To say that the events of 2020 shifted business priorities would be an understatement. Organizations across the world had to entirely change their way of working, some adapting to an unprecedented situation at a moment’s notice. Digitalization has been accelerated, commerce has moved online, and millions of employees have had to leave the office and work from home. But what does all this mean for 2021 and, beyond that, the post-COVID world?
Technology has clearly played a significant role in allowing organizations to adapt to COVID-19 regulations. Many businesses have been more reliant on technology than ever before; processing transactions exclusively online, engaging with employees remotely, and communicating with clients virtually. Unsurprisingly, this has cast a spotlight on financial technology – or FinTech – as organizations manage their finances from home. Unfortunately, all of these changes bring greater cybersecurity risks than ever before – with 81% of business leaders agreeing that COVID-19 has increased the need for improved security of finances.
This need – although intensified by lockdowns across the globe – will continue even as the world aims to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19 measures. For many businesses, FinTech can help to bolster profitability as they navigate the undoubtedly perilous journey to a post-COVID world. While it is difficult to predict what the world will look like in the future, there are some signs of what may be to come. Working from home, for hundreds of organizations, is here to stay – either as the sole mode of work or as part of a hybrid model – so we will continue to see increased use of technology. Digitalization is unlikely to backslide in any major way, with business leaders continuing to drive progress through new innovations.
In this emerging situation, organizations are looking more to FinTech solutions to manage, streamline, and consolidate their finances. ESET’s global FinTech survey found that 68% of business leaders expect their company’s investment to increase by some extent – and over a quarter (27%) expect this investment to increase greatly. This will likely increase use of FinTech solutions that are already popular, such as online payment processors and online accounting, alongside an uptake in solutions that are less widely adopted. With COVID-19 potentially leaving a legacy of ongoing restrictions, online cross-border payments may become far more popular, as well as branchless banks and online cashflow management. Adopting some of these solutions will allow organizations to manage their finances remotely, rather than being tethered to a set location.
Unfortunately, as businesses’ priorities shift, so too will the threats they face. CISOs have also chimed in; following the first COVID-19 lockdowns more business processes moved online, especially financial processes, and with them came a wider range of ways for threat actors to attack an organization. It may be easier to adopt FinTech applications rather than managing finances in person, but keeping these systems secure brings new challenges. One of these challenges is data security, as 10% of managers surveyed think that FinTech solutions such as branchless banks and online lending make company data less secure. This may be a particular risk moving forward, as business leaders adapt quickly and implement new financial processes that they may not fully understand. FinTech applications should be designed with security in mind, but if decision makers do not appreciate the value of security, they may be putting their organizations at risk.
Whether or not they increase the use of FinTech, businesses will need to prioritize cybersecurity in order to safeguard post-COVID recovery. Many look set to embrace innovation with a range of FinTech solutions, from branchless banks to online cashflow management, as part of their roadmap for the future. With the right FinTech tools, properly secured against hacks, organizations will be better positioned to adapt and transform for an uncertain future.
Additional findings from ESET’s FinTech study will continue to be revealed throughout early 2021. For more information on ESET, and how security software can help to protect you and your business, visit our website here: www.eset.com
About Version 2 Limited
Version 2 Limited is one of the most dynamic IT companies in Asia. The company develops and distributes IT products for Internet and IP-based networks, including communication systems, Internet software, security, network, and media products. Through an extensive network of channels, point of sales, resellers, and partnership companies, Version 2 Limited offers quality products and services which are highly acclaimed in the market. Its customers cover a wide spectrum which include Global 1000 enterprises, regional listed companies, public utilities, Government, a vast number of successful SMEs, and consumers in various Asian cities.
For 30 years, ESET® has been developing industry-leading IT security software and services for businesses and consumers worldwide. With solutions ranging from endpoint security to encryption and two-factor authentication, ESET’s high-performing, easy-to-use products give individuals and businesses the peace of mind to enjoy the full potential of their technology. ESET unobtrusively protects and monitors 24/7, updating defenses in real time to keep users safe and businesses running without interruption. Evolving threats require an evolving IT security company. Backed by R&D facilities worldwide, ESET became the first IT security company to earn 100 Virus Bulletin VB100 awards, identifying every single “in-the-wild” malware without interruption since 2003.