By Dan Middleton, VP, UK&I, Veeam Software
Cyberattacks are on the rise across all sectors and while IT and security teams are keenly aware, their frequency and damage have now captured mainstream attention. Recent research from Veeam found that 47% of consumers have noticed an increase in cybercrime and attempts at data theft. With heightened consumer awareness comes accompanying concern and pressure for businesses to take this seriously.
The 2022 Data Protection Report from Veeam found that cybersecurity is creating a data protection emergency – with 68% of UK organisations surveyed saying they suffered at least one cyberattack in the last year, with ¼ of the data being unrecoverable. For the finance sector in particular, leaders need to keep in mind that as the cyber landscape remains rocky, it is imperative they question whether their data protection solutions are up to scratch.
The financial sector has seen a huge shift towards greater digitisation as a result of the pandemic and its accompanying restrictions. According to Deloitte, for example, 35% of customers increased their use of online banking during Covid-19. Competitive leadership within the sector is increasingly based on the ability to serve customer needs in multiplatform, digital ways – and that means having the underlying systems in place to secure, store and manage the data that powers all of this properly.
If ever there was a time for financial services organisations to embrace modern data protection in order to mitigate the cyber security risks that are now prevalent in an increasingly data-intensive, digital world, that time is now.
The cyber threat landscape
Given the sensitive nature of the data financial service organisations hold, the sector must be the champions of best practices around Modern Data Protection to ensure that customers’ data is stored in the most resilient, secure and robust way possible. Getting this wrong can result in huge hits to customer trust and even moves to competitors – our research found that 8 in 10 are prepared to stop using a company’s services if they feel their data is not being secured or used appropriately.
And yet, its likely a number of banks aren’t set up in a way which allows them to employ better modern data protection practices and maintain their system resiliency. According to Veeam’s research, 79% of UK organisations across industries recognise that they have an “availability gap” between how fast they can recover applications versus how fast they need applications to be recovered (in other words their recovery time objectives are not fast enough and out of step with the needs of the business). Out of all respondents, 79% of those same British firms said they have a “protection gap” between how frequently data is backed up versus how much data they can afford to lose (which means they have a recovery point objective disconnect too). If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that customers now expect immediate and always on access to their data, and in a bank’s case, their money. Financial service organisations then are in a particularly vulnerable position as any interruption of service could impact customer loyalty, and ultimately their reputation.
Business leaders and IT teams need to work together to ensure that backups are regularly being made but also tested and protected, while also investing in these teams to ensure their internal processes are clear on where the responsibilities lie should an incident occur. Data is the lifeblood of a modern business, and real change is embraced when leaders show its worth.
Legacy data protection costs time and money, while also putting the data businesses hold at risk. Not embracing modern data protection impacts an organisation’s ability to embrace its full potential and ensure data protection and recovery. As well as economic and productivity benefits, adopting modern data protection will ensure data is always available and protected.
The findings of our research highlighted three key areas leaders at financial service organisations should be focusing on in order to ensure protection and availability of their data:
Data protection costs and efforts increase as legacy systems continue to struggle to support modern services and innovation. Being digitally resilient means businesses can decrease costs and be more efficient, especially when adopting modern data protection.
2.Data accessibility and management
Intelligent data management increases availability through automated and instant recovery, keeping data platforms healthy without manual intervention, and reducing non-compliance risks. Managing data without defined processes serves to reduce efficiency and can lead to increased recovery times. Systems need automated processes to simplify management and recovery while reducing risk.
3.More than just backup — driving innovation
Innovation accelerates when data is readily accessible. But the vast array of different kinds of data, stored in different platforms and formats, creates silos and makes joining the dots and unlocking its value becomes challenging. Modern Data Protection practices can help unleash this data, informing strategic decisions and helping those decisions to be made faster. An organisation’s backup data can contain all kinds of valuable customer and market insights – and that powerful central repository can be used to power new products and services, inform strategic decisions, or improve existing customer services.
As we move into the new normal, businesses need to be as innovative as possible.
It’s clear that financial service organisations would greatly benefit from embracing Modern Data Protection, to ensure that the sensitive data they hold is always accessible and protected. In a world where markets have never been so fast paced and competitive, this approach will be integral to not only supporting the kinds of services consumers are demanding, but also in building the trust and confidence that the financial sector needs in order to thrive.
(1)Research commissioned for Veeam® Software, the leader in backup, recovery and data management solutions that deliver Modern Data Protection. The study of 2,000 UK consumers, conducted by Vitreous World late 2021, investigated their attitudes to data protection and perceptions of how businesses were performing in respect of caretaking and securing the customer data they held.