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What Leads to Security Gaps in Financial Services

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With hefty fines, strategic and operational impacts, and exposure to legal action, the failure to adequately protect sensitive information is costly for any organization. According to the 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study by the Ponemon Institute and IBM, the average total cost of a data breach is $3.62 million.2 In financial services, the cost is particularly high. The study found that breaches cost financial firms $336 per compromised record. Only healthcare – another highly regulated industry – suffers a higher per-record cost at $380.

Information security discussions often focus on perimeter security and intrusion prevention, which is understandable. Many high-profile breaches, including the 2017 Equifax incident, involve intruders gaining access to databases full of records stored as structured data. This Research Brief focuses on unstructured data(such as Microsoft Office files, PDFs, and image files), and the security risks present in many of the internal business processes that use it.

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