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Fintech — Securely Disrupting How we Bank

Pamela Armstead - Okta Security Blog
Pamela Armstead
Content Marketing Manager, IT and Identity

Financial technology (fintech) is one of the hottest categories of tech, and a major disruptor in banking and financial services. Billion-dollar valuation companies such as Stripe, Sofi and Square are competing with traditional financial institutions, and winning. And while these old-world companies have been taken by surprise, they are adapting and evolving in order to better compete. To ultimately succeed in this highly competitive market, fintech players must be agile, collaborative and scalable.

Modern banking is in the cloud

Whether it’s an old giant or a new, challenger bank, cloud computing is taking over as a foundation in this new era of banking. In the ultra-competitive financial markets, traditional mainstream banks are scrambling to become more agile. They have a mandate to pursue digital transformation projects to compete for customers in a business landscape that is moving from being product-centric to customer-centric. It’s the cloud's ability to support users' unique habits that is vital for a mobile, app-driven world.  

Secure APIs are a requirement

Security weighs heavy for both deeply established as well as the disruptive banking organizations. Innovation cannot come at the expense of security, and must be evenly balanced with customer convenience. While the value of interconnected applications is undeniable, there are significant risks. APIs provide open connections between platforms that allow for unprecedented communication between apps and devices, but a failure to protect these connections leaves customers’ credentials vulnerable to attacks targeted at unsecured APIs. It’s essential that developers and security teams pay close attention to securing APIs.  

Security breeds success

The rise of digital banking means consumers are placing more personal data and information in the hands of these companies. Cybersecurity, in particular identity and access management, becomes a key driver in attracting and retaining customers new and old. To stand a chance of remaining successful in the future banking market, financial services companies must ensure IAM policies are thorough, while guaranteeing API security.

Threats can come from outside and within

With the boom in online banking and mobile apps, identity and access management (IAM) becomes essential for securing financial services. External threats such as hackers are most commonly associated with identity theft and fraud, but too often internal threats are neglected. Both human error and malicious intent could lead to embarrassing and damaging data loss/theft. A vital starting point is moving away from relying on passwords alone and using risk-based multi-factor authentication (MFA) throughout the infrastructure. Adopting stronger authentication policies ensures that employees only have access to the information they need to do their work.

How Okta empowers fintech

Cloud-based identity, or Identity-as-a-Service (IDaas), is the only competitve choice when it comes to supporting agile fintech organizations. Quick and easy to set-up and deploy, it offers the kind of scalability and reliability that on-premises alternatives simply can’t compete with and offers a 360-degree view of all apps, users, and devices in your environment. No longer is there a  need to take cloud services offline and new apps can easily be added and managed.

Born and built in the cloud, Okta is recognized as a leader in IDaaS, and provides these technologies to all banking organizations who want in on fintech:

  • Single Sign-On (SSO) access across multiple applications and platforms
  • Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for enhanced security, with support for SMS, Okta Verify with Push, and third party providers like Google Authenticator and RSA
  • Lifecycle Management allows integration with Slack, and comprehensive control over lifecycle states with automation and customisation
  • Compliance with complex financial regulations across diverse regions
  • Consistent user experience globally for customers and employees
  • 100% of employees protected with Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

See how Okta is helping financial services companies innovate faster, stay secure and remain competitive in fintech. Check out Okta for Financial Services.

Pamela Armstead Security Blog Author
Pamela Armstead
Content Marketing Manager, IT and Identity

Currently a Content Marketing Manager, IT and Identity at Okta, Pam switched from a career in instruction-based technical writing to the marketing space.  After over 5 years in Okta Engineering, she is helping to manage the corporate blog and striving to write delightful, useful content.

Although Pam grew up in Southern California, she recognized at 9 years old that SF is the only city for her.  She enjoys staycations, cooking, and craft cocktails.

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