Vince Cook, CEO of National Bank of Fujairah
Vince Cook, CEO, National Bank of Fujairah Image Credit: Supplied

The worst of pandemic hopefully being behind us and with the return of positive sentiments, our priority would be to enable our customers to get back to business.

This would mean further increase in digitisation that was earlier expedited by Covid 19 across the globe and within the region at an unprecedented pace, and UAE had similarly witnessed a massive shift from the physical world to the online space. The banking sector which has been a pioneer in this transformation is no exception. And while digital banking offers customers convenience and faster processing of financial transactions, it heightens vulnerabilities that banks spend years pre-empting and preparing for.

Digital transformation continued to be a crucial component within NBF’s business strategy. This meant focusing on the interests and needs of customers and helping them to leverage the myriad new opportunities made possible by evolving financial technology.

Alongside, cybersecurity is at the heart of the bank’s digital transformation and NBF has worked tirelessly to strengthen its layered security controls, increasing its cyber resilient capabilities and educating its workforce and customers about cyberattacks on a regular and ongoing basis.

To protect the identity and wider interests of the bank’s customers, NBF has built a robust cybersecurity strategy that focuses on three main pillars: identity protection, data protection and culture. To protect the identity of its customers, the bank has deployed the most advanced authentication methods, such as biometrics and facial recognition and continues to evolve its techniques to maximise security. Its approach to data protection is steered by a cross-functional data governance forum, which is designed to ensure the bank manages data security, privacy, quality and overall performance in an effective way. To this end, NBF joined the UAE Banks Federation to support its efforts to minimise the impact of fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education.

NBF has also made relentless efforts to foster a culture whereby employees, partners and customers are fully aware and equipped to deal with potential cybersecurity threats. As part of the bank’s cyber resiliency programme, NBF conducts various cyberattack simulations to test the effectiveness of its defences. It uses the learnings from these simulations to improve the bank’s cyber resiliency as well as inform and evolve the bank’s cybersecurity strategy.

In 2021, NBF was also amongst the group of banks that worked on the launch of UAE Trade Connect (UTC), a unique platform built on blockchain technology that will create an ecosystem for multiple trade-related entities and solve various issues related to trade finance. The launch of the UTC Digital Trade Platform is one of the key steps towards minimising the risks of fraud inherent in existing paper-based systems of trade finance.

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 channels fraud management to safeguard the technologies that continue to evolve.

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