Cyber-attacks increased exponentially during the pandemic, so much so that global losses to cybercrime in 2020 was recorded at $945 billion from $500 billion in 2019, almost double the amount within just a year, according to a report by IT security provider McAfee published in December last year.
This alarming figure has made cybersecurity and information security more important than ever. Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) has been a key facilitator of discussions on cybersecurity and information security in recent years, taking on this responsibility as the country’s leader in digital banking space. The Bank sees the need for better conversations on how industry players can work together in enabling safer digital banking systems for everyone.
In line with this, UnionBank Vice President, Data Protection Officer, and Head of Artificial Intelligence and Data Protection Policy Sasa Montes represented the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) at the National Privacy Commission’s (NPC) virtual Data Protection Day event last January, where she discussed the various concerns of banks in ensuring that the data privacy of customers is protected.
UnionBank’s participation at the event was critical to its overall goal of enabling inclusive prosperity in the Philippines as it enabled them to contribute to the creation of a secure digital ecosystem in the country by sharing their expertise in ensuring that sensitive customer data is protected.
According to Montes, among the biggest issues faced by banks and other regulated financial institutions today when it comes to providing digital services are authorization of transactions and authentication of identities while ensuring that bank secrecy guidelines are strictly followed.
Montes pointed out that banks must bear the burden of needing to meet the demands of various banking stakeholders all at the same time—from their business, to regulators, and more importantly, the customers.
Raising awareness of the importance of data privacy is one of the priorities of UnionBank, which is why the Bank has been implementing various initiatives geared toward this advocacy.
“We have a campaign called #CyberSure and we regularly provide tips to customers. For UnionBank customers, you can see it in their mobile app. Every time, we remind customers that they have to secure their emails and accounts, and not just click any email that they see,” Montes said.
“We also have the Xcellerator Data Privacy Apprentice Program, which we are offering to the public. There’s self-paced learning, then assessment exams and use case development where we also invite experts to talk about their experience in implementing data privacy,” she added.
Data Protection Day is an international celebration aimed at raising awareness and promoting best practices in privacy and data protection. Its goal is to empower individuals to be able to protect their data while encouraging organizations to observe proper handling of personal data.