July 09, 2021

Use Case
5 min

How to Automate Cybersecurity Efforts for Your Financial Services Organization

Whether you’re a small bank with a thin IT staff or a huge conglomerate utilizing multiple security tools, there are easy ways to protect your network and automate defenses against emerging cyberattacks.

Complicated regulations, strict compliance requirements and evolving cyberthreats create significant risk for banks, credit unions, capital markets and insurance firms. Financial organizations have a target on their backs regardless of size – and one way or another, it’s often the size of your organization that makes you vulnerable. Whether you’re a small bank with a thin IT staff or a huge conglomerate utilizing multiple security tools, there are easy ways to protect your network and automate defenses against emerging cyberattacks.

Consolidate Security Systems

The financial services industry has evolved over the last year, and cyberattacks have evolved with it. Historically low interest rates have driven up web traffic and the amount of data networks need to handle, and legacy firewalls and outdated or overly complicated security architectures may not be able to keep up with this traffic spike. At the same time, different departments may be operating with disparate or competing security strategies across your network as it expanded due to customer acquisition or increased work from home efforts. And a merger and acquisition could have added an additional layer of complexity.

Not having a holistic security strategy in place can cost financial organizations more than a ransomware attack in the long run. Your staff needs to be knowledgeable about every tool you employ, which might not be possible in the case of such rapid network expansion. At the end of the day, a la carte security licensing can be unorganized and difficult to manage, which leaves your organization open to attacks. And a whole menagerie of tools across an organization means a whole menagerie of invoices.

Getting all departments on the same page and utilizing the same tools can be the first step to saving costs and making sure no cyberattacks are missed. Simplifying your security architecture and consolidating licensing can be the first and most important step to taking the burden of management off small or overworked IT teams. Having one integrated system also simplifies logging and reporting, which helps institutions with auditing and meeting regulatory requirements. 

Leverage AI-based Solutions

Consolidating systems can lighten the load of security tool management, but it won’t necessarily take all stress off your team. Industry-standard security products can monitor your network 24/7 and spot vulnerabilities, but they may be keeping your teams up at all hours of the night – even for alerts that turn out to be false positives.

For example, one CDW customer, a regional bank, had already consolidated its systems. It was able to clean up its infrastructure because it no longer needed to utilize so many products with niche specialties, and it was able to easier manage its expanded remote network. What was missing was an easy way to tie everything together so that IT teams weren’t getting often unnecessary alerts from multiple tools during the week.

CDW was able to implement an AI-based managed detect and respond solution that could actively monitor all of the bank’s security tools – including its antivirus, web filters and firewall – and only escalate legitimate vulnerabilities. It not only filtered through mass amounts of network data, but incorporated multiple security tools to work in tandem, even when the products need to be configured separately. The AI even caught vulnerabilities in the bank’s Microsoft Exchange server before the attacks made the news in early 2021. For organizations that rely on sensitive data – and a lot of it – AI is worth the investment. It’s often the missing piece to effortlessly managing a network, protecting client data and staying compliant. 

Outsource If Needed

Of course, as with everything artificial intelligence, nothing is quite as effective as human expertise. AI can reduce the time your team spends investigating illegitimate threats, and it can make managing multiple tools easier, but the sheer amount of cyberthreats against financial institutions is growing every day. A human element can lighten the load even further. AI can’t implement a security architecture either. Professional services experts can make sure that security platform migrations and implementations are done correctly the first time, saving headaches down the line.

In the case of the regional bank, CDW was able to develop a playbook that was handed off to the managed service provider of the detect and respond AI solution. The MSP has human experts on call 24/7 to look at any alerts the system finds. Most times the MSP can handle alerts, but serious threats are escalated to the bank’s security team, saving them time and allowing them to focus on and investigate only the most dire attacks.

Staff augmentation can help with attack remediation and recovery as well. Tens of thousands of organizations were victims of attacks on the Microsoft Exchange server this spring, but those who had an MSP on call were able to quickly review logs and determine what files were accessed and patch vulnerabilities. Those who called CDW could experience such remediation within an hour. When client data is immediately at stake, taking help wherever you can get it is sometimes the best course of action.

Consider CDW for your cybersecurity needs.

You need the right cybersecurity solutions to keep IT systems and information secure, safeguard customers’ personal data, adhere to regulations and control costs. Our 30 years of cybersecurity expertise and partnerships with industry leaders help us deliver solutions and services you need to protect your financial institution’s reputation.