Get expert advice on every topic you need as a small business owner, from the ideation stage to your eventual exit. Our articles, quick tips, infographics and how-to guides can offer entrepreneurs the most up-to-date information they need to flourish.

Subscribe to our blog

Cybersecurity and Data Protection: How to Protect Your Clients

Posted by Arya Chatterjee

December 31, 2023

Explore the keys to a resilient digital fortress from multi-factor authentication to transparent customer communication.  

Cybersecurity is paramount in any sector dominated by digital transactions and interconnected financial systems. 

Financial institutions face cyber threats as the backbone of global economies, highlighting the need for robust data protection measures. According to PurpleSec, 71.1 million people fall victim to cyber crimes yearly. On average, organizations require 50 days to resolve an insider attack and 23 days to recover from a ransomware attack. Furthermore, there’s been a 600% increase in cybercrime since the pandemic. 

To help you protect your organization, we delve into financial services cybersecurity and explore critical threats, cybersecurity best practices, and strategies to secure your client and vendor data. 

Schedule a call today

Financial services cybersecurity threats

1. Phishing attacks 

Cybercriminals use fake emails, messages, or websites to lure financial professionals into revealing sensitive information like login credentials, one-time passwords, and critical data. 

At stake: Compromise of sensitive client information, potential financial fraud, and company reputation damage. 
Common pitfall: Clicking on deceptive emails or messages leads to the revealing of login credentials or other confidential data. 

2. Ransomware incidents 

Financial institutions risk ransomware attacks, where malicious software encrypts critical data, and a ransom has to be paid for its release. 

At stake: Critical data loss, operational disruptions, and potential financial losses due to ransom payments. 
Common pitfall: Clicking on malicious links or opening infected email attachments leads to encrypting essential files. 

3. Insider threats 

Employees or insiders with access to data can threaten organizations or even unintentionally compromise sensitive information. 

At stake: Unauthorized access to financial systems, potential data leaks, and damage to internal trust. 
Common pitfall: Employees intentionally or unintentionally compromising sensitive information due to negligence or malicious intent. 

4. Mobile banking exploits 

With banking becoming a mobile phenomenon, criminals target vulnerabilities in the software to gain unauthorized access or carry out fraudulent transactions. 

At stake: Unauthorized access to mobile banking accounts, financial fraud, and potential compromise of personal data. 
Common pitfall: Weak mobile security practices, like using insecure networks or falling victim to phishing attacks. 

5. Credential stuffing 

Beware of attackers using leaked or stolen usernames and passwords from one platform to gain access to other accounts since most individuals use similar passwords. 

At stake: Compromised accounts due to reused passwords. 
Common pitfall: Using the same login credentials across platforms makes it easier for cybercriminals to exploit access to multiple accounts. 

6. Cloud security risks 

As more organizations move towards cloud services, security challenges like misconfigurations, data breaches, and unauthorized access arise. 

At stake: Unauthorized access to data stored in the cloud, potential data leaks, and service disruptions. 
Common pitfalls: Poorly configured cloud settings, inadequate access controls, and failure to monitor cloud infrastructure. 

Talk to us about Escalon’s essential business services can help your startup scale faster.

7. Insufficient endpoint security 

Computers and mobile devices used by employees can be susceptible to malware, viruses, and other malicious activities. 

At stake: Vulnerability to malware, viruses, and unauthorized access to financial devices.
Common pitfall: Lack of robust endpoint security measures like antivirus software and failure to regularly update and patch devices. 

8. Data breaches

Data compromise can often lead to identity theft, fraud, and reputation damage for organizations —  financial or otherwise. 

At stake: Compromised client and company data, regulatory penalties, and erosion of trust. 
Common pitfalls: Insufficient data protection measures, weak passwords, or exploiting database vulnerabilities. 

Ten essential cybersecurity measures businesses should take

1. Education and awareness programs 

The first line of defense is a well-informed and vigilant team. Empower your employees by conducting regular cybersecurity training and educating them about the latest financial services cybersecurity threats, phishing tactics, and effective practices. An educated workforce will catch the spark before the fire spreads.

2. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication works as an extra layer of protection by asking users to perform multiple forms of authentication before data can be accessed. 

3. Data encryption 

Encrypting sensitive data ensures that your information remains locked tight even during a breach. Implementing robust encryption protocols secures financial data and transactions, personal data, and other sensitive information shared between the company, clients, and vendors. 

4. Regular security audits 

Perform regular security audits to ensure your organization identifies and addresses vulnerabilities. A thorough inspection allows you to stay ahead of potential threats. It ensures that the security measures implemented are aligned with evolving cyber threats. 

5. Secure cloud practices

Most organizations rely on cloud services for backup. For protection, especially with financial consumer data protection, prioritize security configurations and access controls. Regularly assess cloud infrastructure to prevent unauthorized access.

6. Vendor risk management 

Extend security to your supply chain. Implement financial risk management for vendors to evaluate the security posture of third-party entities. This reduces the risk of cyber threats originating from external sources. 

7. Incident response planning 

Develop an incident response plan to swiftly and effectively respond to cyber threats. Keeping your team in the loop with the plan ensures a coordinated approach to mitigate the impact of a breach. 

8. Customer communication 

In the unfortunate event of a security breach, transparency is critical. Inform clients and vendors of the steps to address it and any potential impact on their data. This fosters trust and demonstrates a commitment to consumer data protection. 

9. Legal and regulatory compliance 

Effective financial cyber risk management also requires adhering to relevant legal and regulatory frameworks governing data protection. You establish a solid foundation for robust cybersecurity practices by meeting security standards. 

10. Cybersecurity insurance 

For ironclad protection, invest in cybersecurity insurance. This mitigates risks associated with potential breaches. While insurance doesn’t replace security measures, it offers assistance in the aftermath. 

Bottom line 

Safeguarding clients and vendors from cyber threats requires a multifaceted and proactive action plan. By embracing a holistic cybersecurity approach, you can fortify the trust underpinning the entire financial ecosystem. 

While these steps serve as a blueprint for cultivating a culture of security and resilience, an evolving digital landscape requires an adaptable approach. Staying ahead of the curve will ensure your organization weathers the storm and emerges more robust, trusted, and better equipped for future digital attacks. 

Schedule a call today

Want to know more about startups and what it takes to get started? Since 2006, Escalon has helped thousands of startups get off the ground with our back-office solutions for accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, HR, payroll, insurance, and recruiting — and we can help yours, too. Talk to an expert today.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please contact us here.


Arya Chatterjee
Arya Chatterjee

Arya Chatterjee is a freelance writer and consultant from Mumbai. With a background in journalism and over five years of creative writing experience working with legacy media like Architectural Digest and Femina India and brands like The Label Life, and Macy's, she crafts unique and compelling stories that engage the readers. She enjoys writing about health, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle and exploring the symbiotic relationship between thriving businesses and happy employees through her writing. She is always looking to explore new avenues to expand her creative energy.

We provide you with essential business services so you can focus on growth.