Risk Mitigation Is Everyone’s Concern in Financial Services

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The nature of security in the financial services market is as dynamic as the banking industry itself. Over time, financial institutions have evolved significantly, reacting to consumer demand in an effort to continually provide the highest level of service and convenience. Meanwhile, the range of threats that face banks, credit unions and other financial organizations has evolved as well, challenging these companies to stay one step ahead.

Years ago, the security of a banking institution was primarily the responsibility of the CSO; he or she sought out video surveillance, access control and other systems to physically protect each location from theft, fraud and other threats. Security officials were responsible for deterring and detecting these risks, and they generally operated in a silo.

Today, risk is everyone’s problem. As the threat landscape changes, banking companies are recognizing that the potential disruptions they face impact every aspect of their organization. As a result, we’re starting to see IT, physical and cyber security, and branch operations collaborate—or even start to organizationally align their risk strategies under a Chief Risk Officer (CRO).

The lines between the various “departments” in a financial organization are blurring, and this trend is helping them to better respond to today’s risks. Let’s take a look at the key drivers behind the changing nature of risk:

Banking firms are evolving their business approach.

Banks are responding to consumer demand for faster, more flexible service by changing their branch footprint. For many, this means branches are getting smaller and ATMs with advanced capabilities—some with “virtual tellers”—are being added to the mix in order to better serve customer needs. At these locations, “security” no longer means simply protecting the perimeter of a branch; it also means securing the ATM and teller systems, which requires the help of IT. It also presents an opportunity to rethink the placement and capabilities of surveillance cameras. Some banking firms are leveraging the information coming from installed cameras to improve the customer experience through better personnel training and adjusted staffing levels to address peak activity.

The financial services industry is becoming increasingly global.

Many financial institutions now have locations around the world, as well as remote and traveling employees, which can expose them to a wider range of threats. To maintain a high level of security and still help ensure business continuity around the globe, organizations require ways to predict and respond to threats—including crime, severe weather, travel delays and more—in real time.

Criminals are growing more sophisticated.

Modern criminals are increasingly sophisticated in their tactics. Financial services organizations must contend with high-tech schemes and, in some cases, organized crime originating in other areas of the world. This higher level of risk is pressuring banking firms to tackle security in a more cohesive way, with input from a variety of interaction points within the organization, including video surveillance, mobile transactions, branches and ATMs, online accounts and more.

In the face of these threats, today’s financial services organizations need to evolve their security protocol to bring more departments and stakeholders to the table. For banking firms, risk is everyone’s concern.

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