The importance of cybersecurity for online lending

Cybersecurity is a subject much discussed, but often in vague terms. If you don’t implement sufficient measures, some shadowy figure will hack the system and snatch your data. It’s an unsettling image. But it seems unlikely something so dramatic will happen to you or your institution. That’s for mega-corporations to wrestle with.

This feeling of being disconnected from the problem might explain why some lending institutions have been slow to change, despite dire warnings from the likes of the International Monetary Fund. Of course, the expense of implementing new measures can’t be overlooked either.

Regardless of the roadblocks, though, it’s imperative that lenders do everything they can to secure themselves digitally. Because the risks are real, and the potential fallout could be catastrophic.

The financial sector remains a target

When asked which industries are most vulnerable to cyberattacks, financial institutions are listed in the ‘top five’ most often. In addition, Food and Agriculture clients are attractive prey with enough capital and cash to make them worthy targets.

Digital lending specifically has proven to be a popular target for bad actors. In 2020, digital mortgage lenders reported 1,810 separate fraud attempts to National Mortgage News. More than half of those attempts were successful to some degree. With every $1 of fraud resulting in an average $3.56 in costs for lenders, a major breach would likely spell the end for many smaller operators.

Who’s responsible?

A recently issued presidential executive order calls for federal agencies to lead the way in security best practices and to modernize their approach to increasingly sophisticated digital attacks. It emphasizes the need for federal agencies and public sector organizations to work with the private sector to prioritize data security and privacy. With this, service providers need to be monitored and plans for a possible data breach need to be agreed upon and understood by all parties. To make sure everything’s in good shape, external audits are increasingly useful.

While some smaller lending organizations have made a direct plea to Congress, asking for tighter data security regulations on providers, it is the responsibility of all parties to ensure cohesive and comprehensive cybersecurity measures are in place.

How can online lenders improve their security today?

The good news is there are some fairly straightforward security steps that can significantly improve the safety of online lending. These include:

  1. Implementing multi-factor authentication
  2. Establishing and regularly reinforcing a clear, institution-wide security policy
  3. Establishing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan
  4. Encrypting data and confidential communications

It’s key to note that no one step will do enough all on its own. Layered security means implementing multiple strategies simultaneously that mitigate risk at different stages. Online lenders should be regularly reviewing industry best practices, updating existing security policies, and implementing new ones when possible.

Is the Agri-Access Lender Portal secure?

We know you take cybersecurity very seriously and trust us to secure your data. That means we’re regularly monitoring our online Lender Portal for vulnerabilities and taking action when needed. In addition to the steps outlined above, here are some other practices and cybersecurity measures we’ve implemented to honor this trust:

  • Significant investment in security capabilities and staff
  • Training and empowering employees to recognize and report suspicious behavior
  • Encryption of data at rest and in transmit, protecting information wherever it is
  • Monitoring our network and systems for suspicious activities
  • SOC2 Type II report available upon request

You can rest easy when you work with Agri-Access as your secondary agricultural lender. Keeping your data safe is a core priority.

Check out our Insights blog and LinkedIn account, as we share the most up-to-date news on cybersecurity. And reach out to a relationship manager in your area to start working with Agri-Access today!

Let’s discuss how we can expand your ag lending power.