The UK FinTech industry is growing rapidly, with FinTech companies having captured almost 15% of the market revenue and a third of new revenue.
But this staggering growth comes with its challenges, especially when it comes to information security. With a reliance on online platforms, FinTech companies are more vulnerable to data breaches.
As a FinTech company, how can you ensure that your data stays safe and secure?
That is where the ISO 27001 certification (an international standard for information security) comes in.
We’ve put this guide together to help you understand the critical security challenges you may face as a FinTech company and how ISO 27001 certification can help you set processes to tackle them.
What are the key security challenges FinTech companies face?
Information is power, especially for companies that manage large volumes of sensitive information.
Because of this, FinTech companies must be more prepared for any vulnerability and defend against malicious attacks from hackers.
Here are a few challenges you may encounter:
- Data breaches
Data breaches expose data to unauthorised people and can cause significant financial losses (the average cost is $5.85 million). They usually happen due to technical issues or weaknesses in your system.
- Digital identity fraud
Digital identity fraud is when hackers create strong fake identities and steal customers’ digital identities. Most FinTech companies use digital identities for authorisation and authentication, so it can be a severe issue if someone uses stolen credentials to make payments.
- Malware attacks
Malware attacks refer to malicious software such as spyware and ransomware that try to steal information or hold data for ransom. These are often the most common threats FinTechs face.
So now that you know what to expect, how can you use the ISO 27001 certification to avoid and reduce the likelihood of these attacks?
Leveraging the ISO 27001 certification for FinTech: How can it help with information security?
Before we look at how exactly the certification can help, let’s first understand what it stands for and what it is.
- ISO 27001 is an internationally recognised standard that outlines best practices for managing important information. That includes providing companies with a blueprint of policies, procedures, and controls to set up an effective information security system (ISMS).
- ISO 27001 certification means that your ISMS has been approved or certified by an independent certifying body.
With that covered, let’s review how the ISO 27001 certification can help.
- Set up transparent processes that are aligned with security's best practices for your company to manage information
On your journey to getting ISO 27001 certified, you can define what information you want to protect (Scope of ISMS), set up processes to handle data breaches, and continuously monitor the system for new threats and gaps.
- Comply with laws and regulations
Mandatory laws like the UK GDPR are enforced for companies that handle personal data. With the ISO 27001 certification, your company can have an up-to-date ISMS, as you’ll be conducting regular audits to ensure your company has best practices.
- Analyse gaps in your current ISMS
Using gap analysis, you can compare how you currently protect your information against the requirements of ISO 27001. This way, you’ll know if your system is still up to date and follows best practices.
- Track, manage, and protect your assets
As a part of the ISO 27001 journey, asset management, is a process that helps you take account of all the essential tangible and intangible assets in your company. It enables you prioritise what should be protected and how.
- Identify security flaws and set up processes to prevent them
Risk assessment lays the groundwork for information security and helps you recognise, analyse, and decide how to respond to these threats.
Along with the ISO 27001 certification, you must ensure that your team and company culture align with your information security goals.
Why do FinTech companies need to build a culture of security awareness as a part of the ISO 27001 journey?
While the ISO 27001 certification establishes clear guidelines for protecting your information, your team needs to be ready to stay alert and ensure the standard’s best practices are followed.
Here’s why this is important:
- Your employees will be your active partners in implementing your company’s information security. They’ll consider information security part of their daily duties and hold themselves and others accountable.
- A shared understanding of your FinTech company’s security policies can improve reporting and performance.
- Better customer service since all your employees know the basic protocols for dealing with sensitive customer information.
- Fewer chances for data breaches through humans. Your employees would know to look out for suspicious emails and psychological techniques bad actors use.
Building trust with ISO 27001 certification
ISO 27001 certification makes sense for any company that wants to show the outside world how seriously it takes information security. This is especially true if you are a FinTech company.
- On the one hand, as a FinTech you process highly sensitive data from your customers. So it’s even more important that they can trust you. ISO 27001 certification is one of many trust-building measures that you can use to consolidate your reputation and speed up sales processes.
- On the other hand, FinTech start-ups almost always live off investments. And investors’ due diligence process runs much more smoothly if you have a successful certification in place. If information security comes up in your pitch, having certification will set you miles apart from your competitors.
If you're a financial institution, big or small, then staying compliant is more important than ever. Regardless of the size of your company, regulatory pressures sometimes lead to unnecessary fear and frustration.
ISO 27001 helps to eliminate that fear and frustration, allowing financial institutions in all stages of maturity to achieve the professionalism in data protection that they need—and to help protect their company data for the long term.
How can DataGuard help FinTech companies securely manage data?
Complying with ISO 27001 can initially seem challenging, especially in a highly regulated industry like financial services. At DataGuard, we empower FinTech companies implement and obtain ISO 27001 certification.
We help with services such as asset protection, IT management, policy on security, threat reduction, and more.
Interested in getting ISO 27001 certified?
Schedule a meeting with our experts or check out ISO 27001 Certification to learn more about the certification.
If you enjoyed reading this, you can also check out Data Privacy for Startups: What to Consider (Checklist).