You’ve heard the old adage, “Any PR is good PR.” Well, just ask Equifax if that’s true. Its recent breach affected some 143 million Americans. But it’s hardly the first time personally identifiable information (PII) was stolen through a financial-related entity–and it won’t be the last.
Hackers go where the money is, and thanks to omnichannel shopping and mobile banking, that’s pretty much everywhere. This creates big cyber security challenges for organizations that process, store and/or transmit payment data. It’s not just Equifax. Data breaches suffered by Yahoo, Experian, Anthem and untold others have compromised hundreds of millions of Americans’ PII. Once sold on the dark web, this information can be used as fodder for future attacks. In other words, many cyber criminals already have an “in” that makes it even harder to detect instances of financial fraud, account hijacking, intrusions and other threats.
Securing financial data and PII at rest and in transit is a tall order. But as a society, we must believe it’s possible. Digital financial services are the future of commerce as we know it, and we need to protect that future.
The question is how?
Every Organization Needs a SOC
To ensure data and PII security, organizations that process financial transactions need a security operations center (SOC). A SOC centralizes the management of crucial security and risk management-related functions, including:
- A comprehensive view of all log data via a central management console with security information and event management (SIEM)
- Monitoring of network configurations, security controls and policy enforcement in order to verify ongoing compliance with PCI DSS, FFIEC, GLBA and other guidelines
- Security alert triaging
- Incident response
Historically, small and mid-sized financial firms and retailers have struggled to afford a SOC. Instead, they implemented piecemeal security and cyber risk-management strategies that relied heavily on tools and technology. They stockpiled the “latest and greatest” security resources, which overwhelmed IT staffs not completely versed in security.
Meanwhile, the alternative–paying an MSSP to manage these solutions–lacks a cohesive central strategy that ensures this wealth of security resources actually improves security posture.
Now, however, a fully functional, well-staffed SOC is a real possibility for SMBs with SOC-as-a-service. Using this subscription-based model, organizations benefit 24/7 from leading security experts who continuously monitor network traffic, manage and maintain configurations, sift out false positives, hunt for false negatives and respond to threats in real time.
Meaning, anyone can have a best-in-class SOC.
Don’t Make the (Bad) News
As companies like Equifax now realize, there are many pitfalls when it comes to securing financial transactions. From memory-scraping malware at the point of sale to phishing for online banking credentials, the use of already stolen PII for fraud, zero-day vulnerabilities in an information system–the list goes on. For these threats, there’s only one sure defense: a fully operational SOC.