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Top Priority for Financial Institutions Is Investing in Identity and Access Management Tools: Deloitte 2010 Security Survey

Simply entering a user ID and password is no longer adequate; Proactive response to new environment needed

NEW YORK, June 17, 2010 – With a number of recent high-profile proprietary code thefts driving headlines around the globe, senior security executives at some of the world’s largest financial institutions say they are now making it a priority to invest in tools that restrict user access to critical information and continually keep track of who has access to specific information, according to a Deloitte survey released today.

According to Deloitte’s seventh annual survey of global financial institutions’ security efforts, identity and access management was identified as the industry’s top security initiative for 2010. Among 19 different types of initiatives, 44 percent of survey respondents listed this as a top initiative; it is also is a significantly higher priority for larger organizations with more than 10,000 employees (63 percent).

“Organizations are starting to sit up and recognize the importance of information security to their business,” said Ed Powers, a principal with Deloitte & Touche LLP and the leader of Deloitte & Touche LLP’s security & privacy practice for the financial services industry. “The changing players, the increasing sophistication of faceless threats, the decreasing level of competence required to pose a threat and the availability of fraud tools are all factors that have caused financial services organizations to evolve their security practices in many areas. The security environment is undergoing a metamorphosis.”

Powers added, “In the early days of information security, identity and access management performed the function of a gatekeeper, essentially keeping the bad guys out. But, it has now evolved far beyond that, especially in the level of granularity of access as well as in the ability to track back, stroke by stroke, what events took place, when, and by whom. Today, many organizations realize that simply entering a user ID and password may no longer be adequate.”

Security budgets also appear to be bucking the current trend of cost-cutting. More than half of the survey’s respondents (56 percent) indicate that their information security budget has increased. Moreover, there is a significant drop, compared to 2008, in the number of respondents who state the “lack of sufficient budget” as one of the major barriers that their organization faces.

Powers says that this may well be a product of a general dawning of the “realization that, as the information security environment gets more dangerous, so investment in data protection likely needs to get more serious.”

Additional survey findings:

  • Data loss prevention has taken on a greater urgency. Data loss is caused by inadvertent action on the part of an organization’s people. When asked to characterize their ability to thwart internal breaches, only 34 percent of respondents are “very confident” but that response rises to 56 percent when respondents are asked about their ability to thwart external breaches. Respondents indicate that, after encryption, data loss prevention will be the most piloted technology in the next 12 months.
  • Regulatory compliance is a key priority for financial institutions. Financial institutions are expecting more regulatory pressure. Respondents to the survey include regulatory and legislative compliance as one of their top five initiatives and are hiring more internal auditors to resolve internal and external audit findings.
  • Insurers are ahead of banks in planning to tackle certain security initiatives. For the first time, Deloitte’s financial services survey breaks out sector-based comparisons. Of key 2010 priorities, insurers have a bigger appetite for identity and access management (a priority by 51 percent of insurance organizations and only 44 percent of banks) and data loss preventions technologies (32 percent versus 25 percent). Although banks appear to have a stronger security posture than other financial services institutions, insurers are catching up fast.
  • For the first time, organizations appear eager to embrace emerging technologies to combat threats. Organizations are now proactively embracing new technologies as “early majority adopters”; previously organizations were content to be “late adopters.”

The report, titled “The Faceless Threat,” is available at www.deloitte.com/gfsi/securitysurvey and offers breakdowns of results by geographies and select countries, as well as by the banking, investments and securities, insurance and payments and processors sectors.

Methodology

Deloitte’s global financial services industry group surveyed senior information technology executives at more than 350 major financial institutions via in-person and online questionnaires in early 2010.

About Deloitte

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a Swiss Verein.

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