Last month it was reported that in the first half of 2018 more than £500 million was stolen from people through scams targeting UK bank customers. Around a third of this total was through conning people into sending money to a fraudulent bank accounts, whilst the remainder was transactions made without the account holder's knowledge.
It's an upsetting set of figures, because behind each pound lost through a scam is a real person losing out, and it's pertinent that these figures were published just a week before this year's Cyber Security Awareness Month, a global initiative designed to promote safety online.
It's key theme this year is education - arming people with the knowledge and ability to be able to make the most of technology, whilst remaining safe.
There's no doubt that the interconnected, digitally-enabled world we live in today offers enormous potential – to do things quicker, more efficiently, in a more tailored way. But it also throws up some very real challenges, and we all need to be ready to face up to and manage those challenges, whether it's in the world of high street banking and personal finance or in the cut and thrust of cross-border investment and private wealth management.
It's one thing that comes out strongly from this year's Cyber Security Awareness Month – cyber security and staying safe online is a shared responsibility, which is why in Jersey we have developed a forward-focused strategy that promotes a multi-agency collaborative approach and that embeds into our vision of the future both the potential of technology and the challenges posed by cyber security.
For instance, one of the more recent reports we published on next generation wealth (' Flourishing Futures') highlights the shift in approaches to digital technologies when it comes to long-term family succession planning and intergenerational wealth transfer.
That report suggests that, whilst the older generation is considered more cautious when it comes to technology, the next generation expect fast, accurate and responsive information, and for their social media to be wholly integrated into their financial management, allowing them to conduct all lifestyle and financial activity within one platform.
As a result, we are seeing firms increasingly looking to adapt their methods of client engagement to accommodate these needs.
At the same time, though, security is absolutely paramount. Ensuring security of client information needs to be at the heart of technology strategies more than ever, with clients increasingly selecting advisers who can demonstrate a robust approach to security. An ability to provide an additional security layer through encryption and advances in authentication such as biometrics is likely to become increasingly important and a basic client expectation.
Firms need to be ready for this, and Jersey is focussed on providing a platform that can help them deliver it. Recognising that the biggest weakness in combatting cybercrime is people and a lack of awareness around cyber security, as a jurisdiction we remain focussed on upskilling our workforce to demonstrate best practice.
Training is a low-cost but high impact means of combatting cyber security, and by focusing on nurturing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, we believe we can be in a good position to act as a beacon for good cyber security practice – and reinforce the good messages that underpin Cyber Security Awareness Month this year. In the current workplace, cyber security training is becoming part of ongoing compliance training., many companies are using technology solutions to conduct activities such as ethical phishing and behavioural analytics to ensure high standards are followed by employees.
With this balance between security and digital innovation in mind, Jersey Finance has also established a Cyber and Data Security Awareness Forum, designed to bring together key players in the finance industry to share knowledge, identify opportunities for collaboration, to enhance our own cyber security environment and to promote best practice. To date, we have held six forums bringing together experts from almost 30 firms, contributing around 100 hours of shared expertise.
Jersey Finance is also part of Jersey's Cyber Security Task Force, which includes Jersey's Government Information Services, Digital Policy Team and education department, as well as the Jersey Financial Services Commission, Digital Jersey, the Information Commissioner, and the States of Jersey Police.
The result is a truly joined-up effort, which is helping to shape our approach and giving us a good platform to achieve our digital aspiration – 'to be the easiest international finance centre to do business with remotely, in a digital world'.
Fittingly, this October also sees Jersey's first ever TechWeek (13 – 19 October), organised by Digital Jersey, which will feature a range of global experts discussing anything from AI and blockchain to healthtech and the internet of things – and cyber security will be a running theme too. It's another example of Jersey's forward-thinking and collaborative approach to such a key issue.
There's no doubt that harnessing the power of digital remains a real driver for Jersey's finance industry. Through greater collaboration, we are ready to help build a stronger, cyber-aware workforce that can deliver better services to global investors but also help ensure families, communities and businesses are better protected too.
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