The vast majority of IT professionals in the financial services (FS) industry are concerned about the risk posed by security issues, with nine out of ten (90 per cent) admitting their organisation is vulnerable to data threats.
This is according to a survey by Vormetric, which also found nearly half of respondents (44 per cent) have already experienced a data breach, with 19 per cent saying they have encountered this in the last 12 months.
As a result, the industry is looking to take a range of steps to deal with these problems. Seven out of ten professionals (70 per cent) said their company would be increasing spending in order to better safeguard sensitive data, with 62 per cent saying data security tools play a vital role in protecting their brand and reputation.
However, there remains a great deal of uncertainty within the industry about the best approach to take to ensure data is fully secured.
One of the biggest issues is there is still a highly compliance-focused culture in the FS sector, with two-thirds of businesses believing that adhering to compliance requirements is a 'very' or 'extremely' effective way of protecting sensitive data.
These standards are very slow to adapt to a quickly-evolving environment, so will not on their own be enough to stop the latest sophisticated, multi-level attacks.
Vormetric noted that while spending on defences is increasing, the fastest-growing areas are those that have already proven to be ineffective at protecting against complex, multi-stage attacks.
However, the sector is starting to see a drive to implement newer security tools that will be more effective at protecting data even if other defences are compromised. These include tokenisation (42 per cent), application encryption (33 per cent), Security Information and Event Management systems (29 per cent) and privileged user access management (29 per cent).
Tina Stewart, vice-president of marketing at Vormetric, said: "Financial services organisations continue to feel the heat from cyber attackers. They are investing to help solve the problem, but surprisingly, are failing to connect the dots about the best solutions to use."