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Financial services institutions have long been a top target for cyber threats. Access to a large amount of sensitive and confidential information makes the financial sector a target-rich environment for cyberattacks. In addition to mitigating cybersecurity threats, financial firms must also prioritize maintaining and strengthening compliance. These balance of these two priorities presents a unique set of challenges for companies in financial services.

With the inherent diversity of the financial services sector and the shifting cybersecurity and compliance landscape, identifying a one-size-fits-all set of vulnerabilities for all financial services institutions is impossible. However, there are common vulnerabilities to be aware of.

  • Reactively Evaluating Current Cybersecurity Posture:

    Institutions cannot address cybersecurity and compliance vulnerabilities of which they are unaware. Moreover, leaving these vulnerabilities unaddressed can have costly consequences. If unaddressed until an incident occurs, institutions have no choice but to utilize a reactive approach that can leave the business facing outages and shaken customer confidence. Instead, financial service firms should consider taking a proactive approach. By utilizing Coretelligent’s Cybersecurity Evaluation Checklist designed for financial services as a jumping-off point, financial service firms can do an initial assessment of existing vulnerabilities to discuss with a managed service provider (MSP).

  • Ransomware Attacks:

    As the world continues to become more digitally integrated, opportunities for ransomware attacks grow exponentially. In a ransomware attack, attackers use malware to gain access to your organization’s systems or data and hold that data until a ransom is paid by the organization. The results of these attacks are devastating. In addition to the price of the ransom, there are legal fees and other costs associated with damage control, as well as potential loss of data.

  • Access Vulnerability:

    Flaws in various levels of access to information can leave sensitive data exposed and vulnerable for attackers. Cybersecurity integration is key across all divisions and at all levels of access in an organization. Cybercriminals will seek to exploit any weaknesses identified at any level, regardless of the internal structure of the business.

  • Managing Compliance:

    The evolution of information technology has increased the compliance burden on the financial services industry. Financial service organizations are amongst the most regulated business segments in the U.S. However, simply maintaining compliance may no longer be enough. Instead, actively managing compliance risk and strengthening compliance overall is key in earning customer confidence and avoiding costly penalties.

  • Business Continuity:

    What comes next if the worst happens and a cyberattack hits your company? Is your data backed up safely? How quickly would you be able to restore access to users? A proactive and dynamic backup and disaster recovery solution is critical for preventing business interruption and loss of essential data, which could trigger a compliance violation. Off-the-shelf, onsite backup solutions often do not provide the level of performance required to meet the needs of financial and investment organizations. It is vital to establish a solution before an outage to ensure timely recovery and minimize interruption time for clients.

Addressing security and compliance vulnerabilities may seem challenging, but Coretelligent can help. Working with Coretelligent means working with an IT partner who understands both the security and compliance needs of the financial services sector. Contact us today at 855-841-5888 or fill out our online form.

How to Effectively Assess Enterprise Backup Solutions?Disasters and cyber-attacks happen, but data loss does not have to be inevitable. Data loss can be avoided or mitigated with a robust backup and disaster recovery solution (BDR). Surviving a catastrophic data loss event depends on choosing the right BDR solution. But you need to understand the critical components in order to successfully evaluate enterprise backup solutions.

What is BDR?

Comprehensive BDR solutions offer recovery options for various data loss scenarios. Determining the correct solution is a deliberate and tactical process that evaluates business data, applications, operations, and risk exposure.

Solutions often include a hybrid of daily backups and more frequent replication of virtual servers to a secondary storage site for rapid recovery. They may also include cloud-to-cloud (C2C) backup, especially for companies that use SaaS applications like Microsoft365. Daily backups provide long-term recovery capabilities. While backup replication allows for the rapid failover of business operations to a disaster recovery (DR) site.

At this point, it’s important to point out the pitfall of relying on a primary cloud provider as a backup source for your data. Several of the larger cloud services note that they are not responsible for maintaining the integrity of data stored on their systems. Instead, it is critical to choose a BDR partner with an appropriate backup and disaster recovery solution. A true BDR solution involves more than just having a second copy of your data. A BDR process ensures that your data is redundant, accessible, and viable.

What Does a Secure BDR Solution Encompass?

Every company has its own set of data recovery requirements. Therefore, recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) will vary. RPOs identify how often data should be backed up or replicated. In contrast, a RTO describes how quickly data can be recovered.

Furthermore, regulatory or compliance standards must be evaluated to see whether they have any consequences for data security. For example, financial services and life science companies are subject to stringent rules regarding the protection of digital assets.

Another necessary element in a data backup and disaster recovery strategy is developing and documenting a BDR plan. A BDR plan includes procedures for recovering data and systems, testing and validation methods, and identifying essential recovery personnel. This plan is crucial to ensure business continuity.

A final must-have component for any BDR plan is testing the recovery process regularly. Any difficulties or failures discovered throughout the testing process can be recorded and analyzed for modifications to the BDR strategy. In addition, test laboratories can be set up within a “sandbox” environment to minimize disruption to the manufacturing environment.


The ABCs of BDR WhitepaperWhite Paper Download

The ABCs of Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR)

This white paper explains how data loss occurs, how backup and disaster recovery (BDR) works and helps you understand what to plan for and how to evaluate your BDR solution.

Three Core Principles

Whatever your BDR strategy entails, it should provide the core values of scalability, reliability, and resiliency.

  • Scalable BDR solutions expand as your business grows without exceptional effort by your team.
  • Whether on-premise or a cloud backup, a reliable solution is fully redundant and accessible from any physical location.
  • Resiliency requires protecting data from ransomware attacks and other threats.

Advanced recovery solutions take a multi-pronged approach in managing risk, including a dedicated team of professionals available for client support.

A Trusted BDR Partner

CoreBDR, Coretelligent’s fully managed backup and disaster recovery solution, meets the data protection requirements of the digital enterprise. CoreBDR offers secure, high-performance, cloud-based backup and restoration to deliver operational resiliency to your organization. CoreBDR is available for organizations with on-premise infrastructure and cloud environments and can be customized to fit your business operations. Our expert team has deep experience delivering to clients of all sizes in financial services, life sciences, and other industries.

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Data Governance Program?

Last month we shared the first in our series about the importance of having a data governance program. With this post, we go more in-depth about why data governance is the key to unlocking the power of your data to drive growth and avoid risk.

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Data Governance Program?

What is a Data Governance Program?

Data is the new currency in today’s business climate, and data governance ensures that your company has an organized system for managing this invaluable asset. A data governance program combines people, processes, and technology to guarantee reliable access to data so it can be effectively leveraged. To learn more about data governance basics, read The Future of Analytics is in Data Governance: Are You Prepared?.

How Does Data Governance Fit into Data Management?

Where data governance is a program for managing the roles, responsibilities, and processes of data assets, data management is the operation concerned with the quality and accessibility of data. Data management oversees all aspects of data— storing, maintaining, protecting—but data governance provides the raison d’être. If data management comprises the tactics, then data governance encompasses the strategy. One comes before the other.


Related Content → Best Practices for Good Enterprise Data Governance Guide


Why is a Good Data Governance Program Necessary?

There are two main forces behind establishing good data governance in an enterprise.

1. Improve Efficiencies, Reduce Costs, and Increase Revenue

A primary goal of data governance is to eliminate data silos that can occur in an organization. When data silos build up, they can inhibit the flow of information and make sharing knowledge difficult. Data governance is a collaborative process that recognizes the value of data and aims to break down barriers by harmonizing data within an organization through collaboration and coordination with the implementation of enterprise data architecture. Ideally, that will lead to competitive advantages and increased revenue and profits.

2. Increase Compliance and Reduce Risk

Another data governance goal is to ensure that data is compliance appropriate. That can be accomplished by creating uniform policies and procedures to monitor usage and include enforcement to eliminate risk from data loss and other issues. In addition, data governance can help to strike a balance between data collection practices and privacy mandates.

Data Solutions with Coretelligent

Coretelligent works with a variety of technology partners to provide next-generation cloud-based file sharing and collaboration. Building upon this foundation, Coretelligent adds its experience and support to offer powerful controls for data management. Our approach combines an effortless solution with maximum usability, so your enterprise can focus on what’s important—growing revenue.

Providing guidance and support is just part of what we at Coretelligent offer our clients. Our solutions include IT planning, 24/7/365 support, cloud computing, cybersecurity, disaster recovery readiness, and more. Reach out to learn about any of our technology solutions.

Coretelligent logo & three professionals using a computer.

Data Loss PreventionsWe all know how stressful it is to lose something. If you’ve ever lost your wallet, you know the consequences can drag on for some time. You need to contact your credit card companies and bank, request a new license, and update accounts with new card information. Even if everything works out, the fear of what happened to your lost information may last a while. Now imagine if you were an organization that lost hundreds of thousands of records containing personally identifiable information (PII) or personal health information (PHI). This year alone, several major companies like Marriott, Nintendo, and Intel experienced data breaches. Intel had 20 GB of proprietary data leaked, which included information on products that haven’t been released yet.

Data loss can result from many factors, including internal and external threats, system errors, or even human behavior. Regardless of the cause, there are steps that your business can take to prevent data loss and reduce the length and overall cost of damages. The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) notes data loss prevention as a critical area in their report on Cybersecurity and Resilience Observations.

What is Data Loss Prevention?

Data loss prevention involves having systems, tools, policies, and training to prevent data from being misused, lost, or accessed by unauthorized users. Preventing data loss is especially crucial for businesses that handle sensitive information like personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property (IP), and personal health information (PHI). IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report found that PII was compromised more than any other data type. PII also cost businesses more, up to $175 per record.

For those in highly regulated industries, like financial services and life sciences, data loss prevention is required. Data management and security are crucial elements in FDA Title 21, CFR Part 11, HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), FINRA, and SEC rule 17a-4. Keep in mind that many of these regulations require preventative measures, specific actions, and documentation in the event of a data breach.

The Cost of Data Loss

Whether you experience data leakage from an inside user or permanent data loss from a malicious attack, there are long term consequences. Decreased productivity, tarnished reputation, legal fees, and remediation expenses are only a few of the costs. For many organizations, it can take years to recover from the damage. Unfortunately, some businesses don’t survive and are forced to close.

Even if you experience a breach, having a data loss prevention strategy can reduce the costs. The average cost of a breach is $3.86 million. Data loss prevention can reduce the overall cost of a breach by $164,386, according to IBM’s 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report.

Developing a Strategy

To meet compliance standards and secure your data, your organization needs to have a comprehensive security plan that includes preventative and responsive actions.

Develop Comprehensive Policies

When we think about cybersecurity and data protection, we often think of technology. Although technology is a significant factor in security, policies set the tone for the organization and provide guidance on which technology solutions are needed. A lack of policies and procedures can undermine even the best technologies.

Create an Asset Inventory

You can’t protect your data if you don’t know where it is. Develop an asset inventory that lists all of your data, where it lives, and how it’s being protected. Be sure to note your critical assets and systems that would affect your business operations.

Assess and Treat Vulnerabilities

To understand how your organization could experience data loss, you need to be aware of what vulnerabilities exist in your environment. Run regular vulnerability assessments and penetration tests to stay on top of your current weaknesses.

Create and implement treatment plans for discovered vulnerabilities, e.g., patch management schedule, awareness training, and comprehensive policies.

Implement Access Control

Determine paths of ingress and egress for sensitive information. Determine who has access to sensitive data and implement the principal of least privilege to ensure that access is restricted to only those that should have it. Ensure access and usage are audited. Implement appropriate restrictions and logging at all points of egress. This may include digital rights management to protect sensitive documents even if they are distributed.

Conduct Security Awareness Training

Since risky human behaviors are among the top causes of data breaches, it’s essential to conduct quarterly or semi-annual security awareness training. Training raises awareness and provides users with the skills to identify malicious emails and phishing tactics. It also teaches them what steps to take if they have received this type of content.

Implement Perimeter and Endpoint Security

Remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. The perimeter of your network is no longer limited to the boundaries your office or datacenter. You need to ensure that you have total visibility into all incoming and outgoing network traffic, including your endpoints. Implement firewalls, endpoint protection platforms, and email security. These tools will give your IT team or MSP the visibility they need and the ability to respond to threats quickly.

Having a dedicated security team to actively monitor your environment around the clock allows them to respond quickly to suspicious activities occurring on your network.

Properly Dispose of Legacy Systems

Remove software that is no longer receiving security patching from the vendor. Ensure that all sensitive data is removed when disposing of outdated software and hardware. Use disposal or recycling vendors that provide a certificate of destruction.

Create a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

Unfortunately, even with the best security measures in place, data loss can be inevitable. That’s why you need to have regular and tested backups along with a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. A plan will help your organization maintain business continuity and compliance while addressing a disaster or breach.

Staying Compliant and Protecting Your Data

Data loss can have a significant and irreversible impact on your business. Data loss prevention is an essential component of your overall security posture. To be compliant, you must secure and monitor your data continuously. New threats and vulnerabilities exist every day. It can be challenging to balance security, compliance, and day-to-day support. Coretelligent can help you whether you need a strategic partner to co-manage IT, fully managed IT support or comprehensive security solutions. We understand the unique needs of organizations in highly regulated industries like financial services and life sciences. Do you need help strengthening your security or have questions around IT compliance? We are here to help. Call us at 855-841-5888 or contact us.

Read our white paper to learn how you can maintain IT compliance in a digital enterprise.