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9th December 2015
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As Fund Administration complexity and regulatory burdens grow, technology is playing an increasingly critical role in the administration process. This has brought about an ever increasing risk in the form of cyberattacks. These attacks can be catastrophic for the administration sector where data flow is transferred to and from multiple sources and systems have become increasingly integrated.
The days of relegating cyber risk management to the IT department are officially over and any administrator worth its salt ensures that cyber risk is proactively managed through informed decision making within each level of their organisation.
Karen Malone, founding partner of Centaur comments, “Centaur takes cyber security extremely seriously and manages cyber risk continuously and proactively. We understand what is at stake and are constantly making improvements to our protocols and procedures. We have recently had our IT security provisions reviewed and assessed by Deloitte’s Information Security Services division, the global leader in cyber security consulting.”
So how can administrators proactively manage the cyber threat landscape?
- Risk Assessment Process:
This is a hot topic for the Central Bank of Ireland, the SEC, and the FCA, with all of them recommending that firms should conduct periodic assessments of their systems and create a strategy that is designed to prevent, detect and respond to cyber security threats. The threat of cyberattack is continuously evolving. New threats arise as weak points are closed. It’s about understanding the nature of the threat, so that an administrator can set out processes and procedures to protect itself on a continuing basis.Karen states, “Centaur conducts ongoing risk assessments to identify cyber security threats, vulnerabilities, and potential business consequences. We continually review and analyse risks, vulnerabilities and alerts with our technology partners.”
- Data Governance Policy:
Governance plays a vital role in realising the security objectives of the organization, both for its current and future needs. To proactively manage cyber threats, administrators need to develop a sound control environment to ensure proper management of data, ensuring that it remains accurate and accessible whilst being protected. This includes assessing the firm’s strengths and weaknesses and prioritising enhancements. The ongoing development of the control environment needs to take into account that the underlying risk is ever changing and the rules governing data will also have to change as part of the risk management process.“We have employed multiple layers of security across all aspects of Centaur’s technology. Data is encrypted and backed up daily to a secure offsite location and can be quickly restored. We also ensure that these levels of security don’t compromise the accessibility of data to clients,” continues Karen.
- Continual Implementation:
A firm’s cyber security plan must have robust policies and procedures in place through every level of their business. It should be reviewed regularly and also tailored to suit the administrators’ needs. Areas such as system maintenance, user access, business continuity and employee training need to be addressed. For example, far too many security breaches take place due to simple employee errors. As the saying goes “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. The same is true for every cyber security policy. Attackers will always look for the easiest point of entry and those points will change as a business grows. The key to the effective implementation of a cyber security plan is vigilance. The process is never complete.Karen says, “We take an integrated approach to cyber risk by ensuring that we have robust procedures in place, which are being followed and continuously reviewed. Our team of professional engineers and consultants ensure that Centaur provides a safe and secure environment for clients and employees, backed by the best technology partners and products the industry has to offer.”
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