If there is one aspect of their ICT systems that keeps bankers awake at night, it is the factor of security – an intangible issue but ranking as one of the most important factors of ICT in the financial services sector.

BMI-TechKnowledge have announced the publication of their latest SA ICT in Financial Services Research which forms part of BMI-T’s SA ICT Expanded Vertical Programme and includes research findings relating to the financial, business and other services sector. The research covers ICT in South African banks, insurance companies, investment companies and other financial services organisations.
According to Lesley-Anne Dos Santos, Enterprise Research Business Manager at BMI-T, companies in the financial, business and other services sectors are seen as forward-looking technology players and not surprisingly these industries make up around 35% of the total ICT expenditure in South Africa. This is followed by the trade sector which makes up 19%, and the overall government sector which makes up just over 16% of the total ICT expenditure.
The financial industry also leads the way when it comes to ICT technologies including mobile, service oriented architecture (SOA), business process management (BPM) and next-generation self-service tools.
However, security tops the list of the most important ICT factors in the financial services sector, says Althea Bacchialoni, BMI-T's financial services specialist.
Security in ICT is homogenous by its nature and – by the daily business of financial organisations conducting constant communications, trading and customer access – there are many key trends that have and will continue to have a major impact on financial organisations ICT security market.
However, there are two particular trends that float to the top and these include identity and access management, as well as security regulatory compliance.
Bacchialoni says that, on the latter factor, one often hears the complaint “when can we be true bankers and not providers and keepers of security regulation compliance?".
In addition, she says, there is the added complexity that this factor has two underlying elements; the intricacies of being compliant, and then how best to achieve these levels of compliance with minimal impact on the day to day running of the organisation.
The ever-evolving and changing landscape of identity and access management poses an ongoing problem of how best to beat the "bad guys" – who are often one or two steps ahead of the whatever security barriers are in place, Bacchialoni adds.
There is also the paradox of employees being encouraged to move towards a culture of productivity on the move – the ongoing evolution of the financial mobile worker who may have higher levels of productivity but this places the organisation at risk while communications are ongoing and bi-directional.
The current and ongoing paranoia around security is exacerbated by the global economic climate, Baccialoni adds