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Harmonize FinServ Cybersecurity Standards with the Financial Sector Cybersecurity Profile

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The Financial Services Sector (FSSCC) Cyber Security Profile is one of the critical pieces of information used for proving compliance across a host of standards necessary of financial institutions of all types, financial services companies, financial firms, and their third-party providers. In 2018, a survey showed that CISOs in the financial services sector spent 40% of their time, and their teams’ time reconciling various cybersecurity and regulatory frameworks instead of focusing on cybersecurity needs. This time spent was because each regulation has its own standards for institutions to follow for their cybersecurity initiatives resulting in a segmented approach to compliance with various regulatory standards. As such, the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council developed the Financial Services Sector Cybersecurity Profile to unify CISOs and practitioners’ efforts to maintain and improve their compliance activity.

The FSSCC Cybersecurity Profile uses a cybersecurity risk management-based approach, very similar to the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, from which it draws inspiration. One thing that separates the FSSCC from the NIST CSF is that the FSSCC is broken up into four impact tiers based on an institution’s impact on the world.

Financial Services Sector Cybersecurity Profile Tiers

Financial Services Sector Cybersecurity Profile Tier 1: National/Super-National Impact

Tier 1 institutions provide services to millions of customer accounts and have the most potential adverse impact on the North American economy’s overall stability, and potentially, the global market. These are designated as most critical.

Financial Services Sector Cybersecurity Profile Tier 2: Subnational Impact

These institutions provide mission-critical services with millions of customer accounts. The cyber risk exposure of an institution of this size would have the potential for a substantial adverse impact on the financial services sector and subnational regional economy.

Financial Services Sector Cybersecurity Profile Tier 3: Sector Impact

These institutions have a high degree of interconnectedness, with certain institutions acting as critical nodes for their sector. Coordinating with your sector coordinating council of the FSSCC can help you find if you qualify for this tier.

Financial Services Sector Cybersecurity Profile Tier 4: Localized Impact

These institutions have a limited impact on the overall financial services sector and the national economy, often with less than one million customers.

How the Financial Services Sector Cybersecurity Profile Enables Harmonization

Using tiers to segment your financial institution is necessary since the FSSCC Profile is a scalable tool, and tiering will allow you to track the proper controls and cyber risk management assessments. Additionally, the profile can be used as a baseline assessment tool. It can also be extended to be used for internal and external assessments, including to evaluate partners, vendors, and third-party service providers.

Also, using a risk-based approach allows an organization to unify its cybersecurity teams with the C-Suite and Board by making cybersecurity language like benchmarking, risk assessment, risk mitigation, and audit common practice; therefore, resources can be properly and efficiently allocated to bolster your cybersecurity and compliance objectives.

Many C-Suites and Boards of Directors prioritize cybersecurity as a business concern and practitioners can expect institutions to seek solutions that continuously track, harmonize and automate their compliance practices over time. Using an integrated risk management program like CyberStrong can empower your organization to track not only FFIEC, but other gold standard cybersecurity frameworks alongside it. FFIEC was built upon the best practices of multiple frameworks, like the NIST CSF, COBIT, DFARS and SOX to name a few, and using an integrated risk management solution can harmonize those frameworks by crosswalking and automating your compliance efforts ass well as benchmark against your current risk profile. If you have any questions or want to discuss how CyberStrong or Integrated Risk Management benefits financial institutions, give us a call at 1-800-NIST CSF or click here to schedule a free demo.

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