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In 2021, the digitization of financial services that was hastened by the pandemic is past the point of no return. This radical and rapid expansion of the financial sector’s attack surface has meant that cybersecurity is increasingly front and center, not only of risk management but also of competitive considerations. With ransomware against critical infrastructure making headlines and the wild ride of cryptocurrencies only incentivizing cyber criminals to see their ill-gotten gains as investments, cybersecurity is now the subject of board-level conversations and analyst questions on earnings calls.

Our subscribers craved insights from top c-level executives on their strategies for navigating these stormy waters, as shown by the four most-read articles in the first half of 2021.

#4: Why Data Science is Foundational for an Advanced Cyber Program
Jim Routh, former CISO of MassMutual, lays out how his team used data science to transform security controls design. Model-driven security matches data models against data sources in real time to segment both customers and internal users based on behavioral attributes. One implication to using this approach, which continuously monitors behavior and can deny access whenever necessary, is that it makes the standard username/password combination obsolete. It is also far cheaper for firms to manage. But it does require a paradigm shift that is only now starting to permeate the industry.

#3: Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity, Hype vs. Reality
ING CISO and board member Beate Zwijnenberg sheds light on the true value of applying and incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning into a cybersecurity program. While cutting edge, these technologies are also by definition immature. To be deployed successfully, they require sufficient processing power, lots of high-quality data, and a good model, which can be time consuming to build.

#2: There is a C in ESG
FS-ISAC board member Laura Deaner discusses the increasing weight of cybersecurity in ESG considerations of a company’s creditworthiness. Successful attacks may impact capital, cash flow, earnings, and liquidity, but even more importantly, competitive position and customer confidence. Conversely, robust cyber risk management is a business advantage and will become a differentiator in a more digitally engaged world.

#1: DBS: On Becoming the Wizard of Digital Transformation
While many financial institutions were forced into rapid digitization in 2020, Singapore’s DBS Bank embarked on the journey years ago. CISO Seng Wei Keng says his firm thinks of itself as more of a tech company than a bank. This outlook enables the bank to stay ahead in Asia’s ultra-competitive and innovative financial services landscape; for example, with their recently announced partnership with JPMorgan and Temasek on a blockchain platform for cross-border transactions. Strong cybersecurity controls on its digital platforms enable DBS to quickly expand across the region and into new markets while maintaining customer trust and regulatory confidence.

The Insight

As cybersecurity moves to the forefront of business considerations like never before, FS-ISAC Insights is on a mission to keep providing powerful insights like these, to help financial institutions navigate and adapt to continuous change. Subscribe today to receive quarterly editions to your inbox.

July 2021

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