WatchGuard Blog

What do financial services look for in an MSP?

Data and money are two of the key assets that any industry needs to protect, and this is particularly important for financial institutions. Defending financial services against cyberattacks can be managed internally by relying on the organization's own systems; however, relying on an external cybersecurity provider offers a number of advantages that make a difference in the event of an attack.

 What are the specific needs of the financial industry that an MSP must meet?

  • Flexibility in response to changes in the regulatory framework that generate structural changes in the market and in response to demanding regulations. A sudden change in legislation may force the financial institution to make investments and organizational changes in a short period of time.
  • Meeting the growing customer demand for electronic banking solutions and ensuring secure access to electronic banking by protecting against fraud and cyberattacks.
  • Keeping up to date with technological advances without making constant investments in hardware, employing scalable solutions at every step to address the needs of electronic banking.
  • Protecting employee connectivity, most of whom work from mobile devices.

MSPs must be able to provide financial services with a series of solutions safeguarding them from a cyberattack. This means they must be able to offer them:

  • VPN tunnels to protect remote connections: financial services handle extremely sensitive information and its work centers are distributed across an extensive geographical area. And, in many cases, banking staff use mobile devices for work, which means that they can connect to multiple networks that may or may not be open. In this sense, a VPN connection encrypts data by creating a "tunnel" so that, if hackers manage to gain access to an employee’s connection, regardless of the user’s location, they would not be able to decrypt it. This is also an advantage in cases where the financial service has implemented remote access measures.
  • MFA authentication to verify access authenticity: Phishing attacks increased 521%, between October 2021 and January 2022, with a significant percentage of them targeting financial services. Using a personal device as a way of verifying the authenticity of a login, especially for online banking, is so important that cyber insurance providers now require MFA implementation before they issue a policy.
  • Patch management to resolve any potential vulnerabilities in the system quickly, since not applying patches as soon as they become available poses a risk to the network. This is a key part of endpoint solutions that aim to provide comprehensive protection for financial services.
  • Firewall to monitor traffic flow and block attacks: Firebox appliances inspect network traffic flow at multiple layers and proactively block denial of service (DoS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks; as well as spyware, malware, and many other web threats without relying on signature patterns for robust protection against zero day attacks. In countries like the United States, the Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council even requires a quarterly audit of financial institutions' firewall security. Thus, banks and credit unions must stay on top of their firewall security and proactively monitor this system to ensure they can effectively counter malicious activity.

Staying on top of all these cybersecurity issues to protect such lucrative assets for criminals can be a challenge for financial services.  If MSPs understand the needs of these institutions, they can grow their business while helping an industry fighting to stay secure.                                                      

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