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Financial Sector Needs DevSecOps More than Ever Before

June 6, 2024

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Security Best Practices for Finance DevSecOps

The need to protect customers’ sensitive data has never been more important. DevSecOps for the finance and banking sectors can help.

According to the IMF’s Global Financial Stability Report, April 2024, despite most cyber-attacks in the past having led to only moderate losses, the chances of a major incident that disrupts macroeconomic stability are increasing. This is indeed a worrying situation, especially for the finance sector, which is entrusted with sensitive personal information by customers.

The IMF’s Forecasted Maximum Firm Loss Distribution

Since the financial sector has a high concentration of sensitive data and lies at the intersection of two strong industries – finance and technology, it is highly vulnerable to cyber incidents. Although the IMF recommends stringent cyber legislation and robust cyber governance useful in mitigating the associated risks, it emphasizes that “the cyber policy frameworks remain inadequate.” Therefore, financial organizations must fortify their guardrails with exceptional security practices to protect themselves against cyber incidents. DevSecOps is a tangible, accessible, and affordable solution to bolster organizational security for banks, credit unions, and payment enablers.

Why DevSecOps is Changing the SDLC for the Finance Industry

DevSecOps is the technique of integrating operations and security throughout the software development lifecycle. Given that DevSecOps-based application development leads to an increased attack surface, incorporating security within the process is a natural development. The technique embeds security right from the MVP stage and up to the final product by making it part of the software development pipeline and IT infrastructure. Integrating security within processes shifts the approach to security from a reactive one to a proactive one.

The financial sector experienced over 21,000 cyber-attacks between 2003 and 2023, of which nearly 10,000 targeted banks, totalling more than $3 billion in losses.

DevSecOps is Important for AI Development

The one hour of downtime during the 2018 Indian Prime Day is estimated to have cost Amazon between $72 and $99 million.

With increased emphasis on data-driven decision-making, the amount of data and applied analytics used in the financial services industry has increased manifold. While artificial intelligence (AI) has become a prominent part of the development process, it is also instrumental in expanding the vulnerability landscape. Ensuring secure and efficient AI development is paramount to enhancing the efficacy and accuracy of financial operations and processes. In a data-dependent world, data poisoning is one of the biggest threats that might go undiscovered throughout the development and training of an AI model. This is bound to have long-term impacts on the end product. DevSecOps enhances the visibility of AI and data via security by design and ongoing development of best practices.

Integrating DevSecOps in the development of AI, model training, and analytics means leveraging the principles of DevSecOps to drive the continued learning and evolution of AI models. AISecOps is a real-time approach to integrating AI across an AI model’s design, training, deployment, monitoring, and learning phases. This enhances the system’s capabilities for security monitoring, vulnerability scanning and plugging, automated threat detection, and instant action. Integrating security considerations from the beginning of the AI lifecycle embodies ethical and responsible AI development. It promotes accountability, transparency, and fairness from the design phase itself. These can be instrumental in building resilience and trust in AI systems.

There are several advantages of integrating security in the software development lifecycle (SDLC):

Incremental Development

DevSecOps breaks down the SDLC into manageable steps. This entails the adoption of a cyclic approach of continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) while automating quality, security, and functional validation.

Continuous Feedback

Continuous feedback enhances the general observability of the development process, creating opportunities for continued improvement by regularly measuring and benchmarking performance and accuracy metrics.

Organization-Wide Engagement

Continued communication among stakeholders helps produce consensus to eliminate any misunderstanding or execution gaps during project development.

Transparency and Traceability

A digital trail of products used to build, deploy, and maintain the software helps instill trust among DEVelopment, SECurity, and OPerations teams.

Cost Optimization

Adopting security and testing practices throughout the SDLC significantly lowers the time and effort spent at the end stage by discovering and resolving issues much earlier.

Reduced Deployment Time

Reduced time in the final testing phase improves readiness to deploy and minimizes the post-deployment error response time. This, in turn, improved customer experience and builds trust for the long term.

The global FinTech market is forecasted to reach $501.9 billion, growing at a CAGR of 18.9% between 2024 and 2032. Data privacy, fund security, and cyber threats are the biggest impediments to the industry’s growth.

Conclusion

The FinTech sector’s long-term success depends on building cyber resilience. For this, FIs need to improve the effectiveness of threat monitoring, the accuracy of threat detection, the speed of reporting, and the agility of response. Also, they need to build a risk culture that promotes cyber hygiene and increases cyber education. It is also important to establish auditing schedules and KPIs to regularly assess the efficacy of the security framework. DevSecOps for AI, or AISecOps, is a tried and tested technique to manage development velocity, while also ensuring security and compliance. The multi-disciplinary approach requires experts in development, data analytics, database security, and cyber resilience to work in collaboration. Managing continued and transparent communication to facilitate collaboration is the biggest challenge to effectively handling AISecOps for small- and medium-sized FIs.

With nearly three decades of experience in the money movement space, Opus Technologies is a reliable and trusted DevSecOps services provider for the financial services industry. With the launch of FinGeniusAI to foster open innovation in the sector, we have once again proven our commitment to enabling FinTech success. While the platform is launched with three use cases, we plan to enable collaborative AI-powered FinTech development, simultaneously working on integrating LLM and GenAI to create a futuristic space for FIs to harness collective expertise and pioneer innovative solutions while prioritizing security. Sign up for a PoC NOW to achieve quantifiable results, and in-depth proficiency in the evolving technology through collective expertise.

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