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The financial services sector is often regarded as a benchmark of IT and security. This leadership position, however, also comes at a price: Financial services was one of the first industries to be impacted by cybercrime. That comes at little surprise – as the tall tale of Willy Sutton (a prolific bank robber) tells us, when asked by a reporter why he robbed banks, he simply replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” The latest research from PwC shows that cybercrime accounted for 39% of financial services economic crime, compared to 17% in other industries.

One estimate suggests financial services companies will spend $2.6 billion by 2016 on protecting networks and other cybersecurity efforts. The cost of compliance, when graphed alongside security spending, represents a similar trend. Namely, the effort and resources exhausted on compliance is also on a steep incline, and compliance costs are as unavoidable as cybercrime. However, we will need to expand the scope of our security thinking. Focusing on compliance alone as a security strategy is not enough anymore. Just because an item doesn’t fall under a regulation doesn’t mean it’s not sensitive data. If compliance is the only basis of a data protection strategy, it risks not being secure even though it might be in compliance.

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