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We kicked off the year with an unprecedented global crisis. This could be the first time in recent history that the whole world had to focus on the same thing, with little to no time to reflect for the first two to three months.

From a financial services and cybersecurity perspective, this resulted in an abrupt and rapid shift to virtual operations. If the sector had not been able to achieve this, the global economy would most likely be in an even more dire situation. What our members accomplished in a very limited time was no easy task, yet it was absolutely critical to get it done. For example, one member quadrupled its VPN operation within weeks, another moved the country’s largest retail banking operations to remote within a few days. Millions of employees around the world had to be secured in a dramatically different infrastructure environment.

Now, as we look forward to the next 12 to 24 months, we must rapidly integrate the lessons learned and likely pivot a few times more. We will do this while recovering from personal and family burdens that have affected everyone, in some cases tragically.

We all have spoken and heard about “the new normal.” The more I hear about the complex, different realities that our members face, as well as the dynamic nature of the situation, the more I think the conversation should be slightly different. Should we shift the paradigm and aspire to become masters of adaptation to cope and rise above an everything but normal reality?

Around the world, financial services firms will face different shades of this transformation. For instance, a large retail banking operation that is heavily reliant on the only available telecom provider will be challenged as it implements a hybrid work approach. Others will have to navigate the regulatory constraints inherent to their type of business, such as trading. And some may struggle with the digital maturity of their customers and their ability to quickly adopt an all-digital approach in a cybersecure way.

Amid this uncertainty, there is a visible silver lining today: the level of sector collaboration that we have experienced has been reassuring and inspirational. Just this past month we had more than 3000 cybersecurity professionals from our member firms share best practices at our Virtual Summit. And nearly 5000 have been using the secure chat on our new member platform, the FS-ISAC Intelligence Exchange, to collaborate and share best practices.

In closing, my request is that we strive to become masters of adaptation and continue to collaborate and share intelligence, so that we can overcome this crisis, be prepared for those to come, and build business models for the future.

The Insight

While the world speculates on what “The New Normal” will look like, we believe our members will need to become masters of adaptation to thrive in an “Everything But Normal” reality where conditions continually evolve. Firms will face different challenges depending on their unique situation and the changing context in which they operate. We will continue to support our members and help them connect and share intelligence with our new member platform, the FS-ISAC Intelligence Exchange.

June 2020

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