AI & Automation Security Benefits for Financial Institutions

Spokesperson: Subbu Subramanian, Regional Vice President- India, Dynatrace

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Over the last decade, one industry that has undergone a significant transformation shifting from traditional practices to a tech-infused landscape is the financial sector. The once familiar sights of manual ledgers, fax machines, and excel sheets have given way to a digital revolution, marked by the rise of fintechs, blockchains, and chatbots. Real-time market data is now accessible 24/7, cybersecurity has become a paramount concern, and workplaces emphasize diversity and inclusion. The industry’s evolution reflects not just technological advancements but also a broader societal shift, reinforcing the constant need for adaptation and innovation in the face of both challenges and opportunities.

The Global CISO Regional Bank 2023 Report identified numerous problems that financial institutions face as they embark on their digitization journeys. Customer demands are driving regional banks to incorporate dynamic multi-cloud environments, cloud-native architectures, and open-source code libraries, which are accompanied by increasing challenges in managing and mitigating risks throughout the development lifecycle, such as the Log4j vulnerability in 2021.

Threats faced by Financial Institutions

One major threat is data breaches, where cybercriminals infiltrate financial institutions and gain access to sensitive customer information like account details, transaction data, and personally identifiable information. With more operations and data housed in digital systems, the attack surface has grown. In the world we live in today, data breaches have a huge impact simply because of their sheer volume. As reported, the largest reported data leakage was the Cam4 data breach in March 2020, which exposed more than 10 billion data records. The next major data leak was the March 2018 security breach of India’s national ID database Aadhaar, which exposed over 1.1 billion records. This contained biometric information such as identity numbers and fingerprint scans, which could be used to open bank accounts and receive financial help, among other government services.

Another rising threat comes from fraud. Digital channels like online banking, mobile apps, and payment systems enable criminals to perpetrate fraud at scale through tactics like identity theft, fraudulent transactions, and social engineering scams. Attackers are constantly finding new ways to exploit digitization for fraud. Meanwhile, critical digital infrastructure elements like websites, servers, networks, databases, and cloud environments also face threats like distributed denial of service attacks, malicious injections, disruptive intrusions, and more. These can derail vital services like online banking and mobile apps, directly impacting customers.

Other risks include cloud misconfigurations as financial institutions adopt cloud computing, endpoint threats to networked devices like ATMs, compliance gaps that attract fines, third-party vulnerabilities, and evolving attack techniques powered by advanced technologies like AI. To manage these myriad threats in the digital landscape, financial institutions must leverage AI and automation to transform their cybersecurity. This is the key to securely accelerating digital transformation while retaining customer trust.

Benefits of AI & Automation in the Banking Environment

CISCO report also highlighted that 76% of chief information security officers (CISOs) in the financial services sector believe that despite having a robust, multilayered security posture, gaps still allow vulnerabilities into production. Even though 58% of financial services organizations have layered cybersecurity frameworks with five or more different types of security solutions, only 6% have real-time visibility into runtime vulnerabilities. Enter intelligent automation and AI with its substantial benefits to financial institutions, particularly in enhancing security practices.

Optimize multicloud operations: One of the primary challenges faced by financial institutions is the management of complex multicloud environments. Intelligent automation offers a unified solution to streamline operations seamlessly across various cloud platforms. Automation not only optimizes resource utilization but also ensures consistent security measures are applied throughout the entire infrastructure. By deploying AI-driven automation tools, financial institutions can achieve a level of operational efficiency that was previously unimaginable. Routine tasks, such as data monitoring, threat detection, and incident response, can be automated, allowing security professionals to focus on more complex issues that require human intervention. This not only enhances the overall security posture but also significantly reduces the risk of human errors.

Brings efficiency in data operations: Given the massive volumes of data dealt with by bank institutions, AI algorithms, coupled with automation, enable the rapid analysis of vast datasets, facilitating quicker decision-making processes. This is particularly crucial in security practices, where the ability to detect and respond to potential threats promptly can be the difference between safeguarding sensitive information and facing a breach. Additionally, automation enhances the accuracy of routine tasks, minimizing the likelihood of false positives and negatives in security monitoring.

Accelerating innovation: In a world where the financial industry is not only contending with traditional competitors but also facing challenges from disruptive fintech startups, innovation becomes a strategic imperative. Intelligent automation empowers financial institutions to innovate more rapidly by automating time-consuming tasks, reducing development cycles, and enabling a faster response to market demands. By leveraging AI, financial institutions can develop advanced fraud detection systems, anomaly detection algorithms, and predictive analytics models. These innovations not only enhance security measures but also contribute to the institution’s ability to stay ahead of emerging threats.

Overall, AI and automation allow financial institutions to stay ahead of threats, manage risk proactively, empower security teams, and secure access in a continuously evolving landscape. To fully capitalize on these technologies, financial organizations need an overarching strategy for integration, as well as measures to ensure transparency and accountability.