2021 might be the year of the ransomware attack, with big-name attacks targeting everything from the health care industry to energy. While ransomware attempts to exploit your data for hackers’ financial gain, for many businesses, the worst-case scenario is that their financial data becomes compromised.
A financial data breach can cause your audience to distrust you or blame you for exposing their sensitive data to hackers. There are material and reputational damages to your business model. Fortunately, AI can bolster your cybersecurity efforts by keeping financial data safe. Here’s how.
Sophisticated hackers have a variety of tools in their arsenal when it comes to obtaining your financial data. These include:
- Phishing emails
- Malware such as ransomware
- System and device misconfigurations
- Unpatched system vulnerabilities
- Lack of end-to-end encryption
- Exploiting weak or recycled passwords
Identifying Threats Using Algorithms
These days, small businesses need cybersecurity solutions that are predictive. These solutions can monitor incoming traffic and make smart decisions regarding the origin and intent of the traffic.
Using algorithms and machine learning, AI quarantines potentially suspicious traffic for further analysis. This takes place before the attacker can gain access to your financial data through something such as a phishing email sent to an employee.
AI cybersecurity solutions run 24/7, unlike your IT team. This provides constant protection.
Defending Firewalls Using Predictive Intelligence
When attackers breach the firewall, they stand to gain access to your business data. AI uses predictive intelligence to recognize potentially suspicious traffic and deny it access at the firewall.
For example, if employees try to access part of the server they should not need, per their job description, the AI can pause access while determining if the request is legitimate. This comes in handy when a hacker has obtained legitimate credentials through phishing or when employees recycle passwords across multiple websites. It also prevents attacks that arise when a hacker has obtained entry into your system by exploring a loophole, such as a configuration error or software that was not patched.
Maintaining Encryption During Data Analyses
Encryption helps protect the integrity of your data by using a code. When the AI is analyzing data, it maintains the existing encryption so that data is not shared with potential attackers. This prevents anyone unauthorized from getting a glimpse at the real data.
Providing Notification of Weaknesses
While there are other ways to keep up to date with potential weaknesses, such as system configuration errors or authentication issues, AI makes it easy by providing notifications, so an IT team member does not have to keep track.
When notifications come in automatically, your IT employees can then take the right action. They might adjust access controls for users or update the system configuration to remove a loophole that a hacker could exploit. Since the AI takes care of monitoring and notification, your IT staff can work on higher-level issues that better protect business data.
Hackers have financial motivation to continue to chip away at your cybersecurity system in the hopes of gaining access to your financial data. Smart small businesses understand that it is not a matter of if their system is breached, but when it is breached. They invest in cybersecurity systems that reduce their area of risk to the smallest possible target through constant monitoring, aggressive access control and automation.
By understanding the ways your financial data is vulnerable, the most common methods used to exploit it, and the ways AI and your IT team can work in tandem to keep your data safe, your small business is empowered to make the right decisions with cybersecurity.
For further information on this timely topic, see the accompanying resource.
Author bio: Peter Braverman is Vice President of Sales for Donnelley Financial Solutions™, a financial software solutions company. He has 16 years of experience in the industry and focuses on selling SaaS solutions in the Capital Markets industry.