As the Chief Product and Technology Officer of a growing FinTech, I am often called on to speak to our cybersecurity policies and practices. Understandably, cybersecurity is a critical part of a community bank’s infrastructure, both internally and with vendors. These questions often fall in three main areas:
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Have you successfully completed a SOC 2 assessment?
SOC 2 is a third party review of a service provider’s data security policies, as well as their adherence to these plans. It can be considered a “seal of approval” that a provider is safeguarding data properly. SOC 2 is designed to be applicable to all software-as-a-service vendors, as well as any entity storing a customer’s data. If a vendor is SOC 2 compliant, it means their organization maintains a high level of information security to protect their clients. All software vendors should be evaluated for SOC 2 compliance. Community bankers should ensure that all data processed through third party service providers is secure.
How are your penetration tests (“pen tests”) managed? Is it by an independent third-party vendor and how frequently are they performed?
Pen tests allow vendors to identify vulnerabilities within the system that can be potentially exploited via cyber-attack. To maintain accuracy and unbiased results, pen tests should be conducted by an independent third-party vendor. As a vendor ourselves, we conduct pen tests annually and also before every major product launch. You can ask for a summary of your vendor’s pen test to have a better understanding of the potential vulnerabilities within the vendor’s infrastructure, understand other outstanding issues, and the timeline for resolution. This will ensure that you understand the risks regarding the safety of your customer’s data.
What other preventative measures are in place?
There are at least three more important preventative security measures to look out for. First, whether the vendor uses Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), which requires users to provide two or more credentials to log-in (such as a code sent to your email or phone). Second, another crucial preventative measure is employee training and awareness. A strong vendor should conduct training on relevant topics, from regulatory compliance, to phishing and social engineering. This allows every employee to be aware of potential cyber threats and to maintain a secure organization. Third, you should ensure that your vendor has clear internal processes for employee access to data, such as onboarding/offboarding and background checks.
Mohan Rao is the Chief Product and Technology Officer at StreetShares, a digital business banking solution provider. StreetShares’ Atlas Platform rapidly enables community banks with complete business product solutions from sales to closing. The Atlas Platform levels the playing field for community bankers to compete with the largest banks and financial technology firms. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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