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Compliance in fintech: keeping a fast-moving industry compliant at speed

Since the very first business opened its doors, turning a profit has always been the key to an organisation’s success. But as the world becomes increasingly digital, the fintech industry is revolutionising traditional financial services, introducing fresh ideas and apps to help businesses think outside the box.

But with these new ideas come new threats. In fact, more than 92% of victims of cyberthreats where in the fintech application industry in 2021 alone, according to Antino. The nature of fintech means you’re handling sensitive data like transactions and bank details, so having the property cybersecurity measures in place is a necessity.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the threat landscape for fintech businesses, identifying what steps can be taken to ensure compliance and bolster business defences.

Fintech: a broad threat landscape

Data breaches are commonplace in the fintech industry, as the data they harbour is valuable to hackers. Even larger corporations aren’t immune. In 2014, JP Morgan Chase suffered a breach that resulted in the information of 76 million households and seven small businesses being compromised.

Likewise, phishing attempts are also an issue, with phishing attacks in the financial sector jumping up 22% in the first half of 2021. But while phishing often preys on vulnerable but well-meaning staff members, insider threats are also an issue in fintech, with employees and vendors deliberately misusing their access for financial gain.

What does compliance look like in fintech?

Compliance provides a framework for businesses across all industries, creating a shorthand to communicate that this business takes cybersecurity seriously. By achieving compliance in key accreditations like PCI DSS and ISO 27001, fintech businesses can build trust and avoid hefty fines.

Securing sensitive user data is the cornerstone of fintech compliance. This requires protecting personal data such as login credentials, financial transactions, and account numbers to prevent breaches.

What’s more, detailed audit logs can be used to capture evidence about activity within a fintech ISMS, logging activity for monitoring in order to inform future data security actions.

Making use of access controls can add a further layer of defence, as they restrict the availability of data based on the user’s relationships with the organisation.

Best practices for fintech compliance

Cybersecurity should never be an afterthought, and introducing best practices can help make data protection an intrinsic part of any fintech organisation’s operational framework. These include:

Endpoint management

Monitoring networks endpoints, and user activities in order to detect threats early on. Incident response plans can guide swift and effective action should a cyber issue occur, minimising impact.

Access restriction

Only granting users access to what they need, rather than all available data, limits the damage from compromised accounts. Multi-factor authentication adds a further layer of defence.

Secure code development

Secure code development requires extensive reviewing and testing before fintech applications are deployed. This prevents flaws going undetected which can be exploited by attackers.

Password policies

Weak passwords are at the heart of 86% data breaches according to Verizon, so strict password policies can make all the difference. This includes expiration periods, complex requirements, and locking the user out after a few failed attempts.

Cybersecurity training

Human error can undermine the most rigid security investments, so making sure employees are clued up on cybersecurity is paramount. Training on issues like identifying phishing emails, creating strong passwords, and handling sensitive data can protect fintech organisations and their clients in the long run.

Hicomply makes compliance easy

It’s never been easier to obtain, maintain, and manage all your information security certifications in one place, thanks to Hicomply's simple and effective platform.

You won’t have to deal with complex spreadsheets, long email chains, and time-consuming internal processes anymore. Instead, our ISMS software does the hard work for you, granting you access to a powerful suite of state-of-the-art data security features. Hicomply can accelerate your journey to certification, boasting a 50% reduction in implementation and timescales and an average 5x Return on Investment.

Not currently using Hicomply? Ready to find out more about what the platform can do for you? Book a demo.

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