The Quick View on Cybersecurity Regulations for Financial Services

Published On: July 13th, 2023Categories: Cybersecurity, IT ComplianceTags:

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The financial services industry is a prime target for cyberattacks, leading to the establishment of several mandatory cybersecurity regulations. While complying with these regulations may seem burdensome, it is an effective strategy for holding financial services accountable for their security posture.

Our managed IT services team in Austin, Texas understands the significance of cybersecurity compliance in the financial sector. This is a quick summary of the top eight cybersecurity regulations impacting the industry, along with essential compliance resources and details on penalties for non-compliance.

A Brief Overview of Financial Cybersecurity Compliance

Before delving into the specific regulations, it’s crucial to understand the concept of financial cybersecurity compliance. It refers to adhering to laws and security regulations that establish minimum standards for data security within the financial industry. These regulations are either established by governments or authoritative security bodies and apply to various financial institutions, including commercial banks, investment banks, insurance companies, brokerage firms, CPA firms, wealth management services, mutual funds, and credit unions.

The Challenge of Regulatory Compliance in Finance

One of the significant challenges in achieving cybersecurity compliance in the financial sector is the abundance of different security standards and the overlap between them. This overlap often creates confusion and redundancy in implementing security controls. To address this issue, it’s essential to focus on regulations that are mandatory for financial organizations while considering optional standards that offer additional security benefits. By implementing security solutions aligned with these mandatory and optional standards, financial institutions can effectively reduce cybersecurity risks.

The Top 8 Cybersecurity Regulations in the Financial Sector


The European General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR) is a security framework designed to protect personal data and applies to businesses processing data linked to EU citizens. Compliance with the GDPR is mandatory for financial services companies collecting or processing personal data from EU residents. The regulation covers a wide range of data processing activities and sets separate security guidelines for data controllers and data processors. Non-compliance with the GDPR can result in significant fines, up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover.

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The United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK-GDPR) is the UK’s version of the EU-GDPR. Despite Brexit, the UK-GDPR retains EU-GDPR laws, with slight modifications to accommodate certain domestic law requirements. Financial institutions operating in the UK must comply with the UK-GDPR, which covers the protection of personal data of UK residents. Non-compliance with the UK-GDPR can lead to fines of up to £17.5 million or 4% of annual global turnover.

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3. SOX

The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act focuses on protecting investors from financial scams and encompasses cybersecurity components to address common cybersecurity risks. SOX compliance is mandatory for all public companies, including those in the financial sector. Financial institutions need to establish internal controls, risk assessments, auditing procedures, and incident response plans to ensure compliance. Failure to comply with SOX can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment and fines.


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) aims to reduce credit card fraud and safeguard cardholders’ personal data. Financial organizations involved in processing customer credit card information must comply with PCI DSS. Compliance requirements vary based on the size of the merchant, and failure to comply can lead to fines ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per month.

5. BSA

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) combats money laundering activities in financial institutions. Compliance with the BSA is mandatory for financial organizations accepting money from customers, including national banks, federal branches, agencies of foreign banks, and federal savings associations. Non-compliance with the BSA can result in fines and imprisonment.

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The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) requires financial institutions to protect customer data and disclose data-sharing practices. Compliance with GLBA is mandatory for all US organizations selling financial products or services. Non-compliance can lead to civil penalties and fines.

7. PSD 2

The Payment Services Directive (PSD 2) promotes competition in the banking sector and includes regulations to protect online payments, enhance customer data security, and enforce strong customer authentication. Compliance with PSD 2 is mandatory for banks and financial institutions in the European Union, with penalties for non-compliance.

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The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) establishes uniform principles of best practices for financial institutions. FFIEC compliance is mandatory for federally supervised financial institutions in the United States. Failure to comply can result in fines.

Complying with cybersecurity regulations is crucial for financial services companies to protect customer data and maintain regulatory compliance. The top eight regulations discussed in this guide, including EU-GDPR, UK-GDPR, SOX, PCI DSS, BSA, GLBA, PSD 2, and FFIEC, have significant implications for the financial industry. Understanding the requirements, penalties, and available compliance resources is essential for ensuring cybersecurity compliance. At Lithium Networks, we specialize in helping financial services companies navigate these regulations and implement robust security measures. Contact us today to learn more about our managed IT services and how we can support your compliance needs.