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Data security in financial services

Take a dynamic approach to financial services data security – meet strict regulations and protect customer privacy.

Challenge for financial institutions: retaining customer confidence

Financial institutions face ever-growing demands from regulatory bodies and customers. Compliance and data privacy are becoming as important as delivering customer-centric services. If you can’t guarantee the security of your customers’ data or the integrity of data as a whole, your brand will suffer and so will your business.

Local banks, global investment banks, and brokerage firms all have to meet the challenges posed withinfinancial services data security.Customers are particularly unforgiving of data losses. Banks that lose the trust of their customers can be quickly punished as people and companies look to other ‘trusted’ financial service providers – something that has become much easier with the growth of fintechs and new online banks that cherry pick high-return services.

Retaining customer confidence has never been more important or more difficult. Investing in financial data security is therefore a must. And in today’s fast-paced digital environment, that means dynamic solutions that stretch beyond legacy systems to include cloud and on-premise, meeting the constraints and possibilities of your IT environment.


Security vulnerabilities in the financial sector

As a bank, you are open to many security vulnerabilities. Attacks come from within and externally. Being prepared requires multiple security layers and proactive and reactive measures. Getting the mix right is crucial, particularly if you have a combination of legacy and modern systems where gaps in technology or staff’s financial services data security expertise can be exploited. But what are the most common threats to Data Security In Banking Industry?

  • Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)
  • Supply-chain incidents
  • Web application attacks
  • Insider threats

Addressing data vulnerabilities and data protection requirements for the financial sector

Data Security in Financial services is complex and vast. Large-scale and niche providers offer dedicated services to meet the needs of the many Financial Data Security challenges necessary to comply with strict regulations, protect customer integrity, and utilize data to drive business. Therefore, we believe that utilizing a standards-based financial services data security solution where appropriate is the best cause of action.

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks essentially overwhelm a system with requests so it cannot cope, crippling an application or website. Attacks can happen on different layers, ranging from the network to presentation and application layers. To mitigate them, minimize surface area exposure, use access control lists (ACL) and deploy web application firewalls (WAF).

Supply-chain incidents

Supply-chain incidents occur via third-party vendors that have security flaws or glitches in their software that enable attacks through the ´back-door´. These attacks can also come via a supplier to a third-party vendor. Thorough checking of suppliers is essential to ensure they meet your Financial Data Security requirements, particularly in terms of their data management practices. Adding a layer of IAM security may also be advisable.

Web application attacks

Web application attacks occur via the many web apps used in organizations today. SQL injections are a common method, for instance, for hackers to access or edit sensitive data including credit card or health record details. While cross-site scripting (XXS) attacks often inject malicious code into applications. Object Relational Mapping Tools (ORMs) can be used against SQL injections, while output encoding is often used to prevent ORMs.

Insider threats

Insider threats. What might be surprising to hear is that when it comes to Data Security In Banking Industry, the majority of attacks come from inside a bank, which is where a run-time authorization solution can offer the best protection. Some insider cyber incidents are unintentional, e.g., due to the introduction of malware, but many are intentional.

What is the answer?

You can’t please all your staff or simply ask them to stop, but you can upgrade your access control to protect your critical assets, i.e. to the Axiomatics dynamic authorization platform. Doing this will ensure only those with the right entitlements can access the right data under the right conditions. Automated auditing will also generate ‘paper trail’ reports so you can identify segregations of duties and follow any suspicious behavior. All this is done according to the business policies that exist in your organization and the regulations governing Data Security In Financial services.

If staff can’t access data they shouldn’t, they can’t do anything with it. If staff can access information they shouldn’t, it may be time to review policies. The only way to know this is by understanding who can access what and why.

Where else can a dynamic authorization solution help in the financial sector?

Dynamic authorization is essential for any financial services data security strategy, however, it offers many more advantages to banks and other actors in the financial sector. It’s used by financial institutions in the US, to South Africa, and Switzerland to Australia for multiple activities.

Online payment authorization

An international payment service provider chose Axiomatics to reduce operational costs of transactions and address their audit concerns. Transaction speed was increased as approvals could be automatically made if pre-determined conditions were met.


A large national bank chose Axiomatics to manage the delegation of permissions when role based access control didn’t suffice. They can now grant permissions for specific purposes while still upholding business and regulatory policies regarding customer data.

A European bank chose Axiomatics to comply with ‘conflicts of interest’ regulations regarding relationships between employees and their families, neighbors etc. Now customer’s financial data is not shared with tellers that they know personally and evidence of compliance is provided for auditing purposes.

Anomalous behaviour detection & response

A national bank chose Axiomatics to terminate access to users conducting behaviors associated with fraud. Financial losses associated with fraud and misuse have been reduced.

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