Cybersecurity in 2024: A Focus on FinTech’s Top Concerns and Strategies

A recent survey has revealed that a significant number of compliance professionals in the asset management, investment adviser, and private markets sectors are unprepared for the cybersecurity risks associated with AI, according to Fintech Global. The 2024 Cybersecurity Benchmarking Survey, conducted by ACA Group and the National Society of Compliance Professionals (NSCP), highlights the growing concerns and strategies within the industry.

According to the survey, 44% of respondents are anxious about the enforcement of the SEC’s new cybersecurity regulations, indicating a widespread uncertainty regarding regulatory compliance. Additionally, 36% of compliance professionals are concerned about meeting the cyber incident reporting requirements and deadlines set by the SEC, further emphasizing the industry’s anxiety about regulatory preparedness.

One of the key findings of the survey is the cautious approach towards AI in cybersecurity risk management. While nearly half of the professionals are exploring AI as a cybersecurity tool, 38% have not yet recognized AI as a potential cybersecurity threat, and 27% do not see its relevance to cybersecurity at all. This suggests a need for greater awareness and understanding of AI’s role in enhancing cybersecurity defenses.

The survey also highlights the primary cyber threats causing concern among respondents, including payment fraud/business email compromise (70%), ransomware (67%), and privacy threats to personal identifiable information (52%). Interestingly, only 5% of respondents recognize deepfakes as a potential threat, indicating varying perceptions of cyber threats within the financial services sector.

Despite these concerns, approximately 79% of compliance professionals feel confident in their firm’s ability to respond to a cyber breach. However, only 40% have conducted an external test of their response plan, suggesting a potential gap in preparedness. Confidence is similarly high in managing unforeseen system outages, with 83% of respondents expressing confidence in their firm’s preparedness.

The survey also raises concerns about vendor cybersecurity practices, with over half of the firms (51%) not renegotiating vendor contracts to include additional cybersecurity provisions in the last two years. This highlights potential vulnerabilities in the supply chain and the need for greater vigilance in vendor management.

The survey underscores the critical importance of staying ahead of evolving cybersecurity threats. As Mike Pappacena, Partner at ACA Aponix, emphasized, «Regulatory compliance remains a top concern,» and it’s clear that firms need robust regulatory guidance and solutions to navigate these challenges effectively. Lisa Crossley, Executive Director at NSCP, also highlighted the survey’s value in helping compliance professionals prioritize their cybersecurity programs and stay informed about current and emerging cybersecurity trends and challenges.

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