The Benefits of an Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) Platform for Financial Services Orgs

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Sr. Product Marketing Manager

Financial service companies, often referred to as “finservs,” are prime targets for cybercriminals due to their central role in the global economy and the sensitive data they manage. Their multifaceted digital ecosystems, intertwined with burgeoning fintech solutions, intensify cybersecurity challenges. Finservs also need to adhere to rigorous regulatory benchmarks. While new technologies AI hold great potential, they bring new vulnerabilities. One approach to mitigate these challenges is an Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) platform, a solution that provides unified visibility and control over application security data, ensuring comprehensive risk management for finservs.

Why Is an Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) Platform Crucial for Finserv Companies?

Here are some of the benefits of an ASPM platform for finservs:

1. Control Costs / Tool Consolidation

A complete Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) solution offers the capability to replace existing security tools, leading to savings on licensing costs and reducing the manpower needed for tool management and maintenance. This consolidation of security tools and the centralization of alerting mechanisms on a single platform gives organizations complete visibility across their pipeline. Such unified visibility enhances the efficiency in identifying, prioritizing, and addressing security alerts. This efficiency becomes even more pivotal when considering the prevalent issue of understaffing in many security organizations, aiding in significantly reducing the Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR) and overall risk. In light of these changing dynamics, YL research suggests that in the prevailing economic scenario, tool consolidation forms the core of 80% of CISO budget strategies.

2. Regulatory Compliance

Finservs operate within a highly regulated environment. Depending on geography, regulations governing this industry include the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2), and the UK’s Data Protection Act. Amidst these complexities, an authentic ASPM solution helps ensure compliance with not only these regulations but also with crucial security frameworks such as SOC 2, ISO27001, NIST SSDF, Open SSF SLSA 1.0, and GUAC 0.1 beta. Plus ASPM can easily generate SBOMs. Adhering to these guidelines is further underscored by the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023. The report highlights that a staggering 70% of data breaches culminate in regulatory fines, with 20% of the penalized companies shelling out in excess of $250K per incident.

3. Reducing Threat Profile

The finserv industry, due to its management of vast financial data, is a magnet for attackers, who frequently target personal financial details, credit card data, and investment portfolios. By leveraging ASPM, companies can streamline alert prioritization, concentrate on the most critical 1% of risks, and automatically address vulnerabilities.

4. Business Continuity

Business continuity planning is critical for financial institutions. Disruptions like cyberattacks or new zero-day vulnerabilities like Log4j have significant financial and reputational impact on organizations. Business continuity planning for financial services companies typically involves creating and implementing strategies and procedures for identifying and mitigating risks. Because ASPM provides a complete view of their SDLC, finservs can better understand the overall health and risk profile of their systems to better allocate resources to prevent disruptive events.

5. Proactive Approach

One of ASPM’s strengths lies in third-party risk management and monitoring, allowing organizations to exert control over components they haven’t crafted in-house. Such continuous oversight empowers organizations with the tools to undertake evidence-driven risk assessments, channeling resources effectively to confront the most potent threats. Plus, by hastening the resolution of pivotal vulnerabilities, ASPM reduces the vulnerability lifespan, ensuring potential threats are neutralized swiftly. Therefore, it safeguards the finserv from prolonged exposure and detrimental impacts.


Why Now?

The current cyber landscape presents finservs with an unprecedented number of threats. As this threat landscape expands and takes on new forms, the need for robust security has never been more urgent. ASPM offers a solution by granting an in-depth, real-time view of an application’s risk stance throughout its SDLC. This granular visibility enables development teams to address the most pressing vulnerabilities without compromising their pace of innovation, ensuring that while they continue to forge ahead, they remain protected against emerging cyber threats.

In addition, regulatory compliance remains a cornerstone for finservs, and here, too, ASPM adds value. It helps organizations fulfill the stringent reporting prerequisites set forth by a plethora of compliance standards and governmental regulations. The streamlined reporting processes not only save substantial time and costs but also position adherence to these standards as a significant business enabler. In an industry where regulatory compliance can often be a unique selling point, ASPM’s capabilities can be leveraged as a distinct competitive advantage.

Lastly, in a global economy where security budgets are stretched thin and teams are often expected to deliver more with fewer resources, the financial merits of ASPM become abundantly clear. It facilitates the unification of multiple tools, leading to significant savings in software licensing expenditures. Additionally, its efficiency translates to a reduced need for extensive staff to oversee alerts. In a year like 2023, where the financial implications of data breaches have skyrocketed to unparalleled heights, the preventative capabilities of ASPM are invaluable. By forestalling breaches, finservs not only sidestep hefty fines but also fortify their brand’s reputation, ensuring sustained trust and business from their clientele.

The Benefits of an APSM Program for Finservs

1. Visibility & Context

In today’s digital environment, applications have grown increasingly intricate, complicating the task of assessing their security posture. Furthermore, these applications are inextricably linked with the pipelines that construct and distribute software. A significant number of these tools often remain beyond the direct oversight of security teams, falling under domains like engineering or DevOps. In such a backdrop, ASPM is now a game-changer, dismantling barriers between tools and bestowing a holistic, end-to-end visibility of applications — from code to cloud. Beyond mere visibility, ASPM provides a real-time snapshot of an application’s risk, cohesively tying together various alerts to present a comprehensive and contextual understanding of an organization’s vulnerabilities.

2. Prioritization

With the plethora of tools in play, organizations are often inundated with alerts, making risk prioritization challenging. ASPM addresses this head-on, facilitating traceability across the SDLC. This feature highlights interconnections between different alerts, enabling organizations to pinpoint and address their most pressing threats while effectively sifting through distractions. Moreover, ASPM is adaptable to the unique needs of different organizations, allowing for the establishment of custom policies that mirror an organization’s unique security requirements.

3. Remediation at Scale

While traditional security tools are adept at pinpointing vulnerabilities, they fall short when it comes to remediation. ASPM stands apart in this regard. It adeptly aggregates security data from diverse sources, presenting a holistic viewpoint that surpasses the limited perspectives of isolated tools. Such comprehensive insights shed light on the overall health of an entire system. ASPM’s prowess doesn’t stop at identification — it facilitates large-scale remediation, enabling organizations to address multiple instances of a singular vulnerability at once. This capability saves significant time and resources. Additionally, ASPM champions “controlled shift left” with a suite of features like IDE plugins, PR scans, CLI, and automated workflows, each aimed at proactive security measures.

4. Controlled Shift Left

Historically, security solutions have struggled to keep pace with the rapid innovations from developers and DevOps teams. ASPM, however, is attuned to the rhythms of modern development. It ensures that while security remains paramount, the momentum of development remains unhindered. This controlled shift left approach cultivates a collaborative environment where security and engineering teams converge their expertise. This synergy not only propels innovation at breakneck speeds, but also instills robust security measures, positioning the delivery of secure applications as a significant business enabler.

Next Steps

Cycode can assist organizations in secure development, offering a comprehensive Application Security Posture Management (ASPM) platform. This includes secrets detection, code analysis, vulnerability scanning, and pipeline security to ensure that software is developed and delivered in a robust security framework. Learn more here or book a demo now!