Rising cyber resilience in Middle East banking, financial institutions
Results from a survey recently conducted by DarkMatter indicate that cyber security awareness within banking and financial services institutions is reaching new heights, with over 70 per cent of respondents to the survey reporting that their organisations possessed a Chief Information Security Officer or equivalent senior management position. However, the objective for banks and financial institutions to embrace cyber security at an organisational level and have it permeate across all areas of the business is still some way off with only approximately half of respondents saying they possessed a Board-level representative with a cyber security focus.
Oversight for cyber security at Board-level is a significant step toward combating growing threats within organisations as it showcases an important shift in outlook to embracing cyber security as an overall business issue rather than merely an IT play. Cyber security needs to be considered at the most senior levels within an organisation for its implementation and operation to be pervasive and hopefully effective across the entire organisation.
Elsewhere, fewer than half of the respondents said they believe their organisations possess sufficient cyber security expertise internally to effectively combat and resolve cyber incidents. There is a general shortage of cyber security expertise globally, with some industry forecasts estimating a skills gap of 1.5 million professionals in the sector by 2020. It is highly recommended that organisations seek assistance from third-party cyber security experts for technically challenging cyber security assessments and implementations.
Given the heightened requirement for trust and transparency necessary in the banking and financial services industry and the extent to which the sector is targeted by threat actors, we also recommend that systems and devices are security vetted in order to ensure there are no backdoors or other security vulnerabilities present. Ideally, such vetting ought to be conducted by a verified third-party specialist that possesses the technical capability and the reputational integrity to be able to undertake such a review effectively.
This survey was conducted as part of an event hosted recently by DarkMatter in Dubai. The firm’s inaugural Flash of Genius – Building cyber resilience in Banking & Financial services event brought together more than 60 senior, UAE-based bankers, lawyers, IT security and insurance professionals for a half-day interactive seminar aimed at raising awareness and considering solutions given the climate of cyber threat facing banks and financial institutions today