With the irreplaceable, highly sensitive customer data (and finances) stored within their networks, it’s no surprise that banks are one of the top targets for cyber attacks today.

However, what’s even more surprising is that millions of banks are at an extremely high risk of attack and they often don’t even realize it.

Take The National Bank of Blacksburg, for example. In the first of two vicious attacks within just eight months, hackers managed to disable and alter anti-theft and anti-fraud protections and tap into hundreds of ATMs across North America to dispense funds from their customers’ accounts. Months later, hackers gained access to their network yet again through a compromised workstation.

Collectively, The National Bank of Blacksburg experienced a loss of more than $2.4 million dollars and was slapped with a massive lawsuit.

So, why did this happen?

Three Reasons Why You’re At Risk Of Cyber Attacks

Compliance regulations can be impossible to meet without enlisting experts that have experience specific to the regulatory demands facing banks

Auditors and examiners expect thorough and detailed documentation showing adherence to your cybersecurity processes. Unfortunately, delivering an operationally effective cybersecurity program is challenging. It takes a highly specialized skill set to do it well. Compliance regulations exist for a reason: they were developed to keep your organization and your customer data safe. When you aren’t meeting these regulations, it puts your organization at risk of detrimental cyber attacks, which makes it all that more critical to partner with a managed security service provider that has extensive experience in the banking compliance requirements facing your organization today.

Your network is only monitored during business hours, giving attackers ample opportunities to attack your organization on a regular basis

While most professionals don’t enjoy working outside of business hours, unfortunately, hackers don’t sleep. Consider hackers your own personal, terrifying Santa Claus — they know when you’re sleeping, they know when you’re awake, and they know when you’ve taken a break from actively protecting your data. The first attack against the National Bank of Blacksburg occurred on Memorial Day—a day that hackers knew the bank would be closed and easiest to attack. As threats become more aggressive and advanced, there is no choice but to adopt a policy of active around-the-clock network monitoring, such as with a IDS/IPS solution managed by a 24/7/365 security operations center fluent in the needs of banks. After all, not doing so could cost your organization millions of dollars; cyber attacks caused losses of tens of millions of dollars in Q2 of 2018 alone.

It’s harder than ever to find cybersecurity providers with the talent and processes needed to combat the evolving threats specific to banks

Banks often outsource many of their IT functions to local providers, but the providers that fit within their budget may not have the depth of cyber expertise needed to face the evolving, highly complex cyberattacks against banks. Because of this, attackers know that banks are an easy target, making the protection of your network even more complicated than it already is—and typically more complicated than a local provider is prepared to handle.

With the worldwide cybersecurity talent shortage expected to hit 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021, it’s no surprise that many security service providers aren’t able to keep top talent or afford to hire them in the first place. And with high turnover or a lack of talent comes the high risk for your organization, especially when processes designed specifically for banks aren’t in place in the first place.

Even worse, a Ponemon study found that the average time it takes for a business to identify a data breach is 191 days—that’s over 6 months’ worth of time when irreversible damage can be done to your network, and to your customers’ data. Combined with a single minute of downtime potentially costing over $5,600, it’s more important than ever to partner with a team of experts with the right industry experience, training, education, and certifications to understand what processes need to be in place to actively protect your organization when it matters most.

So, how can your bank better protect itself from a data breach?

With the complexity of threats facing banks, it’s imperative to make sure that you’re working with a partner that has the right people, process, and technology, also known as the three pillars of cybersecurity, in place.

Think about a stool with three legs on it: If you take away one of the legs on the stool, there’s an undeniable risk of falling when you try to sit down. Cybersecurity is the same principle. If you don’t have exactly the right talent, the right processes for that talent to follow, and the right technology to support your people and processes, your risk increases exponentially.

While this may seem grim (because it is), there are many options available to banks to improve their security operations, protect their networks and customer data, and save what could potentially be millions in a data breach.

Many organizations have chosen to partner with a managed security service provider to increase compliance, save budget, and provide maximum protection to their network 24/7/365.

For example, at CyberMaxx we’ve designed services to not only make it easier to meet compliance regulations but also to easily scale with your budget and your evolving risk profile.