Don’t forget security when digitising workflows

24/05/20194 Minute Read

The financial services industry is responsible for managing the billions of dollars of personal and corporate funds that move between parties every moment of every day. Over recent years, banks, insurers, and other companies have digitised the workflows handling these transactions to keep up with customer expectations and technological innovation. At the same time, however, they’ve also needed to make sure digitising workflows doesn’t compromise workflow security.

While people often consider the most important assets within the financial services industry to be money, the most valuable resource handled is actually customer trust. If customers don’t trust their bank or insurer to responsibly handle their data, they’ll pull their money out of the company.

For that reason, the industry is faced with a careful balancing act as it deploys digital services. On one hand, by digitising workflows, industry players can become more efficient. But on the other hand, doing so could introduce unexpected risks into the IT environment.

Get smarter about service

Large companies in the financial services and insurance sector have hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of customers. Communication channels need to be simple to use, accessible, and available from a myriad of devices to create an effective customer journey—and this, in turn, requires secure communication channels.

Most organisations already allow customers to reach out via online forms, web-based chat, and other digital channels. However, the enquiries received from each channel are often handled differently, managed by different teams of people, or logged in different places. That disparity can lead to confusion and frustration as customer details get lost between channels and they have to answer the same questions multiple times.

By creating a cohesive customer service experience where all those channels are united and managed in a single workflow, you can streamline the experience for customers, as well as for support associates. Digitisation allows voice calls to be stored with customer records and automatically transcribed. Online chat, email, and other forms of communication can be similarly pulled together. From there, automated systems that use machine learning can help staff synthesise these communications and find solutions quickly—especially for more routine concerns.

Don’t forget, however, that once you begin bringing this information together, it will need securing. Storing all available information about a customer in one place could raise major privacy concerns if you’re not careful. To streamline customer communication without introducing new risks, make sure to follow basic cybersecurity hygiene practices, such as encrypting customer data, practicing network segmentation, and locking down your endpoints. You’ll also want to ensure the customer is fully aware of your privacy policies.

Think about the entire information lifecycle

When a client sends confidential information to their banker or financial adviser, they trust their data will be handled securely and protected from the moment it arrives right through to archiving when the transaction is complete. Planning is a prerequisite for living up to that trust. When digitising the information lifecycle, first map out exactly what that lifecycle will look like. Once you have a firm lifecycle roadmap, you can select the right tools for managing it.

Focus on tools that come with compliance and security built in. As digital information travels from one system to another or gets passed between your employees, it’s easy for leakages to occur. The best way to prevent this is by having precise visibility into exactly where all your customer information travels and establishing specific workflow security strategies for each stage of the information lifecycle.

Take action at the endpoint

As you work to secure new digital workflows, you should also update your endpoints to handle those workflows. These are the devices that digitised workflows will be carried out on, and they need to be protected accordingly.

Endpoint security in financial services no longer solely applies to obvious endpoints, like laptops and smartphones. Increasingly, network-connected devices, like multifunction printers, have become part of digital workflows. These devices copy customer data through scans that then become digital assets and, in turn, access digital assets for printing or faxing. They handle extremely sensitive data and, as such, need protection.

There are many steps you can take to protect your printers so confidential data can’t be accessed by unauthorised parties. Some straightforward printer security techniques include only releasing jobs when a smart card or some other form of identification is used and investing in printers with built-in cybersecurity features.

The financial services and insurance industry may be among the world’s oldest, but it’s constantly looking for ways to use technology and improve returns for its customers and shareholders. New innovations will continue to enter the industry. By balancing these innovations with workflow security, you can help your business achieve success as it enters the digital age.

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