Sonola: Human Capital Key to Achieving Online Banking Security

Oluchi Chibuzor

There is urgent need to develop and effective human capital management system in order to forestall cyber risks and ensure greater safety of the internet banking space, Managing Director, Polaris Bank Limited, Mr. Adekunle Sonola has said.

He said the human factor is a major factor in addressing challenges of cyber-security and all stakeholders must pay attention to recruiting and managing reliable human capital.  

Sonola spoke at the 54th quarterly meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN) at the weekend in Lagos.

The theme of the meeting was: “Cybersecurity threats and the challenges of building a sustainable financial sector: The way forward.”

According to him, at the top of the cyber threats that the financial services industry is facing is human capital issue as people are responsible for both the threats and security of the system.

“If we talk about phishing attacks, people are the delivery medium. If we focus on malware, people are largely the execution factor, if we talk about weaknesses in systems configurations that allow an attacker to succeed in compromising systems, people are responsible for maintenance of such systems. If we take a look at insider related frauds and irregularities, we will see that people are at the centre of them all.

“The people factor remains a formidable threat agent for the survivor of any organization and its cyber resiliency. An emerging issue around people is the current high rate of staff attrition occasion mainly by “japa” syndrome and the attendant difficulty in resourcing to fill human capital vacancies,” Sonola said.

He also pointed out that the third party risk has also been amplified by open banking with increasing interconnectivity in the financial services sector and the growing global concept of open banking, making banks and other financial institutions increasingly susceptible to cyber risks

“Financial services currently rely heavily on the use of APIs to facilitate business-to-business connectivity. No matter how well protected an organization is, if a third party is weak, collectively the entire financial services industry will be weak because a chain is as strong as its weakest link,” Sonola said.

He added that technology and innovation are also a major risk factor for the financial services industry as the same cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics that are available to run businesses are also available to hackers and fraudsters who are using them against organizations.

Chairman Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), Mr Felix Igbinosa, said ACAEBIN will continue to seek ways of enhancing the existing relationships through constant engagement and collaboration with all stakeholders.

He commended all stakeholders and regulators for all their efforts at regulating and improving the banking space for the overall good of the economy.

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