How Banks Use PIAM to Minimize Insider Threats

Physical Identity and Access Management (PIAM) is a vital security tool to keep bank and customer data safe. Although many of the attacks against banking systems come from remote hacking attempts, banks equally need to protect against the exploitation of physical security. The main threat to a bank’s physical security comes not from external bad actors, but internal threats from the workforce, contractors, partners, and others. For brevity, we’ve referred to anyone with internal access to bank locations and systems as employees.

female bank employee logging into computer with mobile device in hand

Defining Who Is an Insider Threat for Banks

Insider threats typically already come from people inside the “Trusted Perimeter” of your banking premises. Although insider threats can be broad, it’s worth dividing them into three main categories.

Angry, Upset, or Frustrated Employees Who Want to Damage the Bank’s Reputation
These are individuals who feel inconvenienced, unhappy, or otherwise dissatisfied by the bank. This can come from a few different areas:

  • Employees who have been laid off or are under threat of termination
  • Employees who have had an issue with another person in the bank workforce, like their manager or a peer
  • Employees who are undergoing personal issues, either inside or outside work, which may lead to erratic behaviors
  • Other circumstances causing banking employees to feel disillusioned or dissatisfied

Malicious Employees Who Want to Steal Bank and User Data for Financial or Other Gain
These are the employees who use their access to sensitive physical banking locations and other systems to compromise bank and customer data deliberately for their own gain:

  • Employees working with external criminals for pay or a percentage when the bad actors steal money or otherwise compromise the data
  • Employees who are tempted to commit fraud and embezzlement because they want money and think they can get away with it

Negligent Employees Who Accidentally Threaten Banking Security
The third type of insider threat is typically unintentional, and comes from new or negligent banking employees:

  • Employees who are not trained in security processes and procedures
  • Employees who are not aware of security policy and what is or is not allowed
  • Employees requesting access to locations or systems that they do not require

Fortunately, a well-implemented PIAM system can significantly minimize all of these threats.

Physical Identity Access Management is Only Part of Your Protection Against Insider Threats

PIAM by itself is not enough to protect against all insider threats. A good physical access system will be combined with logical access management that controls the applications, networks, and data that employees have access to. PIAM is best used as part of an integrated security suite that protects against all threats, both physical and virtual.

Physical Identity and Access Management Techniques to Combat Insider Threats

Use a Centralized Management System for Physical Banking Security
Centralizing your banking security provides much more control than disparate systems. Your security teams need to collaborate across multiple physical locations with varying degrees of sensitivity and access requirements. Bringing this all together into a central management system makes it easier to scale and adapt to changing business requirements.

Implement a Security System Based on Zero Trust
Zero trust security is the essential starting point for threat prevention. Assume that employees should start with no access to systems, locations, or assets at all, and add access only as essentially required by their role. This will help to silo bank data to only those employees who must have access.

Build Credentials and Access Controls Into Your Badge System
Badging is one of the most effective ways bank security managers have to control access. Link an employee’s access to their badge credentials, and you effectively stop them from accessing sensitive areas without that badge. Tie your credentialing system to your HR and workforce management system for immediate revocation of access when an employee is terminated or otherwise not meant to be in the office.

Get Reports and Use Machine Learning for Real-Time Updates to Identify Suspicious Activities
Security reports and dashboards can flag unusual behavior so that you can follow up. You can also implement various forms of adaptive authentication for additional challenges or verification based on how users act and other unique factors.

Ready to learn more? Learn about unified physical identity and access management for financial institutions in this ebook.

How HID SAFE™ Physical Identity and Access Management Can Protect Customer Banking Data

HID SAFE™ helps banking and financial institutions to:

  • Reduce security risk from insider threats and unauthorized access with centralized management
  • Keep up with regulatory compliance and audits through reliable audit trails with predictive analytics and automated reporting
  • Enhance operational efficiencies with system interoperability and the elimination of manual tasks and streamlined identity management processes
  • Reduce overall operational cost with reduced paper-based request forms and automated reports that allow for increased efficiency in data analysis and lower processing times

Learn more about how HID SAFE™ protects your customer data.