Cyber Security Challenges in Financial Services


The financial services industry stands as a key target for cybercriminals owing to its repository of sensitive data. This sector is also heavily regulated, mandating the strict protection of customer data and the integrity of financial systems. This paper aims to dissect the unique challenges and solutions related to cyber security in the financial services industry.

financial services
Cyber Security Challenges in Financial Services 2


The financial services sector has always been a prime candidate for cyberattacks due to the abundance of sensitive information it possesses. As the industry is subject to stringent regulatory frameworks, there is a compelling need to address the multifaceted challenges related to cyber security. This paper examines these challenges and proposes a set of comprehensive solutions.

Challenges in Cyber Security for Financial Services

Evolving Threat Landscape

Cyber threats are ceaselessly evolving, requiring financial institutions to continually adapt and enhance their cyber defence mechanisms. As per a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime is expected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025 (Cybersecurity Ventures). The financial sector, therefore, needs to invest in cutting-edge cybersecurity tools that can adapt to changing threat landscapes.

Insider Threats

Insiders, such as employees and contractors, can be a notable risk factor for cyber attacks. A study by Ponemon Institute shows that 34% of data breaches involved internal actors (Ponemon Institute). Financial institutions should implement stringent access controls and monitor user activity to mitigate such risks.

Regulatory Compliance

Financial organisations are bound by a plethora of regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). These regulatory frameworks are intricate and non-compliance can result in heavy fines (GDPR, CCPA, PCI DSS).

Legacy Systems

Many institutions continue to rely on legacy systems, which are often ill-equipped to deal with current cyber threats. These systems are usually not updated with the latest security measures, making them susceptible targets for cybercriminals.

Cybersecurity Skills Shortage

There is an alarming gap in the number of skilled professionals required to address the industry’s cyber threats. A report from Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2021 (Cybersecurity Ventures).

Solutions for Financial Services

Education and Training

Continuous education and training are crucial in elevating the cyber hygiene of the financial sector. A well-designed training program can empower employees to recognise and neutralise cyber threats.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised access. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) strongly recommends the use of MFA (NIST).

Regular Security Assessments

Conducting frequent security assessments can help in identifying system vulnerabilities. These assessments should ideally guide the prioritisation of cybersecurity investments.

Incident Response Plan

An effective incident response plan is critical for managing and mitigating cybersecurity incidents. Financial organisations must ensure that this plan is routinely tested and updated.

Data Encryption

Encrypting data in transit and at rest is vital in safeguarding sensitive information. It acts as a last line of defence in case other security measures fail.


Cyber security in the financial services sector demands continuous vigilance and investment. By incorporating education, MFA, regular assessments, an effective incident response plan, and robust encryption methods, financial institutions can significantly bolster their cyber resilience. Future efforts should focus on adapting to evolving threats and ensuring regulatory compliance, thereby safeguarding both organisational and customer data.


For in-depth knowledge on how to protect financial services from cyber threats, you may refer to the upcoming articles from Cyber Made Simple, which aims to deliver straightforward cyber security guidance for various sectors, including finance.

This article is subject to our Disclaimer 

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