3 Incredible Ways Fintech Startups Can Maintain Cyber Security

computer-securityThe following article is a continuation of “3 Ways Fintech Startups Can Maintain Cyber Security” Please look to that article for additional pertinent information. 

Cyber attacks are so common in this day and age that preventing them is a key part of being a Fintech professional. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to make sure your company’s data is as secure as possible.

1) Encrypt your data

There’s no way of knowing for sure that your product is secure. That’s why it’s important to encrypt your data. While many say that encryption will make your app slower, but there are ways to get around it. Just look at some of the giants in the tech industry. Facebook runs encryption on separate services so as not to compare the speed and the ease-of-access. It is not enough to have an SSL or a HTTPS.

2) Know which bugs to look out for

Even when you use the best code review tools, you are not guaranteed to find all of the bugs in your code. One way to make things easier is to identify which bugs could cause the most damage. While you should definitely invest in code review, it also helps to identify and address the particular bugs that could be harmful to your company.

3) Run a penetration test after each major change

One of the most important safety assurance activities is penetration testing, a process that is unfortunately often misused. It should not be a replacement for any of the other steps. A “clean” penetration test report doesn’t necessarily indicate that your system or application is perfectly secure, but it does help you check that your code will not fall apart if it is subject to attack.

 

3 Ways Fintech Startups Can Maintain Cyber Security

cyber-1654709_1920Fintech companies have been warned for a while now about cyber attacks. In 2016, it’s not a matter of “if” a Fintech company will be hacked, but “when.” Within this year alone, more than 3 million credit card records have been made public.

Supposedly impenetrable shields that are used around online banking systems are currently being questioned by experts and critics. If you’re building a Fintech product, keeping it secure may be more difficult than expected. Here are a few tips to prevent cyber attacks:

1)Have a Chief for Information Security

Creating a culture of security within your company requires a leader. Get a Chief for Information Security who has a clear vision and is able to tackle the job. This person will need to bring up the topic of security in meetings, and must also be okay interacting with hackers.

2)Use architecture and code review

The first step to securing an application is an architecture review. Make sure you define your security requirement along with the product features before you begin writing lines of code. Right after every code release, review your code security loopholes. Make sure the members of your team understand their bad practices and mistakes. While reviewing every line of code is tedious, it is also the best way to find security loopholes.

3) Provide role-specific security training

If you want to ensure security, you must give your staff more than the typical generic security awareness courses. You need to provide the knowledge and skillsets required for their specific roles. Security can not be taught through a one-size-fits-all approach.

For more information on fintech startups and maintaining cyber security, please read the follow up piece to this article, “3 Additional Ways Fintech Startups Can Maintain Cyber Security.”

 

Did Bitfinex Security Breach Prompt Bitcoin Dip, Expose the Digital Currency’s Vulnerabilities?

11297241203_453f1342a6_bBitcoin, the digital currency, took a dip on Wednesday following the hacking of Bitfinex, which is a Hong Kong-based exchange. During the hacking, funds were stolen.

In reaction to the event, the exchange has been paused. Also, withdrawals and deposits are being investigated. Consequently, Bitcoin’s trading value plummeted about 20 percent during early hours in Hong Kong, according to the New York Times. However, by early afternoon, it had recovered about half of its loss. Director of Community and Product Development Zane Tackett didn’t respond to NYTimes request for a comment, but he did indicate via a Reddit post that 119,756 Bitcoins had been stolen.

Prior to the public announcement about the hacking, the loss was was equivalent to $72 million. That loss has lessened, bringing the figure closer to a still astounding $65 million. The Hong Kong exchange, which is one of the world’s largest, said the following in a blog post, ““As we account for individualized customer losses, we may need to settle open margin positions, associated financing, and/or collateral affected by the breach.” Additionally, Bitfinex  indicated that any customer’s losses would be investigated and acknowledged in the future.

The viability of Bitcoin has been questioned thanks to security breaches such as this one. Just two years ago, in 2014, Mt. Gox, an exchange based in Tokyo, was targeted. Hundreds of thousands of Bitcoins were stolen in a heist that still has law enforcement officials and experts baffled. More than $50 million worth of Ether, another form of digital currency was nabbed by a hacker during June of this year. The funds were taken from the Decentralized Autonomous Organization experimental virtual currency project.

While some exchanges may be shaken by these recent events, others are unruffled. Chief strategy officer at the large digital currency exchange OKCoin, Jack Liu, indicated he wasn’t concerned about his company’s security because he’s using a different system. He believes there should more conversations launched about best practices. If hackers are getting better and adapting that isn’t safe for the industry overall.

The Bitcoin community views the digital currency as the future of finance, ensuring faster and transactions, but there’s internalized competition and debates surrounding technology that could potentially permit vulnerability. Part of the coding that underlies the currency is known as the blockchain ledger, and it’s gaining traction as banks see the benefit of using technology to speed up trade. Nonetheless, they all exchange and trade to be secure.

Bitfinex has reported the crime.

5 Ways Banks Can Use FinTech to Build Trust, Support Customers

online-banking-advantagesBanks can use fintech to build trust, believe it not. When catering to a consumer base that expects nothing less than instant gratification, fintech companies, and partnerships can offer traditional banks tools that guarantee convenience and seamless customer service.

Wasteful and cumbersome, physical pieces of paper aren’t convenient and can challenge customer service for many in the banking institution. For that reason alone, many people refrain from using banks, expecting that it’ll be time-consuming –that’s on top of a preexisting distrust of the traditional banking system. However, banks are demonstrated that they’re interested in address distrust and negativity. They’re willing to take on public perception by using digital tools to move products that are customer-centric. They’re interested in doing a number of things in order to better satisfy the communities they service, and among those things are the following:

  1. Demonstrate that they’re customer-center: Since the birth of the banking industry, the focus has been on the products, but technology has offered an opportunity to focus on customers first and foremost. Through engagement via social media and other platforms, banks can inquire about customers’ specific needs, their desires, and concerns about wealth management. In order to do this, banks must be able to focus on internal data analytics, which fintech can assist with. Fintech has made data more comprehensive and palatable. It also eases customization, automation, and tailored bank offerings.
  2. Develop seamless banking systems: Among the numerous things fintech companies are able to do, they’re great at helping banks to implement solutions, which makes it easier for customers to access necessary services and they help with customer interaction with banks at every level. Ultimately this leads to greater satisfaction.
  3. Offer targeted service offerings: Data analytics are another specialty offered by fintech companies. They’re able to provide targeted insight, incentives, and opportunities to clients. Based on needs or desires of certain clients, companies can accurately suggest services or products after gauging after gauging requests made by clients in similar situations.
  4. Correct and address any concerns faced by the underbanked and unbanked: Fintech can be used to serve an important, overlooked segment: the underbanked and unbanked. Financial technology can equip banks with easy and inexpensive mechanisms to educate and equip customers, facilitating access to convenient options that make digital payment, mobile payment, and online banking possible for those in the U.S. and abroad.
  5. Broaden a prospective client base: Those banks with enough foresight to employ the expertise of fintech companies, they’ve gained access to a wider variety of customers. Fintech companies can provide low-cost insights on upscale and as well as those with lower net worth. Data analytics and robo-advisory advancements are making wealth management attainable. Incorporating fintech innovations into organizations will help banks to reach a greater collection of customers.

Fintech is easily improving the relationship between customers and banking institutions. Connectivity, convenience, and customer-specific interactions have emboldened the banking population.

Paymency, API-driven Platform for Banking, Delivers “Banking-As-A-Platform” Service to US

paymencylogo_transparentWhile numerous European startups have succeeded in transforming banks into app stores, only the California-based Paymency has managed to do the same in the U.S. According to the American Banker, the API-driven platform for finance and banking delivers “banking-as-a-platform” service to U.S. banks.

Paymency founder Gary Lewis Evans predicts that application program interfaces will power banking. With the use of APIs –known to ease the outsourced software app creation process when building for customers — users will benefit revolutionary impact that’s akin to the emergence of credit cards or internet banking.

“We are going to be an API-driven platform for finance and banking the way Amazon is a platform for retail,” said the fintech veteran, Lewis. “Banks will have the ability to interface easily with products and services and use it as a way to create a virtual bank and get out of the legacy branch structure.”

Banks will have access to Paymency’s edition of an an app store, where they’ll offer budgeting, mobile payments, personal financial budgeting, as well as services a tad more sophisticated (P-to-P lending, insurance, and investing). Numerous fintech companies and their partners will be able to offer up products in the store. What’s more, Paymency may seek out a bank charter, making it possible for nonbank entities (ex. Walmart) or digital bank startups to connect and offer their customer base full-scale banking services. Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform is used as the base technology for Paymency.

According to Lewis, the company soon plans to unveil its text-based mobile payments product and network Groovy Pay, which resembles Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile payments system.

“I describe it as something very similar to when Amazon first launched as a bookseller, and then they expanded their platform at a later date,” said Lewis, who co-founded Bofl Federal Bank, once known as Bank of Internet USA. “So we’re going to launch with mobile payments and build our base that way before expanding.”

With more than four decades of experience under his belt, Lewis has a long history of digital innovation. He spearheaded California’s early venture into internet banking in 1995 when he was serving as president of La Jolla Bank, which was one of the first in the nation to do so. Lewis left La Jolla Bank in 1996 to launch Bank of Internet USA, starting out in a computer center at the University of California-Santa Barbara. He stayed on as president until 2010, leaving to pursue his next project, Paymency.

A “soft launch” of Paymency with GroovyPay is expected within the next six months. Lewis believes it may take up to three years for Paymency’s app-store-like platform to be fully formed and formally launched. The API-based model provides more flexibility, with regards to services and products, making it far more attractive to banks. To do this the right way, Paymency will have to appeal to banks’ core vendors, and banks’ will require core systems that could facilitate API-based banking. Core vendors tend to wank banks to buy all or most of their ancillary products from them, rather than another party. However, many believe core vendors are becoming more flexible and more willing to under consumers’ attraction to API-powered banking.

Banks are also more drawn to the idea of partnering with outside firms, so they’re able to offer more services and products. These fintech partnerships are changing with the market, becoming more fluid and more dynamic, offering solutions and becoming provocative for the sake of expectant consumers. The API banking-as-a-platform services are natural progress, as that’s the way technology is moving. Technology is moving so rapidly, that this is API banking-as-a-platform services are fixed part of banking reality, according to Lewis.

So, how does one influence FinTech buyers?

fintechConsumer behavior has tooled and enabled the FinTech market, and vice versa. Because of this, the market has changed to become far more competitive, challenging nontraditional and traditional entrants. Investment in technology by financial institutions has led to reduced costs, enhanced security, the introduction of new products, improved customer services, and compliance with new and complex regulations. Globally, bank spending on information technology is expected to hit $150 billion in 2018, rising approximately 19.9 percent.

This fast-paced growth has led to numerous challenges for FinTech vendors, including enrollment in an oversaturated market, a lengthier and more complex sales process, and failure to gain marketing support. Also, for those wishing to interact with financial institutions and vendors during the sales process, it may be difficult to know what influences FinTech buyers.

So, how does one influence FinTech buyers?

Well, the easiest way to learn how to influence FinTech buyers is to understand who they are and how they function. Fifty-two percent of information technology decisions involved ten or more individuals, with the average being 36 people. Approximately 15 percent of decisions made involved 50 or more people. To get on a buyer’s radar, being able to provide trusted advice is critical, which is normally made possible through communication with industry consultants, peer relations, industry analysts, and internal business analyst. Also, content and SEO ranking has been identified for “long list influencers,” who look to vendor webinars, trade shows, vendor led events, direct marketing, trade media, business media, and web searches for valuable insight. They’re least likely to deem advertising or national media as credible sources as a key influence.

Also, those interested in FinTech buyers should have an understanding of how to meet buyer needs, which can be met through thought leadership, delivering unique insights, building credibility through third parties, delivering cutting edge technology and identifying why a particular vendor is different than any other. It’s not at all surprising that value because a significant fact for buyers, who prefer hard numbers and deliverable, and require evidence that vendor can do what they advertise they can do.

There is information not being made available to FinTech buyers, such as prominently being evidence-based data. Buyers want evidence that vendors have experience delivering deliverables and hard numbers to similar companies. They also would like access to industry feedback, customer references and case studies, and demonstrable track records. Ultimately, they want guarantees in regards to visibility, differentiation, and evidence –which can be provided via a number of channels and approaches, whether through analysts, trade media, or influencers. Internal business analysts, reputation, unique insight, credibility, and hard evidence are more important than social media, national media, and advertising.