What’s In Use In-House at Financial Services Firms?

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A Businessman writing a message with a stylus on an electronic device.

For those who just can’t get enough of industry surveys — and you know who you are — here’s some news: Consulting firm KPMG has a Global Mobile Banking Report out, and it makes for some good reading.

It’s got all the numbers you’d expect from reports like this. For example, mobile banking users worldwide are predicted to double to 1.8 billion in just four years. Not surprisingly, the report also stresses that “cost-efficient use of IT will continue to lead strategic decisions,” and that banks will be “required to explore areas of co-creation while engaging in much faster end-to-end product development and increasing collaboration with outside parties.”

But there’s another area that deserves examination: What’s going on in-house? All those finance and IT executives spearheading customer-facing mobile solutions are surely using mobile devices and services themselves, so how secure are the technologies they use? How well are those tools integrated within the infrastructure? And how much do executives’ own experiences help shape the strategies they devise?

Mobility Benefits vs. Challenges

Mobilizing business processes offers enormous benefits: it can help reduce costs, improve efficiency, enable a flexible work environment, mitigate risks and enhance collaboration. At the same time, the constant influx of new technologies can introduce additional pressures, including increased complexity and exposure to cybersecurity risk.

And then there’s the elephant in the room: compliance. Regulatory bodies with overlapping jurisdiction have a raft of laws in place governing the management, storage and security of every piece of information. Many mandates, which typically take years to finalize, lag behind technological advances. There are periodic updates to regulations, so ensuring compliance is like aiming at a moving target, yet violating any of those mandates can bring serious financial and reputational consequences.

Meanwhile, the uncomfortable reality is that employees will use a wide variety of devices inside financial services institutions. They want the next new thing that comes down the pike, and more often than not, government mandates are not top of mind when buying a phone. This is despite the fact that in addition to video games and other fun stuff, their devices will be used to generate, store and convey work-related content. Financial services professionals are no different from most end users: they carry sensitive data right alongside personal information, download all kinds of apps without telling anyone in IT, and might think of convenience first and security second. And banks are tolerating their employees’ desires. As eWeek reported in 2013, only half of financial services and retail firms limit the personal activities of employees on company mobile devices. One in four companies let employees download software without approval.

So what’s a corporation with tens of thousands of employees, sprawling operations, global reach and complex compliance requirements supposed to do?

Looking Ahead

At BlackBerry we’ve been on this for a while, with multiple resources on security, and even a checklist for compliance. Our extensive experience in mobilizing devices, applications and data is why BlackBerry solutions for Financial Services make for such a competitive differentiator — we help companies meet regulatory requirements head-on while reducing costs and complexity. It’s also how BlackBerry has led the market in developing cross-platform solutions like BES12, and built the ecosystem to support it.

For example, GWAVA Retain securely archives SMS/MMS, phone call logs and encrypted communication for Android and iOS devices, as well as archiving BBM, PIN, SMS/MMS and phone call logs for BlackBerry devices. Retain pulls SMS/MMS, phone call logs and secure communication data directly from a secure server, which means there’s no need to tether or sync the device, and archiving is done in real-time. With Retain, users don’t lose valuable information, the organization stays compliant and sensitive data stays securely within your organization.

But in addition to our own research, we’d like to hear more stories from the inside. What kinds of policies are not just in place but actually enforced to guide the implementation and monitoring of new tools? Where are the gaps between what’s allowed and what’s done? We’d like to hear stories about upgrades that went right and downloads that went wrong, and how. And most of all, we’d like to hear from you on what IT doesn’t know that you think they should. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Mobile solutions for financial services are critical, but it’s important to remember that they don’t come out of a vacuum. They reflect the experiences, good and bad, of the people who create them.

About pfarrell67

Director of Financial Services Sales for BlackBerry

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