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Foolproof cyber security for FIs

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14th-May-2017       
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A BLEAK picture has emerged about cyber security risks in the country's 52 percent banks. It is not a reality that we can take lightly. According to Media report, Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) released a survey report at a workshop on 'IT Operations of Banks' in the capital recently. The latest news of the cyber attack in more than 99 countries has added renewed threat to the scenario relating the cyber world. The report found such a huge number of banks as well as other financial institutions (FIs) ran the risk of breach in their information management security system in 2016, of which 16 percent were at the highest risk level.

The research found that a major portion of IT budget of those FIs is being used to procure hardware. The portion of expenditure for hardware was 40.4 of the IT budget in 2016. The second highest amount of IT budget went to the software sector; and the spending on security, training and audit was very poor in the last six years. The report also says that total number of employees working in the IT department is not sufficient and they are under tremendous stress.

It is true that IT governance (ITG) is gaining importance in the banking sector due to its increasing reliance on technology to conduct their operations, gain customers' satisfaction and improve cost efficiencies. But banks should give proper attention to follow appropriate guidelines, standards and framework to successfully implement ITG that include protection against hacking and other form of theft.

Successful implementation of ITG will also help in achieving sustainable business and offer new innovative products and services to their clients. In view of the growing threat to cyber security banks' budget for such security system should be increased by around 60 percent, the study report said referring to the reserve heist of Bangladesh Bank last year that took away $81 million from its New York Federal Reserve Bank account. Information suggests that after that incident most banks are spending a lot to purchase foreign software to ensure security; but they have failed to become risk free yet. It may yield positive result if banks use uniform software to reduce cyber risks and financial damage. Banks may appoint IT specialist in their audit team to identify IT flaws.

Bank management should keep it in their mind that they are not owners of the bank, but caretakers of public deposit and there can't be any slow down to plug such risks.

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