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Investing in managed security to beat budget constraints



by: Richard Ford, CTO at Integrity360


Cyber security professionals have confronted both challenges and opportunities in recent times.

Looking back at Gartner’s 2022 Board of Directors Survey, it’s clear that the C-suite is increasingly recognising cyber security as a key business priority. Indeed, between 2016 and 2021, the proportion of company boards that consider cyber security a business risk rose from 58% to 88%.

However, while this improvement in perception among business leaders provides reason for optimism, there are unfortunately other factors at play that are serving to stifle key progress – namely, the cost-of-living crisis.

Ultimately, it is tricky for CISOs and CIOs to harness improving security sentiment in any meaningful way in the current economic climate, with many businesses looking to reduce spend and get a better grip of their finances.

It’s a difficult situation. Of course, many businesses simply need to cut spend to navigate current uncertainty or stay afloat altogether. However, it’s potentially the worst possible time for firms to be taking their foot of the digital protection pedal.

Slashing cyber security budgets can create gaping holes in an organisation’s defences that, if exploited, may leave even the most financially savvy enterprises crippled. According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach 2022 report, for example, the average cost of a data breach last year was a whopping $4.35 million.

Not only that, but limiting expenditure can leave firms struggling to attract and retain increasingly scarce cyber security talent.

According the (ISC)2 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, there is currently an estimated shortage of 3.4 million security professionals globally, with Fortinet’s 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Research Report revealing that 80% of enterprises could have avoided breaches if they had had better cyber security skills.

The merits of managed detection and response

The current financial conundrum leaves many CISOs and CIOs lacking the necessary funds and resources to manage and increasing number of protective priorities.

More than ever before, the need for savvy and efficient investment is clear. So, where exactly should security leaders be focusing spend to optimise their organisation’s defences in the most cost-effective manner?

Managed detection and response (MDR) is often a good place to start.

Today, many organisations are burdened with protecting increasingly expansive digital footprints spanning cloud environments, user and machine identities, SaaS applications and remote user endpoints that extend far beyond the traditional network perimeter.

For companies struggling in this regard, MDR can be leveraged to redirect spend away from legacy solutions that are no longer fit for purpose and towards turnkey services delivering advanced threat prevention and detection technologies in respect of incident investigation, alert triaging, remediation and proactive threat hunting.

What is perhaps most attractive about MDR is the ability of firms to outsource many key aspects of their security strategy to external specialists.

Building an effective cyber security program from scratch can be expensive owing to the range of tools, licenses, and personnel required. However, in the case of MDR, many of the associated costs are shared across the provider’s customer base. This decreases the total cost of ownership dramatically, enabling all client organisations to achieve cyber security maturity more quickly than would be possible internally.

In essence, it removes the need for any single organisation to invest significant sums in bringing expensive solutions or security professionals commanding huge wage packets in-house. Instead, the same expertise can be tapped into as needed on a 24/7/365 basis, helping firms to bridge the cyber skills gaps in a cost-effective manner while easing the load on internal security teams.

The effectiveness of outsourcing for cash-strapped companies

Fortunately, the merits of this approach are increasingly being recognised.

In a recent Twitter poll by Integrity360, 29% of respondents agree that MDR should be prioritised, highlighting that they will allocate the most cyber security budget to managed security – and for good reason. Indeed, our research reveals that organisations utilising MDR services experience 62% less security incidents per year on average.

Our survey also shows that many entities are recognise the rewards of placing their trust in external specialists.

Four in 10 (40%) believe cyber security testing is best outsourced over handling in-house, while more than a third (35%) feel a service provider is better placed to manage cloud computing security. On the flip side, almost a third (31%) of respondents said their firms allocate 30% of their cyber security budgets to tools and solutions that are not used to their full potential.

Indeed, as cyber threats continue to evolve in frequency, sophistication and efficacy, companies must roll out a comprehensive service to meet their security needs. And MDR allows them to achieve this, without breaking the bank.

Having recently been named as a Representative Vendor in the 2023 Gartner Market Guide for Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Services, we understand the deep technical expertise and innovative technologies that can be used by MDRs to help companies to secure their operations while serving as an extension of their team:

  • MDR offers access to experienced security analysts on a 24/7 basis, without the costs of acquiring full-time staff and resources.
  • Delivers improved threat detection, extended detection coverage, and in-depth investigation of alerts and incidents.
  • Provides proactive threat hunting underpinned by broad threat intelligence databases.
  • Accelerates detection and response times, often backed by service level agreements (SLAs), to reduce the costs and impacts of attacks.
  • Delivers guided response and managed remediation to enable rapid recovery.
  • Improves compliance and reporting.

In the current economic climate, threat actors are actively looking to take advantage of opportunities and vulnerabilities. It’s therefore critical that even cash-strapped firms do not cut security corners. With MDR, dramatic improvements can be made, all while keeping costs down.


Emerging technology will power long-term sustainability within the UK banking industry 




By Peter-Jan Van De Venn, VP Global Digital Banking at Hexaware Mobiquity.


Sustainability has been a big focus for the banking industry in recent years, with the issue becoming increasingly important for consumers. It’s no wonder that sustainability has become baked into the purposes of almost every bank, from Natwest to HSBC.

However, the economic uncertainty of the last year has led to many banks putting it on the back burner. Challenging market conditions have forced financial institutions to change their priorities to concentrate on protecting the bottom line. Our research found there’s been a significant drop in the number of UK banks saying that sustainability remains a key business strategy. 12 months ago it was a major priority for 100 per cent of banks, but now that number has shrunk to 60 percent.

Whilst it’s understandable that banks are feeling the pressure at the moment, there’s a risk that they will miss out if they hit the pause button. From cost savings brought by innovative digital products and services, to improved brand reputation and increased profitability, there are a lot of longer-term benefits they could be failing to unlock. So how can they keep moving forward?

Losing momentum

Emerging technology holds the key to their success, with the power to disrupt current behaviours and promote a more sustainable culture. Banks are already aware of this, with 76 percent using digital transformation to drive sustainability, but a lack of leadership has made it difficult to build momentum in the last 12 months. Currently just over half (54 percent) of banks have tasked an executive at board level with overseeing sustainability – way down from 83% just 12 months ago.

This lack of board authority means banks are struggling to engage the entire organisation to move ahead with sustainable initiatives. As a result, almost two-thirds of banks are seeing progress slow, admitting they are not actively taking steps to foster more sustainable behaviours throughout the organisation. Those that have taken their foot off the gas need to find a way to move forward again.

No time for standing still

Banks know that technology can drive sustainable behaviour. For instance, many of them are already encouraging their workforce to work remotely, as a way of reducing travel. This has two benefits – not only does it cut the costs of running physical offices at full capacity, but also reduces the bank’s carbon footprint. There has never been a better time to invest in technology to drive more sustainable behaviours.

New digital products and services can also extend the benefits beyond employees to encompass the wider customer base. A fair number of banks are already investing to make this happen. More than a third (35 percent) of banking organisations are using Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud and analytics to make digital services more easily accessible. Investment in these technologies will be critical as the number of physical bank branches continues to decrease, with figures from Which? showing this is taking place at a rate of 54 branch closures each month.

Hitting environmental and social responsibility goals

Emerging technologies can also help banks keep pace with tightening ESG rules and regulations. Banks are faced with demands for increasingly granular reporting and transparency on ESG – demanding a new approach. In line, 41% of them are developing data visualisation tools to improve stakeholder engagement and understanding of ESG risks and opportunities, while 37% are using machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify and track ESG risks and opportunities across a wide range of data sources.

More than one in three are also using the blockchain to improve transparency and traceability in supply chains, and implementing digital tools and platforms to collect, analyse, and report ESG data and metrics in a standardised and consistent manner. All these applications of emerging technology will put banks on track to address global environmental challenges and unlock a greener future.

Long-term sustainability

As the economic pressures hopefully start to subside, increasing numbers of banks will start investigating how they can use emerging technologies to provide engaging experiences and value-added services for customers, to drive greater revenue and efficiencies.

Whilst banks are right to focus on their revenue under difficult trading conditions, it’s important they don’t miss out on the long-term benefits that sustainability can bring. To capitalise on this, banks must keep pushing the boundaries and invest in emerging innovations to drive more sustainable banking behaviours, benefiting the planet and driving great digital experiences for customers.

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The Future of Banking: Streamlined Cash Management for ATMs




Gaetano Ziri, Innovation Manager, Auriga


“Maintaining free access to cash for the community demands robust strategies to mitigate the escalating costs incurred by banks and ATM operators in handling cash. A pivotal step in this direction is modernising cash management systems to foster efficiency and reduce operational costs.

Back in 2018, a report by McKinsey underscored the urgent need to overhaul the largely manual and disjointed systems relied upon by nearly half the banks worldwide for forecasting cash requirements at branches and ATMs. Despite the decrease in cash usage noted by the European Central Bank, the cost of managing cash has not abated, primarily due to surging labour costs.

To reconcile the demand for free access to cash with the requisite cost reductions, banks are increasingly turning towards tech-driven solutions in cash management that elevate service levels while driving down expenses.

The Complex Landscape of ATM Network Management

Operating a vast ATM network can be a double-edged sword for banks, simultaneously offering customer convenience and engendering considerable challenges, including substantial cash handling, management, transit and security costs. Each ATM embodies a multifaceted operation involving numerous cash transfer operatives, necessitating a coordinated strategy to forestall costly inefficiencies.

The remedy is a holistic, data-centric approach to streamline the management of intricate ATM networks and counter the escalating costs associated with cash access. The merits of such an approach, grounded in continuous data collection and analysis across ATM networks, encompass:

  • Strategic Planning: Leveraging real-time data to craft bespoke strategies for individual branches or regions, assuring optimal cash flow management and averting superfluous cash loading orders.
  • Operational Transparency: Facilitating stakeholders with instantaneous access to accounting and operational data relating to cash supply chains, thereby enabling timely interventions and adaptations.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Minimising ATM downtimes to guarantee uninterrupted cash access to customers, enhancing their banking experience.

Innovations in Cash Management: A Closer Look

So, how does this revolutionary cash management technology function? The answer lies in a series of sophisticated features that employ cutting-edge predictive analytics, automation, and data-driven decision-making:

  • Predictive Analysis: Forward-thinking solutions predict cash necessities of distinct units, offering precise demand and cash flow projections by considering variables such as seasonal fluctuations, holidays, and daily usage trends.
  • Automation and Monitoring: Swapping manual processes or basic mathematical functions with modern software solutions for cash management ushers in real-time monitoring and efficient intervention planning, which can potentially diminish order management costs by a significant margin, whilst improving precision and operational fluidity.
  • Optimised Cash Transit Management: Utilising predictive analytics to strategically plan cash restocks, thereby reducing the likelihood of ATMs depleting their cash reserves and improving customer satisfaction.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Availing a comprehensive dashboard to generate timely reports and monitor critical metrics facilitates strategic decision-making grounded in accurate data, substantially reducing residual cash stock in ATMs.

As the financial landscape evolves, banks and financial institutions are impelled to adapt and innovate. Traditional cash management approaches are increasingly becoming outdated, paving the way for modern, data-driven solutions. These not only embody a commitment to technological advancement but also signify a strategic movement towards future readiness.

Embracing such technologies promises streamlined operations, substantial cost reductions, and a superior customer experience, setting a new standard in ATM network management.”

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