Banking Frontiers|August 2020
Just having strong security systems is not enough. Such systems should also create a strong trust among the users:

The year 2020 with the onset of covid brought with it a host of sudden changes many of which are likely to stay onboard as the ‘new normal’. The World Bank’s latest Economic Outlook from the OECD shows how covid’s impact has been both widespread and devastating across sectors and countries. From business owners facing supply chain disruptions, liquidly crunch to salaried individuals facing the harsh reality of a sudden red slip, the times are both uncertain and challenging. To ride the tide, enterprises, especially in the financial sector, are embracing a new digital normal that can help them minimize any likely losses and continue operations balancing security, safety and technology.

The silver lining amid the dark pandemic clouds has been the role of technology. The digital ecosystem has emerged as the ‘new normal’ especially in the financial world. For example, there has been a massive increase in uptake of Microsoft’s low code Power Platform aimed at enabling rapid development. Likewise, Microsoft Learn, a platform to acquire, update, and certify Microsoft skills, has witnessed a 25% increase in the number of users post covid lockdown. The stats are similar for other software and cloud service providers underlining the digital disruption as the new norm. KuppingerCole Analysts, one of Europe’s leading analysts on information security in the era of digital transformation, traces how even some of the most conservative organizations are now adopting a ‘cloud-first’ strategy without bothering about any time-consuming proof of concept trials. So, while COVID is endangering lives and scarring livelihoods, it is also opening up avenues for a tech-enabled resurgence remapping the ‘new normal’ for the future.

While the medical world fights against time to come up with a vaccine that is both safe and effective, the new normal for enterprises is likely to stay for good. Changing consumer consumption habits, more reliance on work from home (WFH) even in sectors it was alien before the pandemic, acceleration of digital transformation, the reliance of automation and technology are some of such new normal.

Here is a look at the lifecycle of new digital ‘normal’ emphasizing on tech-enabled security and trust as new normal pillars in the financial world.


There is no denying the fact that the COVID crisis has shaken a number of things and one of the essential elements is that of ‘trust’. Thankfully, a deep dive into the financial sector shows the trust element in the Indian BFSI ecosystem to be intact compared to some other countries across the globe. With various people from clients, customers, staff, industry stalwarts each having their own definition of trust and security, rebuilding any loss of trust in this new digital environment remains a top priority for many organizations especially in the banking and financial world.

Security and trust are very interrelated shares Sridhara Sidhu, CISO at Wells Fargo. With the context of business execution changing in a post covid world, risk lengths for businesses have also undergone a relative change. “To understand the new risks coming into play and how they may impact the end customer trust remains paramount,” says Sidhu. Every organization today has its own internal dynamics focusing on plugging in new emerging risk factors and so each organization has ever-emerging challenge on the trust aspect.

Digital gives value to the business but also opens up risk avenues like phishing both in terms of websites and mobile applications underlines Nagaraj Solkar, CISO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance for Microsoft Learn, tracing risk in the insurance sector. For any organization, especially in the financial domain, to keep their trust element intact requires constant monitoring of any such fraudulent activities ensuring customer safety, he adds. Maintaining trust, therefore, is more relevant for financial enterprises overbuilding long term trust.

A crisis like covid is the perfect opportunity for bad guys to find a crack and breach the financial security shield feels Agnelo Dsouza, CISO for Kotak Mahindra Bank. “There has been an exponential rise in phishing attacks in a post COVID world across the globe,” says he. With a digital push enabling first-time non-tech-savvy customers to adopt digital means, the risks are high for them to fall for such attacks making it a huge challenge for banks.

Echoing similar sentiments expressed by Sidhu, Manish Pal, Sr VP - Information Security, HDFC Bank, says building trust remains the key. Secure delivery of services has always been a priority for banks and financial enterprises say he, adding the onset of digital in the post COVID era is adding extra emphasis on security which was always in place at the organizational level for most BFSIs.



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August 2020