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BoE Urges Firms to Focus Cash Flow on Cyber Defences

The Bank of England has asked City firms to show how they plan to cope in the event of an IT crisis following the recent meltdowns at TSB and Visa.


As technology starts to play more of a role in everyday lives, its prominence has filtered down into the business landscape. Financial services have been transformed by technological advancements, introducing mobile and online banking to ease the process for consumers. Retail and service sectors have also acquired self-service ticket machines and automated help desks to help customers as well as simplify the daily grind for employees. Of course, a greater reliance on digital processes also increases risk, gauging the interest of hackers and swindlers.

For every artful dodger and fraudster, there is a firewall and anti-theft software. The one true antagonist to a modern business is complacency. There remain businesses who dismiss the digital age, refusing to purchase new computers as well as data protection defences. Nevermind how innovative the business, criminals can still steal information and threaten the business in the process.

In a recent discussion paper, written following the disastrous Visa meltdown last month, the Bank of England urged tech firms to mount their defences against cyber attacks. The paper was also written by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and was published one month after TSB also botched its software upgrade, which led to thousands of customers to suffer fraud attacks. Both of these financial disasters have illustrated the importance of possessing a backup plan to combat such crises.

At the Credit Protection Association, we encourage our Members to plan ahead. Our debt recovery services free up cash flow and provide our Members with the extra cash to invest in new technology, as well as the software to protect themselves from it.

Visa was thrown into chaos last month when its payment system crashed across Europe, causing thousands of people to have their cards declined at supermarkets, major retailers and on public transport.

While big banks on the verge of a system upgrade are particularly at risk, the paper made clear that all boardrooms in the City should be putting emergency plans in place in case there is a crash.

The paper comes a week after the Bank of England ramped up cybersecurity testing for banks in the wake of the TSB fiasco and announced plans to also see how quickly financial services can be brought back online after an outage.

“Recent episodes of disruption to customers using the Visa payment system and of TSB bank highlighted the importance of operational risk beyond cyber incidents for individual firms and consumer protection,” the Bank of England said.

"Gaining assurance that appropriate impact tolerances are set, monitored and tested is likely to be a key component of future supervisory approaches," the regulators and authors of the paper said, adding that they may pay more attention to non-financial resources in the years ahead.

The economic power of technology is inevitable. Its presence makes lives easier for consumers, employees, and business owners, cutting costs and raising productivity levels. Manual processes, while traditional, are also outdated and unreliable. Many old-fashioned procedures such as cheque payments are needlessly vulnerable to bad weather or human error. This is not to say that digital processes are invincible; indeed, it is the contrary.  As with anything, digital processes still need to be monitored competently and defended, impeccably.

At the Credit Protection Association, our Members have utilised our debt recovery services to free up cash flow for a number of projects. This can be the purchase of new equipment, training schemes or even whole new departments. With the new financial crises that are occurring, we now encourage our Members to invest in cyber defences, purchasing stronger firewalls and defensive computer software. While we encourage ambition in our Members, it is most important that this pursuit of success is protected.

Please call us on 0330 053 9263 to discuss how CPA can help your cashflow.
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