Financial Services: Your Top Firewall Weaknesses

Written by: Francesco Trama | Published on: June 29th, 2016

About The Author

Francesco Trama
As Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Francesco is responsible for the overall operating performance, leading the strategic direction of the company’s products and solutions internally while building technical and business credibility externally as a market-facing thought leader.

Firewall isn't enoughFinancial organizations experienced a 40 percent increase in cybercrime over the past year, with 63 percent of companies reporting daily or weekly attacks. Firewalls and other preventive cybersecurity measures take up 80 percent of your network security budget, but these solutions don’t keep up with zero-day attacks and sophisticated hackers. You face many threats your firewall isn’t capable of handling. Here are the top 6 firewall weaknesses in the financial industry.

#1: Lack of Internal Testing

Network security is not a set it and forget it solution, yet only 9 percent of organizations test their solutions. Your firewall might offer top of the line features when you first deploy it, but over time it may not keep up with the latest cyber threats. A regular testing schedule helps you identify vulnerabilities in your current infrastructure.

#2: Poor Cybersecurity Awareness

You face a significant internal threat from end users who lack cybersecurity awareness and skills. Hackers don’t need to go through the trouble of getting through your firewall if an employee invites them in via a compromised BYOD smartphone. Phishing attacks also sidestep your preventative security measures. These social engineering techniques take advantage of a weak cybersecurity culture within an organization. Everything from password management to physical data center access plays into the overall health of your network security.

#3: Coordinated Attacks

Your financial services organization sits on a pile of valuable data and hackers put considerable resources toward gaining access to it. A firewall can’t adapt to a coordinated attack by multiple groups, especially if they discovered information about your configuration during scouting attempts. You may face both external and internal attackers, depending on the scope of the attack, which complicates matters further.

#4: Long-Term Impact Risk

You don’t just lose data when you get attacked; you decrease your consumer trust. As a financial organization, customers trust you to offer them safe and secure services. A successful breach shakes their confidence. You have too much at stake to rely solely on firewalls for your network security.

#5: Too Much Information

The financial services industry faced 22 million attacks per month in Q4 2015, which places a significant strain on your network security resources. The firewall puts you into an information overload position while you address many attack vectors. When you’re stuck sorting through overwhelming logs, you can’t pay as much attention to the rest of the network. An increased budget could help you adjust, but many financial institutions don’t allocate the extra money for these resources.

#6: Zero-Day Threats

Your firewall lacks the adaptability to address zero-day threats before they get a chance to run through your network. These attacks may come in a form no one has seen before, so all the signs and signatures of previous malicious attacks prove useless. You need a flexible system capable of working in a fast moving environment, such as Advanced IP filtering. This security solution identifies questionable behavior on your network. You don’t have to know exactly what shape the attack takes. The suspicious activity gets filtered out before it reaches any sensitive areas.

Your firewall can’t stand up to countless threats by itself. You need the budget to expand beyond preventative tools and move into proactive solutions that help you make the most of your network security resources. The financial services industry provides hackers with an enticing target, so you must keep up with every angle of attack.