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IT Security Guidelines and Compliance: The Need of the Time

IT Security Guidelines and Compliance: The Need of the Time

IT security guidelines is the need of the hour for all the businesses associated with Finance related matters. In today’s technologically driven world, information security is paramount for finance sectors of all industries. Without proper protection, security, data breaches can occur, resulting in costly financial and sales data losses and leaks in private client information.

Many leading businesses consider information security as an amorphous issue that only the IT department can handle. The reality is that the legal & reputational implications of a data breach affect the entire organization. That is why it is crucial to create a security-centric culture, top to bottom, focusing on complying with IT security guidelines/regulations. In response, governments and regulatory agencies have placed several IT security guidelines for improving information security.

Security has always been a priority for any organization willing to aid and support the business organizations dealing in financial matters and other crucial matters. The importance of security is hard to state and express in words. But taking a closer look at why security is so essential, it becomes crystal clear why so many companies invest so many funds and resources into keeping their facilities and data secure and intact. Fraud, risk, etc., are the terms attached for any lending organization willing to provide full support and access to the companies dealing in Finance, lending, etc.

About the Guidelines

IT Security guidelines are in place to help finance companies improve their information security strategy by providing policies and best regulatory practices based on the industry and the type of data they maintain. Non-compliance with these IT Security guidelines can result in severe fines, or worse, a data breach. Most finance companies are subject to at least one security regulation. The difficulty comes in determining which ones to apply and interpreting what policies and controls are required to reach compliance.

Part of the difficulty is that regulations are so written that the average person finds it difficult to understand easily. Often, partnering with a security professional is necessary to decode relevant requirements and devise an implementing plan. The IT Security guidelines help implement systems, policies, and procedures to satisfy various regulations’ needs and enhance an organization’s security.

The world is tremendously experiencing a digital revolution, and its effects have become crucial to society’s very functioning. But while this digital connectivity has given rise to newer heights and incredible developments, it is also paving the way for more recent vulnerabilities and security loopholes that cybercriminals breed into. The global threat is evolving at a robust pace, with cybercriminals and threat actors leveraging advanced technological tools such as AI, ML, and Big Data. IT security guidelines obstructs the bad actor to target individuals, enterprises, and governments worldwide at an unprecedented speed scale.

Complying to IT Security Guidelines

The current situation is grave, and unfortunately, the awareness remains minimal. Even after being updated with the latest developments in the cybersecurity domain, users across multiple geographies do not fully understand threats’ impact. For example, according to Trustwave, only 28% of businesses deploying IoT technology consider strategizing about security as ”very important.” Moreover, cybersecurity in India constitutes less than 10% of the overall enterprise expenditures, which is way below the usual standards. Considering the importance of IT Security guidelines, it has become imperative for companies in the domain and governments to drive proper awareness about cybersecurity threats and importance among individuals and enterprises.

The Reserve Bank of India has opted for a proactive approach towards making a compliance framework that considers the changing cyber threat landscape that traditional and new-age digital financial institutions face. For instance, the IT Governance proposes emphasizing holding the board of directors and the executive management accountable for IT risk management to ensure that the organization’s IT security guidelines sustain the business structure. The governance also requires that these financial institutions regularly undergo RBI[1] IS Audits to understand & mitigate the risks associated with their IT infrastructure.

The Need for the Guidelines 

The increasing adoption of technology in India’s financial services sector has led to complexities within the IT environment. The Internal Control framework is implemented by the banks/NBFCs, based on the various standards, control requirements, and RBI guidelines to handle this situation. 

For assurance on the effectiveness of these adequate controls, financial institutions and RBI perform the IS Audits. These audits provide an independent view on the management of IT risks. Since the critical processes in banks, NBFCs, and other financial institutions are getting automated, it has become necessary to check the IT framework’s effectiveness on which these processes rest.

The scope of IS Audit includes determining the effectiveness of planning IT activities, evaluating operating processes and internal controls, determining compliance efforts concerning IT policies, identifying gaps in internal controls, the recommendation of corrective actions, and effective implementation of required measures by the management. In essence, as we keep furthering and striving towards achieving our vision of ”Digital India and authentic financial inclusion, the need to back it with a robust cybersecurity framework is a must. And creating an exemplary culture of cybersecurity involves a lot beyond merely generating awareness or implementing a comprehensive strategy. It also includes complying with the various regulations applicable, applying relevant policies that cover all the devices connected, and ensuring proper adoption and implementation throughout the organization. The need of the hour for fintech companies is to become aware of the security threats they face, adopt multilayered IT Security guidelines to business operations that prioritize security, and comply with applicable standards and regulations to strengthen their internal framework indeed.

The Need for the Guidelines

Benefits of IT Security Guidelines

IT Security guideline is a valuable tool for achieving the company’s objectives as it evaluates an organization’s security & privacy against a set of globally recognized standards and best practices. It provides a roadmap to improve data privacy, and the results can validate adherence to relevant standards.

It further plays a significant role:

  • Improves Security: IT security guidelines improve corporate security measures by establishing baseline requirements. This baseline keeps business data-security levels relatively constant within respective industries.
  • Minimize Losses: Improved security via IT Security guidelines, in turn, prevents breaches, which are costly to businesses. Many finance-related companies end up losing millions in sales, repair costs, and legal fees, all of which can be avoided with the appropriate preventive measures.
  • Increased Control: Improved security via IT security guidelines goes hand-in-hand with improved control. Companies can prevent employee made mistakes & insider fraud with intact credentialing systems while keeping one eye on outside threats and scams.
  • Maintain Trust: Mostly, Customers trust businesses with their information. Companies should honor that trust with improved IT Security guidelines and security systems that keep their data safe.

Conclusion

Security has always been on ILA’s top list as we advise, support the leading and budding business organizations in their sensitive and crucial finance matters. While talking about security, we can say that the Indian Lenders Association has left no stone unturned in keeping it intact with no scope of fraud and miss-happenings taking a toll on our course of work and decision-making capability. The portal with which we are lending assistance is not always a safe environment, and living in this digital age means that we are exposed to an increasing number of new risks that weren’t risks before.

As an Indian Lender Association, we must consider security and include IT Security guidelines in our decision making and planning. As an Indian lenders association, we extend our help in many ways: financial matters, legal compliance, banking, running a website, social media, etc.  We understand the value of security in the organization and the know-how to keep business, information, and assets safe.

Read our article:Digital Fintech Ecosystem: A Blessing for Finance-based Organizations