By Karen Epper Hoffman
Digital banking channels may be moving many customer interactions out of the branch, but until recently, most bank employees still spent their days working in financial firms’ premises.
As the coronavirus lockdown plodded forward, banks have been forced to very quickly adjust to a new reality of having many if not most of their employees work from home—a shift a lot of financial institutions have been ill-prepared to make. “Many companies were not ready to deal with a large remote workforce,” says Mathieu Auger-Perreault, director for fraud and security at Javelin Strategy and Research. In a March 2020 Javelin research note, Auger-Perreault cited protocol lapse, social engineering and malicious and negligent insider incursions as security threats that have been heightened with “a sudden work-from-home workforce.”
The financial industry has been forced to fast-forward telework arrangements for a wide and varied range of staff, from frontline employees who typically worked in the branch to top executives, who may need broad access to bank systems, data and files. For many financial institutions, who had up until recently allowed only a few select employees to work from home (or none at all), this sudden change has not only affected the logistics of their day-to-day banking business, but also how they handle information security across a distributed enterprise.
For banks, moving so rapidly to a remote workforce “has forced a refocusing on the need to secure endpoints including laptops and mobile devices that employees are using for work, whether company-issued or otherwise,” says Matthew B. Welling, counsel in Crowell and Moring’s privacy and cybersecurity and energy groups.
“Typically, organizations focus primarily on securing their company systems and networks, with those endpoints getting a secondary focus because they’re operating within the system and are protected by multiple layers of security built into company systems,” Welling continues. “Now, teleworking employees and their endpoints are outside the companies’ fences, and also outside of those layers of security.”
Take for example the State Bank Group, a $230-million-asset bank headquartered in Wonder Lake, Ill. With eight locations and 75 employees, President and CEO Michelle Toll describes her…
Read More: Securing the Remote Bank Workforce