INFORMATION SYSTEM- Digital portfolio blog post RKC

Information Systems in the Banking Industry: How It Helps and How It Can Continue To Improve

Information Systems in the Banking Industry have revolutionized the way customers interact with their banks and accounts (Ramey 2012). There are major applications for both the customer and the bank that could not be possible without advances in information systems.

Some of these major applications for customers include services that help increase banking accessibility. These new services include remote banking, anytime banking, telebanking, electronic banking, self-inquiry facility, and more (Smith 2017). As can be seen, these services all revolve around enabling their customers to use their services with more convenience. Customers are now able to log into terminals to withdraw and deposit cash, as well as use self-inquiry facilities that can keep them updated on the status of their accounts. Generally, the increase of accessibility allows the banking industry to become more relevant in the lives of its customers, which is why the banking industry continues to improve it information systems. There are plenty of advantages and disadvantages of the banking industry (Muhsinzoda 2015).

For the bank, there are also certain major applications caused by an integration of information systems. Over the last two decades, banks have applied IT to assist in their customer service and also increase their services. Through the implementation of IT and information services, banks can now immediately assist customers with their requests and concerns, generate certain reports with much more ease and use this data for big data applications, and interconnect bank branches across cities and around the world, increasing the speed and efficiency of its services (Wong 2015). Information services also improves the lives of banking employees, with certain features now enabled such as signature retrieval, automatic printing of schedules, receipts, and other important documents, and immediate interest and balancing calculations for certain accounts.

As information systems continues to evolve in the banking industry, the possibilities that can arise are numerous (Osborne 2014). Through the usage of certain big data analytics, banks can use information to gain insight on things such as predictive analytics, where they can predict the actions of their customers and potential customers by studying the data granted to them by their current numbers Overall, an increase in information systems in the banking industry will only increase the efficiency and speed banks can serve their customers with. We must always consider the importance of information systems in the banking sector (Pilarczyk 2016).

Reference:

Smith, R. (2017). A Decade after the Crisis, How Are The World’s Banks Doing? The Economist.

Wong, D. (2015). Banks Scramble To Fix Old Systems As IT Cowboys Ride Into Sunset. CNBC.

Osborne, R. (2014). Why Do Bank IT Systems Keep Failing? The Guardian.

Pilarczyk, K. (2016). Importance of Management Information System in Banking Sector.

Ramey, M. (2012). The Role of Technology in Banking Industry. Use of Technology.

Muhsinzoda, M. (2015). Advantages and disadvantages of Information Systems. PublaTIC.

 

 

How an Increase in Information Systems in the Banking Industry Has Led To The Rise Of Cyber Crime and the Digital Mafia

 

It seems that it is almost every week or month these days that another financial institution around the world announces that it has suffered a major data breach at the hand of Russian, Chinese, or other digital hackers. Cyber crime is not something that should be taken lightly: according to statistics found by London-based Sans Security Institute, one digital crime happens every fifteen seconds (Evans 2017). Even the biggest financial institutions do not have the means to secure themselves from dedicated cyber criminals, who, when successful, manage to steal the data of millions of individuals, getting everything from their personal information, their emails, their passwords, to the credit card information.

And this isn’t limited to small banks. Recent international targets in the banking industry include the Central Bank of the Philippines, Qatar National Bank in Doha, and even the US Federal Reserve (Cherrayil 2016). An uninsured financial institution that falls under the hands of a large-scale hack can lose everything in an instant, for themselves and for all of their customers (Santiago 2016). Even if they do manage to keep themselves afloat financially after a large cyber attack, their reputation will be smeared for decades to come as customers will refuse to trust their savings and their personal information with a source that has already been breached.

So the question is now this: how can the banking industry protect themselves against cybercrimes? While information systems have helped the banking industry and augmented their services and profits in so many ways, cybercrimes have made the financial world terrified that they could be the next victim, potentially crippling them for life. It should be noted that no cyber crime or data breach is possible without it working from the inside out. Most hackers breach the information systems of banks by using what is known as “spear phishing techniques”, in which employees are tricked into clicking malicious and virus-filled emails. Their methods are much more sophisticated than the Nigerian Royalty emails that we are all accustomed to avoiding; these hackers will develop long-term relationships with employees, masking themselves as friends, relatives, or even just friendly customers, until the employee is lured into downloading Malware (Santiago 2016).

Only from the inside can this malware start working on the information system that the bank has set up. Sometimes, they use this malware to target systems that control a bank’s ATMs, triggering them to give all of their cash under a certain command or at a certain time without the bank knowing it until long after the crime has happened (Evans 2017). In other cases, the malware targets the personal data of the bank’s customers and employees, and the criminals use this information to steal their finances.

Banks can protect themselves by setting up layered security systems. Malware is usually only efficient when it only needs to break through a single layer of security, but through multiple and various means to access data, a sophisticated security system can notice when the first or second wall has been breached before the cyber criminals have enough time to figure out how to get through the rest (Oracle 2015).

However, it should be noted that no system is perfect. Just as information systems can be developed to protect themselves against malware, more sophisticated and advanced malware is constantly being developed to defeat these systems. Fighting against cybercrime needs to be a constant effort—no bank should rest on their laurels while hackers fight their way through their security.

Reference:

Evans, M. (2017). Fraud and Cyber Crime Are Now The Country’s Most Common Offences. Telegraph.

Santiago, G. (2016). Cybercrime and Fraud Scale Revealed in Annual Figures. BBC

Oracle Enterprise. (2015). Big Data in Financial Services and Banking. 1. Oracle Enterprise Architecture White Paper.

Cherrayil, N. (2016). QNB Hackers To Leak More Data of Another Big Bank Soon. Gulf News.

Cryptocurrencies and the Banking Industry: Understanding the “Realness” of Digital Currencies

 

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently disclosed the opinion that cryptocurrency could be the future of banking. The potential of this digital currency to overthrow and eventually replace traditional banking has been looking for over the last decade, but it has only been in recent months that this issue has really started to get attention from the big players in the banking and financial world.

But before we can further divulge into whether or not cryptocurrencies deserve the attention of the highest level official in the banking and financial industry, there needs to be an understanding of what cryptocurrencies essentially are, and how these products of the information systems world have come to the brink of virtually upheaving the financial industry.

Cryptocurrencies are essentially digital currencies, and in many ways, it requires a shift of understanding in the way you perceive fiat currency to truly understand and accept cryptocurrencies (Agerholm 2017). While many doubters of cryptocurrencies say that they will never work because they are not “real”, it is essential to understand that fiat currencies are not any more real than digital currencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin.

Here’s an example. If you have a $100 bill, then you have $100 to your name, and this $100 can be used to trade for $100 worth of goods or services. However, if this $100 is burned, lost, stolen, or damaged in any irredeemable way, then you no longer have $100. It doesn’t matter that the money wasn’t spent; technically, if you worked for that $100 or if that $100 was passed on to you in any way, you should have $100 to your name. But the representation of that $100 is the only reason this $100 exists in your name; without the representation (the $100 bill), the $100 disappears.

This is difficult for most people to understand as we are still transitioning into a world that will be, in just a few decades’ time, overwhelmingly digital and virtual. “Realness” should no longer be defined by physical representations but rather by what the system accepts and does not accept. Would digital currencies be suddenly accepted by its doubters if paper or plastic bills were printed out to use as legal tender (Agerholm 2017)? When put that way, it only feels like a petty difference defining the acceptance or lack of acceptance that is given to digital currencies. “Realness” is, again, not defined by any physical representation of a currency, but by the social acceptance and trust that a community or society has put into it. In essence, all power is imaginary, and all money is a representation of power (Brown 2017). Money then is imaginary; a $100 bill is only worth $100 because we all accept that it is $100; once we start accepting that digital currencies carry their own way, then they too become “real”.

Though its origins are in information systems and will remain virtual for all of its existence, digital currencies and cryptocurrencies are as real as every other fiat currency and piece of legal tender, for as long as we accept and agree it to be. And with the current trend going on when it comes to digital currencies like Bitcoin, we aren’t very far away from this social acceptance.

Reference.

Agerholm, H. (2017). Universal Basic Income: Half of Britons Plan to Pay Back All UK Citizens.

INFORMATION SYSTEM- Digital portfolio blog post RKC

Information Systems in the Banking Industry:

How It Helps and How It Can Continue to Improve

 

Shafi A. Yusuf shafi@shaafi.com

@00507668

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