Almost two-thirds of financial services firms have suffered a cyberattack in last 12 months: Study

65% of large Financial Services (FS) firms have suffered a cyber-attack in the last 12 months, according to HelpSystems? study, titled Cybersecurity Challenges in Financial Services.

The research with 250 CISOs and CIOs in global FS firms also showed the impact that COVID-19 is having on FS firms? cybersecurity, with 45% of respondents reporting an increase in cyber-attacks since the pandemic first emerged. Securing the remote workforce has become a key objective for 42% of FS firms, while almost half (47%) have already increased their investment in secure collaboration tools.

92% of FS organizations have increased their cybersecurity investment over the previous 12 months, 26% significantly so. The main investment priorities for CISOs over the next 12 months include secure file transfer (64%), protecting the remote workforce (63%) and cloud/Office 365 (56%).

?It?s a highly challenging cybersecurity landscape for the financial services sector, with many CISOs focused in battling day-to-day threats alongside trying to achieve broader strategic objectives,? said Kate Bolseth, CEO, HelpSystems. ?Technology is a key part of cybersecurity of course, and no organization will ever be secure without the right security solutions to protect the organization here and now. But of equal importance, especially for longer-term strategic goals, is ensuring the right processes are in place and educating and training employees.?

The study revealed that the two threats with most potential to cause damage were cybersecurity weaknesses in the supply chain (46%) and increased working from home due to COVID-19 (36%). The extent to which COVID-19 has impacted cybersecurity strategies in FS firms around the world was clear. Around one-third of respondents had reacted quickly to update their regulatory best practices and 46% had re-evaluated their cybersecurity training and policies to better reflect the increased home working.   

Almost half of respondents felt that COVID-19 has accelerated changes that were already in discussions, such as a move to Office 365. Such changes form part of broader digital transformation strategies, which was seen as the main challenge facing FS, both now and in three years? time.

?FS is such an important sector, the backbone of the global economy, so keeping it secure and operational is a major priority,? continued Kate Bolseth. ?Cyber-attacks are growing in volume and severity, so FS firms need to not only protect the organization against day-to-day threats, but also make the transition to digital, meet regulatory demands, and secure a remote workforce in the light of COVID-19. It?s really tough and there?s no silver bullet, just constant evolution in the face of the changing threatscape.?

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