Vince Cook, CEO of National Bank of Fujairah Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

The Covid-19 outbreak has expedited the digitisation movement at an unprecedented pace, and we have witnessed a massive shift from the physical world to the online space. The past few months have similarly accelerated the digital transformation in the banking sector ushering in a new age of banking. At National Bank of Fujairah (NBF), we can proudly report that more than 70 per cent of our customers have successfully transitioned from traditional to online banking and in some processing areas more than 90 per cent of transactions are now fully automated.

While digital banking provides faster processing of financial transactions and more convenience, this new normal has heightened vulnerabilities that banks spend much time and effort to effectively counter. At NBF, our cybersecurity strategy sits at the centre of our digitisation model and we have worked tirelessly towards strengthening our layered security controls, beefing up our cyber-resilient capabilities and educating our workforce and customers on cyberattacks on a regular and ongoing basis.

At NBF, we have built a robust cybersecurity strategy that focuses on three main pillars: identity protection, data protection and culture. To protect the identity of our customers, we have deployed the most advanced authentication methods such as biometrics and facial recognition and will continue to evolve our techniques to maximise security.

Our approach to data protection is steered by a cross-functional data governance forum, which is designed to ensure we manage data security, privacy, quality and overall performance in an effective way.

Lastly, we have made relentless efforts to foster a culture whereby employees, partners and customers are fully aware and equipped to deal with potential cybersecurity threats. We conduct awareness sessions on a regular basis where we educate our staff and customers about cyberattacks and how best to navigate them. As a result, after measuring our staff’s readiness to cybersecurity, we can proudly report that their ability to mitigate threats has increased by 90 per cent over the past five years.

In fact, I am very proud of the fact that in one recent phishing simulation we experienced zero hooks and believe that it is from building on such basic awareness we will remain a safe place to do business.

Looking ahead, we will focus our efforts on strengthening our three cybersecurity pillars by frequently updating our proactive and reactive security controls and overseeing digital channel fraud management to safeguard new technologies that continue to evolve.