The emergence of five technology-related trends over the next few years will create tremendous opportunities for business, including financial services institutions (FSIs) operating in our evolving and demanding “New IT” landscape. But a significant risk management challenge accompanies those opportunities for FSIs: refocusing their security mindset so the organizations do not miss out on those opportunities.

As Accenture discusses in a new report—Security in the Financial Services Sector–Ready for the “New”?—these five trends are:

  • Intelligent automation: By weaving together systems, data, and people together, artificial intelligence will overhaul not only how organizations function but also what they do, fundamentally changing organizations.
  • Liquid workforces: While organizations already are investing in technologies and tools to remain competitive in the digital era, they also need the right people to harness those investments and create value. But companies are falling behind in developing liquid workforces—ones that are adaptable and responsive to the many changes their organizations will face.
  • A platform economy: By strategically harnessing technology to produce digital businesses, many companies in various industries already are creating adaptable, scalable and interconnected platforms for the developing ecosystem-based digital economy.
  • Predictable disruption: Few organizations fully grasp how dramatic and ongoing the transformative changes could be in the new ecosystem-based digital economy. Beyond redefining business models, we anticipate that these ecosystems producing powerful, predictable disruption that could lead to whole industries and economic segments reinventing themselves.
  • Digital trust: Without the trust of consumers and other organizational stakeholders, businesses cannot share and use the data that underpins their operations. That is why the most advanced security systems go well beyond establishing perimeter security and incorporate a powerful commitment to the highest ethical standards for data.

Despite the opportunities these development offer, FSIs likely will face difficulties creating value for themselves and their stakeholders without first taking a proper risk management approach. FSIs’ risk management mindset should shift away from a purely security-compliance focus. Instead, FSIs need to manage risk at every organizational level in a manner that also aids them in meeting strategic goals.

Chief security officers (CSOs) have a pivotal role in facilitating this shift. We have observed that CSOs who embrace this new mindset are helping to drive innovation within their organizations.

Importantly, those CSOs also are better at preparing their organizations for the risks inherent in digital technology. Cyber security experts warn that all organizations will, at some point, face an attack from one of several types of cyber criminals, as the Accenture Security framework illustrates below.

While mounting a strong defense against these threats is critical, organizations would be short-sighted if they did not consider the possibility that one of these attacks might breach their defenses. In that situation, organizations should have the capabilities in place to detect and respond to a breach to mitigate losses. Organizations also should be prepared to execute a strong action plan to recover from the breach as quickly as possible to avoid or mitigate reputational damage, a reduction in market share and a loss of revenue and profits.

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