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A scattered workforce creates ample targets for cybercrime

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Cyberattacks hit financial services firms 300 times more than other companies in 2019, according to a report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG). These financial services organizations have always had to deal with security risks, but in today’s cyberthreat environment, a strong application security posture has become a critical success factor.

Something has to be done, as there is a lot at stake. Not only are attacks more prevalent and likely, but financial services and payments are heavily regulated industries. Regulators can impose penalties and fines when there are failures to comply with regulations such as FRB requirements, GDPR, PCI DSS and others.

The age of COVID-19 has exasperated these issues even more, as we begin to move farther into the remote way of working and doing business that the “new normal” has set upon us. Companies everywhere now want to stabilize revenue streams by adding new or enhanced digital business capabilities in the form of modified applications, new applications or new websites in order to shift as much of their business online as fast as possible.

With a growing number of new applications integrated into the fabric of banking and financial services businesses, security throughout the system becomes a critical success factor. At the same time, new technologies are disrupting existing infrastructures, and there is often not enough expertise in key areas. This can cause process performance failures and inefficiencies as financial firms struggle to keep up with new regulations, new cyberthreats, and changes in the technology landscape.

Continuous scanning allows businesses to check for vulnerabilities automatically as demands on web applications evolve. This can save time and costs while ensuring the business does not suffer downtime. If your web applications fail, your business is effectively closed, so you want to be proactive to prevent this from happening. One major benefit to ensuring site uptime is maintaining customer trust and loyalty.

Web applications are an easy target for hackers, who can exploit them and gain access to backend systems and databases.

However, when security is a key consideration in software quality and is woven throughout the applications, including while in production, the digital assets and capabilities a business offers are protected from hackers. For a defense posture that remains active, compliance isn’t enough. You must build security into your software throughout the entire development life cycle to protect it from threats that continue to get smarter with each attempted attack.

The key is preventing hackers from taking advantage of weak applications. This doesn’t just apply to our current pandemic, a data breach prior to this era would often have a profound and negative impact on a company and its reputation. But with criminals poised to use the widespread fear and uncertainty to their benefit, failing to secure customer and company data during this crisis could prove disastrous.

Early discovery of security issues is critical to keep costs down, and automated security testing is essential so that testing can be more easily introduced earlier in the development life cycle.

It’s important to recognize the role of application security in your business and choose a variety of solutions to secure web and mobile applications, such as penetration testing and proactive remediation of detected vulnerabilities.

The security of applications is a strategic imperative and critical operational capability of all businesses. Every company today is a software company, and applications are driving a plethora of industries forward. This digital age is complex and dynamic, and there needs to be a plan in place to secure your digital future through the security of applications.

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