If I Were a Bank CEO... Vol. 4: Creating a Cybersecurity Culture

October 30, 2023

Carey Ransom

Carey Ransom is an SaaS entrepreneur, executive, investor and advisor, and has started, grown and/or led 8 B2B and consumer SaaS companies during startup and growth phases. He is currently the Managing Director of BankTech Ventures, a venture fund focused on compelling technologies for community banks, and founded and funded by leaders in the community bank ecosystem. Carey's 25-year career spans executive roles in product, marketing, business development, strategy and corporate development.

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If I were a bank CEO,

Vol. 4: Creating a Cybersecurity Culture

If I were a community bank CEO, I’d include our clients in our security culture and capabilities.

One of the primary responsibilities of a bank is safeguarding clients' financial assets. So at my bank, security wouldn’t just be a feature; it would be part of our DNA. We would invest in state-of-the-art technologies, and employ training and experts to protect the accounts within our institution. However, the modern landscape of threats extends beyond the bank's walls. Our clients would present risks to themselves and the bank. By adopting a few key practices, we would empower and teach our clients to play a pivotal role in bolstering their personal and business security, creating a more secure bank.

Here’s how we would do it:

1. Expand the Culture of Security

Banks should cultivate a culture of security for not just their employees but also their clients. Recognizing the proactive steps clients can take in securing their accounts does more than just safeguard their own assets; it reduces the risk of potential breaches and fraud that could affect the bank as well. It's a shared responsibility in which we both benefit from a strengthened security ecosystem. I think of it as an expanded security perimeter beyond the bank to also include its clients – we’re better and safer together. 

2. Integrate Technology

We would assist clients in embracing better security technologies, such as two-factor authentication (2FA), strong and unique passwords, and cybersecurity software (like Adlumin and Finosec). Our team and partners can guide them through these tools and training and how to best implement them, both for personal and business use.

3. Provide Educational Initiatives

Knowledge is a potent defense. Bank leaders can provide resources and training to help clients recognize and thwart common cyber threats, such as phishing and social engineering. Beauceron Security, for example, will work with bank clients to train and educate their employees on potential scams to make them the first line of defense against cyber attacks. Empowering the capable teams that they already have can prevent data breaches for their company, other clients and the bank. 

4. Encourage Regular Updates

Staying safe requires vigilance. At my community bank, we would encourage our clients to keep their devices and software up to date, as these updates often contain vital security patches. By doing so, they not only protect themselves but also contribute to a safer banking environment.

5. Identify Risk

Clients who embrace a security culture and practices have lower risks, such as the chance that they could be breached and experience significant financial loss from a cyberattack. In commercial loans, for example, I believe that we will start to see more and more requirements for cyber insurance and cybersecurity protection. My bank would help clients start to recognize these risks today, and guide them towards a plan of action.

Trust remains a cornerstone of banks, and collaboratively protecting clients grows and solidifies that trust. Working together, we ensure a safer, more secure financial future.