Growth Customer Experience Productivity Business IQ Trends Success Stories Tech Solutions Subscribe Tech Enquiry
Business IQ

Why modern finance needs to think security

Siobhan Coleman
Finance Journalist

Siobhan Coleman is a financial, marketing and lifestyle writer

Siobhan Coleman
Finance Journalist

Siobhan Coleman is a financial, marketing and lifestyle writer

Malicious hacking, data leaks and electronic fraud are an all-too-common occurence in this digital age. So how can the financial services industry prevent sensitive client information from falling into the wrong hands?

The world is embracing connectivity and new technologies at break-neck speed, but as more information is shared through connected business ecosystems, sensitive data – particularly in finance operations as high value targets – is increasingly vulnerable to cyber security breaches.   

According to the latest Telstra Cyber Security Report, the number of serious security attacks reported by Australian businesses each month has doubled year-on-year. 

In 2015, Telstra’s security partner, Firstwave, blocked 613 million malicious emails on behalf of its clients’ networks. By the end of this year, Firstwave expect 68 per cent of its client emails will carry malicious content. 

Meanwhile, customers expect their personal and financial information to be protected from unauthorised disclosure and use, at all costs. At the same time, shareholders and investors insist on establishing effective controls to avoid liabilities and litigation.


However, despite heightening consumer expectations and hacker incidents, the Telstra Cyber Security Report suggests many Australian businesses still operate under the assumption they won’t be affected by cyber security breaches.  

In particular, it suggests the financial industry is ill-equipped to overcome these potential threats. 

A green radar overlaid on a city

Understanding and defending against new threats

Just as our digital landscape is evolving, so too is the sophistication and scale of cyber security attacks.

In the past, cyber criminals typically targeted credit and debit cards. However, as this year’s report reveals, there’s a growing trend among hackers to steal personal identities, details and healthcare information. It’s all highly valuable data that’s 10 times more lucrative* on the black market.

In 2015, typical cyber security attacks involved:

  • Phishing emails (which were up by 29 per cent)
  • More exploit kit-based malware
  • Ransomware based attacks
  • Mobility threats via personal smartphones and tablets

What’s more, within the financial services industry, these attacks have a much larger impact than simply reissuing credit cards – a company’s reputation and consumer trust is at stake.  

The widening security skills gap

But if you’re not entirely sure what “phishing” and “malware” threats entail, you’re not alone. 

As the Telstra Cyber Security Report suggests, many employees are struggling to understand complex security measures and the jargon that surrounds it, while 62 per cent of organisations admitted they have too few skilled professionals available to implement appropriate security activities.

It’s a major factor in why a large number of security breaches are still caused by human error. A simple mistake can result in the loss of valuable customer or corporate information, or disrupt the network and its services. Ensuring that education and protocols are in place to prevent staff compromising the network (and client information with it) isn’t optional any more. The reputation and bottom line of your business is reliant on these mistakes not being made.

Want to read the white paper?

Check out Telstra’s Cyber Security Report 2016.

Find Out More

Educating staff

Having your team on the same page naturally leads to being able to better detect, prevent and mitigate security capabilities. It’s all part of protecting sensitive data, ensuring compliance and promoting an efficient workforce.

Here’s a few steps finance operations can take to help mitigate threats:

  1. Put a comprehensive, full-time cyber security strategy and plan in place
  2. Check your anti-virus and anti-malware software is up-to-date and active
  3. Ensure your IT department speaks in laymen’s terms when communicating security issues
  4. Educate your staff about phishing and malware
  5. Hold regular briefing sessions on potential security risks and business impact
  6. Implement tools to provide real-time auditing of use of unauthorised cloud applications and potential data exposures

Enlist the help of experts

Cyber security is a significant issue – and one that no organisation can handle alone. Ensuring that businesses you partner with – whether they’re supplying cloud or CRM, payments or process software – are meeting best-practice security protocols can help to limit exposure to threats and minimise risk.

It’s also important to explore opportunities to engage with experts or partners to understand cyber security in a way that everyone, from senior executives to junior staff, can understand and implement on a day-to-day basis.

Complemented with solutions that fit seamlessly into operations and cater for the changing demands of customers when it comes to their financial institution, this knowledge can give businesses the best chance for success. 

Are you concerned about your business security? 

Book your business for a free security health check today.

Find Out More

Unfiltered Conversations: Happiness, resilience and work-life balance for mental and physical health
Success Stories
Success Stories
Unfiltered Conversations: Happiness, resilience and work-life balance for mental and physical health

With Natasha Chadwick and Carolyn Creswell Unfiltered Conversations pairs brilliant business women who are disrupting the status quo, for an honest, intimate and authentic conv...

Solution to misplacing assets: Tagging with tech
Tech Solutions
Tech Solutions
Solution to misplacing assets: Tagging with tech

Looking for a way to secure the tools of your trade? From tools on a work site to the electronic devices across your business, new tagging technology offers you simple, quick a...

How-to: Prepare your business for E-commerce sales holidays
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
How-to: Prepare your business for E-commerce sales holidays

Customers love online bargains – no surprises there. But in recent years, digital sales events such as local efforts Click Frenzy in May and the U.S’s Black Friday have had a r...

Flexibility in practice: tips and insights from our Telstra Business Women’s Awards winners
Success Stories
Success Stories
Flexibility in practice: tips and insights from our Telstra Business Women’s Awards winners

Is the traditional work week redundant? For a growing number of small-to-medium businesses, the days of clocking on at 9am and clocking off at 5:01pm are already gone. As are v...