance between security and innovation. With IAM, companies can ensure that only the correct people have the correct level of access to specific resources. Moreover, with single sign-on (SSO) and two factor authentication (2FA) among other security features, organisations no longer have to worry over financial data breaches. This gives both the company and the customer a peace of mind. Customers can enjoy a more seamless and cohesive user experience, without security being sacrificed.

The adoption of modern IAM also spells out a future of possibilities for financial service organisations, as their IT teams can thus concentrate on digital transformation initiatives that will be executed on a larger scale. By starting from identity-defined security, a balance can be struck between innovation and security, and they will not seem like opposing ends of a spectrum. IAM solutions thus enable financial services providers to get the best of both worlds from security and innovation.

IAM: Solution To The Financial Industry

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Identity and access management (IAM) is an important element of any IT security system and is one of the security areas that users interact with the most. With a reputation for being able to manage access for corporate resources, IAM empower banks and financial institutions across the globe with the capabilities to deliver easy and convenient experiences for customers. Activities such as paying the bills, checking account details and the application for credit card and loans have been digitalised and brought on the go through mobile applications and devices, all through the aid of IAM that fuels such app-driven mobile activities.

In the industry of financial services and banking institutions, it is mandatory to adhere to regulatory requirements across complex IT security systems. The financial services industry has to keep up with new national and global industry regulations such as the EU’s GDPR, BaFin, SOX, Basel II, and Solvency II. There has been an increasing number of financial supervisory authorities all over the world who make it compulsory for banks and financial services organisations to own and adopt systems that make sure that access rights are both appropriately assigned and recertified. Maintaining regulatory compliance is one of the crucial factors in building a strong company image and reputation, developing and garnering trust from potential customers, without sacrificing the ease and convenience of access to applications and services. By securing mobile applications, financial services companies can reduce the risk of unauthorised access to highly sensitive information such as credit card details, financial transaction, and other confidential personal information. As financial services firms are major targets for hackers and cyber terrorists, such valuable and sensitive data falling into the wrong malicious hands could spell out trouble, with financial fraud, the distribution of malware and identity theft being three of the most serious concerns for both companies and consumers. With a robust IAM program, banks can defend and prevent attacks, while being able to meet the demands of the industry.

IAM has become the leading solution for financial institutions as a result of what they can provide to the complex IT environment of the banking sector. An IAM solution that is flexible and designed to meet financial needs provides user authentication that will not impact customers’ experiences, while ensuring that multiple users are integrated in a secure way. Beyond the provision of data exchange, IAM also offers support for cloud-based services of a dynamic nature. Moreover, the implementation of single sign-on (SSO) allows security risks to be mitigated and enhances user experiences without compromising the integrity of user data.

Another significant advantage that IAM solutions can offer financial institutions is the ability to provide a comprehensive range of reporting and analytics features, empowering banks to proactively document and monitor usage. These features assist in collecting information about application utilization, inactive users and login activity. Aside from identifying users with weak login credentials and gaining insight from customer profiles, financial services firms are able to have auditable paper trails to meet the needs of regulatory compliance.

Cloud Banking Security With IAM

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Bearing in mind the advent of cloud computing, cloud security is starting to become a prime concern for any industry across the globe. As for the financial services industry, highly important and sensitive data is stored all over in spaces located within the cloud that are possessed by the organisation. As cloud computing soon becomes the main thing in which most businesses and establishments are depending to improve business profitability and raise the efficiency of their work processes, cloud security makes sure that work environments can stay productive and versatile, under secured conditions. With more and more hackers and cybercriminals find new and innovative ways to prey on major financial institutions, it is therefore imperative for any firm within the financial sector to mitigate risks and patch any glaring chinks in their IT security armour. Data privacy and cloud security has been gradually growing in terms of regulations getting tighter and more demanding on the financial services organisations. Such businesses and firms have absolutely no margin for error, as one slight mistake can give opportunity for a breach in security network. This will result in data breaches, incurring massive losses and damages in not just the company’s earnings, but also their reputation and the trust that potential customers may have.

That is not all to the issues surrounding the banking and financial services sector. As technology becomes increasingly prevalent in our lives, the quality of living is on a rapid pace of improvement. This therefore gives customers higher demands and expectations when it comes to the delivery of user experiences by the financial services firms. Customers want to be able to conduct business transactions on the go, and able to settle any financial needs they might have with seamlessness and convenience. Moreover, by giving consistent, convenient and secured user experiences to customers, financial services firms are able to secure and gain the trust of customers, therefore contributing to the growth of their reputation and brand image. All these obstacles and hurdles can be easily navigated by financial services companies through the adoption of a modern financial grade identity and access and management (IAM) that can strike a balance between security and business agility. 

With most IAM solutions, they are ideally robust and sufficient to ensure that companies remain compliant towards the industrial regulations and requirements. Access to identity data can be easily monitored and tracked by the companies, and thus shared in safe and secured manners, while capturing the consent of customers. The potential scope of data breaches can be easily minimised by tracking down when, how and by whom the identity data is being accessed, as well as, managing the access to the application to cardholders’ data. With multifactor authentication (MFA) provided by IAM, companies can further reduce risks by regulating access on a case-by-case basis, thus strengthening IT security.

Single sign-on (SSO) is another key feature offered by IAM that ensures that services and applications are easily accessible. Customer experience will thus be enhanced. As businesses move towards a cloud-based future with hybrid IT, IAM is the solution that is here to stay. 

Importance Of Multifactor Authentication In IoT

There is no magical solution to stop cyberattacks from happening once and for all. Hackers will constantly change and adapt their strategies and technologies to target companies and services that reveal their IT security weaknesses. Companies must therefore continuously and consistently update their security infrastructures to maintain robustness and be able to cover all bases.

With the Internet of Things (IoT), the presence of more external devices means an increase in a number of security risks. Before that, one might ask what is IoT all about. To simply put it, IoT is used to refer to the physical devices that are connected to the Internet from all over the world. These includes devices that would normally not be expected to have a connection with the Internet, such as home appliances as well as the new wave of smart home and lifestyle accessories including wearable fitness trackers and smart watches.

In order to mitigate IoT security issues, two factor authentication (2FA) is important. Passwords are seen as the bane to digital security, with password-related cases taking up a good bulk of IT security issues. Passwords are often too weak such that hackers can easily overcome them with textbook methods, or they are too complicated to be remembered by the user. In rare cases, they can be both weak and complicated, creating unnecessary risk to IT security. Hence, there is an importance for 2FA, which is best known for using SMS services to verify actions such as logins or online transactions. For companies, using 2FA as part of the company’s implemented identity and access management (IAM) system is a much more systemic enforcement of security protocols and policies. Beyond SMS, companies can adopt 2FA in a variety of ways from hard tokens that generate One-Time PINs, to biometric authenticators. These are necessary when IoT devices are included in the big picture. Unlike laptops or company-issued devices, IoT devices are not as easily managed and tracked by the IT team, thus they present a high level of security risk to the company and may be more susceptible to exploitations. IoT devices are connected to the same network used by the company and they are a prime targets for hackers wishing to overwhelm a company’s security network through massive botnets and large scale attacks. Moreover, as IoT devices tend to be very minimalistic, they cannot be logged on directly through their interface. Their entire security relies on administrator actions, making the thorough authentication of any updates very crucial.

With recent surveys showing that many organisations have not even heard of multifactor authentication systems for IoT security, it is even more important for organisations to begin strengthening their IoT security infrastructure. Companies who have already adopted multifactor authentication to secure all of their IoT connected devices have brought up how convenient and safe it is, just to have push notifications and security keys.

As the IoT industry continues to work on and bolster the security factors built into their products, companies have an essential need to make sure that IoT devices do not compromise existing security networks and databases.