Evaluating the Importance of Proper Security Clearance in the IT Financial Industry

Many employees of financial companies have access to sensitive customer information such as phone numbers, bank and credit card account numbers, income and credit histories, and even social security numbers. All the information a person would need to commit fraud. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial companies to employ policies to provide security and confidentiality with respect to sensitive customer information.

According to Sergeant James Humbucker of Veterans Today, approximately three million people possess security clearance in the US. Additionally, private contracting or consulting firms hold 1.5 million security clearances. One out of every thousand are estimated to compromise the information that they have access to.

Security clearances are typically used by governments and industries to allow access to classified information. The majority of IT positions, particularly in the finance industry, require security clearance, which can be obtained for individuals or groups. Different organizations may have varying levels of clearance, depending on the information that they collect.

    • The types of security clearances are Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, Sensitive Compartmentalized Information, and Single Scope Background Investigation. Employees must meet certain character, criminal, and credit history requirements to attain clearance. The higher the clearance level, the stricter the requirements.
    • US businesses and individuals are targets for white collar crime, terrorism, and espionage. It is vital to a company’s reputation to ensure that the internal risk of compromised sensitive financial information is minimized with thorough employee background checks, security clearances, and strict controls on employee access to sensitive financial information.
    • An identity access management system can control the access to data. Employees, depending on their profile, are only able to access certain levels of data and are not able to access data that they do not require in order to perform their functions. This can prevent employees from fraudulent activity or accessing financial records. Policies are required that control employee use of remote devices such as cellphones and laptops.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act under the Federal Trade Commission issued the Safeguards Rule, which requires financial institutions keep customer information secure.


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