8 challenges that keep financial services CTOs and CIOs up at night

Experts in financial services, IT, security and compliance discuss the major issues facing IT executives at financial services companies.

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“Companies have invested heavily in advanced technology, from firewalls to SIEM tools, but they’re often forced to prune data due to cost and scalability limitations of tools,” says Don Brown, cofounder & CIO, Rocana. “That means they often can’t shed light on events that happened months ago, putting them at risk of attacks that lay dormant for weeks or months. To sleep well at night, IT leaders need… solutions that allow them to collect all data from all sources and keep it accessible and searchable in real-time for advanced forensics.”

6. Compliance with government and industry regulations

Companies operating in the financial services sector must comply with a host of government and industry regulations. And adhering to these regulations, as well as keeping abreast of new regulations, often falls to the CTO or CIO.

“The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering compliance [in particular] has taken a toll on CIOs and CTOs for years,” says Larry Larmeu, managing director, L2 Digital. “Banks have to comb through transactions for possible fraud and report them to the federal government. Some banks have over 1,000 employees dedicated to this alone,” he reports. “New data analytics capabilities are lessening the burden for some banks, but some have legacy systems that are difficult to integrate with these big data processing platforms.”

And the BSA is just one of many regulations financial services have to comply with, with new regulations being proposed on a regular basis.

Case in point: on Sept. 13, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York proposed a first-of-its-kind regulation that would require “banks, insurance companies and other financial services institutions regulated by the State Department of Financial Services… to establish and maintain a cybersecurity program designed to protect consumers and ensure the safety and soundness of New York State’s financial services industry.” 

Specifically, the regulation would require “regulated financial institutions to establish a cybersecurity program; adopt a written cybersecurity policy; designate a Chief Information Security Officer responsible for implementing, overseeing and enforcing its new program and policy; and have policies and procedures designed to ensure the security of information systems and nonpublic information accessible to, or held by, third-parties, along with a variety of other requirements to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information systems.” 

7. Data silos

“According to a [recently] released [Liferay] survey of financial industry executives (including many CIOs and CTOs), it seems clear that cooperation between departments – or a lack thereof – is often the source of many headaches,” says John Choi, director of Operations, Liferay. “These leaders want to present a seamless, omnichannel user experience to their customers. However, 56 percent of respondents said access to IT resources is an obstacle, while 46 percent said the fact that different business units own different parts of the customer lifecycle was the primary barrier to addressing the lifecycle in full.”

[ Related: How blockchain will disrupt your business ]

8. New technology (business disrupters)

“As the number of disrupters in the financial services space continues to rise (Venmo, blockchain-based payment systems, etc.) more CIOs and CTOs ask themselves if what they offer, or plan to offer in the near future, will allow them to keep pace or outpace the competition,” says Crowe. “Mobile banking and remote check deposit are old news. The need to unearth and deploy new technologies and systems that will better serve and streamline their customers’ experiences is now of paramount concern for maintaining long-term business viability.”

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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