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How does SWIFT CSP help reduce payment fraud and make the banking system more protected?

SWIFT Customer Security Program (CSP) marks a set of security controls that every communed entity requires heeding. Also, after 2021, a mandatory independent assessment superseded the self-assessment criteria of SWIFT. The blog will help you illustrate how the SWIFT requirements attach to the current digital setting, including common pitfalls, issues, and relevant questionnaires.

What is SWIFT CSP: A quick recap!

Think of what is behind secure financial messaging services – SWIFT, the leading provider around the globe. Although it provides services such as cash management, securities and FX trade, the core function revolves around payment processing.

Again, what comprises the SWIFT network? A prominent part of the SWIFT network is financial entities. However, many other businesses also cling to the network. They connect instantly through their own SWIFT infrastructure or a Service Bureau. Such customers directly raise security issues within the network with feeble links.

What is SWIFT’s objective?

One of the primary intents of SWIFT is to protect the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of the network and its messages. There are constant threat movements above the financial surface. As a counteract, SWIFT look for continuous monitoring and updating of security controls. And that is where SWIFT Customer Security Program (CSP) got created.

Into the SWIFT Customer Security Program

SWIFT CSP helps financial institutions ensure their defences against cyberattacks are up-to-date and effective. SWIFT routinely revisits the CSCF and issues the new updated frameworks. It also requires that organizations complete SWIFT attestations between July 1st and December 31st of the year following publication.

The CSCF leans on industry-recognized cyber security standards such as NIST, ISO 27001 and PCI DSS. Currently, 32 security controls (23 mandatory and 9 advisory) exist around 8 security themes. It is based on how your organization interacts with SWIFT that help determine which controls you must comply.

CSP security Controls framework

Secure Your Environment

1. Limit Internet access.

2. Segregate critical systems from general IT environment.

3. Lower attack surface and vulnerabilities.

4. Physically protect the environment.

Know and Limit Access.

5. Prevent credentials compromise.

6. Manage identities and segregate privileges.

Detect and Respond.

7. Catch anomalous activity to system or transaction records.

8. Plan for incident response and information sharing.

Taking back to the history of the CSP Program

2016 marked the adoption of CSP by SWIFT accompanying Customer Security Controls Framework (CSCF) as early as 2017, with many ongoing updates. You can witness the addition of mandatory controls from 16 in 2017 to 23 for the current year. All these updates route to constant monitoring and study of evolving threat vectors and real-world attacks reported on the surface.

Furthermore, from 2021, it is mandatory for entities affiliated with the SWIFT network to have an independent CSCF assessment carried out annually by an independent party. And what requires is a qualified evaluator for the concerned entities with the right level of competence to design and implement technical and organizational controls.

CSCF v2021: Tackling some quick insights!

ValueMentor is a leading SWIFT CSP assessment provider company, having the trusted stamp of customers across the globe. Through our engagements over the years, we have compiled the best information to put right for a successful SWIFT CSP Assessment project. Ensure these if you are looking for a successful assessment: –

1. Timely assessment is one thing that most entities in the SWIFT network are far from heeding. It is essential to have early buy-in from management and a better understanding of the CSP requirements.

2. A common issue found traversing the engagement route is the lack of a detailed plan upfront. It automatically creates a burden on the IT teams, influencing the enterprise’s ongoing activities. Hence, you should ensure effective project planning that helps align enterprise objectives with minimal impact on business operations.

3. Yet another area of concern is defining the true scope of a participating organization. For many organizations, it is actually a challenge sorting out what goes in-scope and out-scope. As

a trusted auditing firm, we would definitely handhold you through the scope conditions stated in the CSCF that help you avoid any missing scope components.

4. Again, a third-party connection is a concern for organizations outsourcing their financial messaging services. Acquiring accurate documentation of security controls and policies used by third-party agencies is essential while going through the SWIFT compliance program. Organizations must ensure that their third-party security levels adhere to the CSP requirements.

If you are well prepared for the assessment, everything seems like an easy-ongoing activity. Having experience running internal assessments and scans in the past can be worthy of the process. When the clients know what to prepare or can set clear expectations and objectives upfront, it helps overcome audit delays. And that is how you can limit the going back and forth between assessor and client and sprint up the overall process.

SWIFT CSP: Frequently Asked Questions

1. We are ISO 27001 or PCI-DSS certified company. Can we refer to our certification and bypass a CSP assessment?

Ans: No. Yet, having an ISO 27001 Certification demonstrates your organization’s maturity in terms of its internal control framework and its documentation. It will definitely facilitate the assessment.

You have the right policies and procedures in place, and your employees will know what an audit will look like and what we would ask as proof of control implementations. However, there can be gaps, indicating the need to perform CSCF assessments for the remaining controls.

2. Do CSP controls only apply to local SWIFT hardware?

Ans: No. Entities with indirect links to the SWIFT network would also require compliance with the controls. They need to ensure all components in scope get documented in the CSCF with respective controls. For instance, regular systems used by employees of the Treasury department (to access Alliance Lite2 GUI) also fall under the scope.

3. Does connection outsourcing or hosting SWIFT components influence my architecture type?

A: Connection outsourcing or SWIFT component hosting to a third party will not change your architecture type. For example, if you are using a SaaS Management System (like TMS), you are still accountable for the security of your own enterprise network and the connection to the system. Even though you are not the hardware owner, you are liable for its security in front of

SWIFT. Thus, you will need to verify and confirm that your supplier is CSP-compliant. At times, you will also need to review their CSP security controls.

How ValueMentor help achieve SWIFT CSP Attestation?

ValueMentor hits as one of the prime and trusted choices for performing assessments on the route of SWIFT CSP Certification. We are a full-fledged cyber security company offering knowledgeable insights and experienced cybersecurity specialists to direct you towards CSP attestation. Our SWIFT CSP services portfolio includes Privileged Access Management, Hardening & Patching, Vulnerability Scanning & Penetration Tests, Identity Management & MFA, Logging & Monitoring, and Incident Response Planning. ValueMentor security professional’s handhold you towards the attestation in a pragmatic and customized way, staying on top of the activity until all documents are ready to upload onto the SWIFT KYC-SA portal.

Consult our cyber security specialists

We can help you optimize cyber security. ValueMentor, with a full-fledged SWIFT CSP Compliance team, is ever-ready to handhold you with a holistic and proactive security approach. Have a concealed security ring around your business, helping you alleviate risks, enhance security and meet compliance with various regulations. Get your customized consultation and security advice.

Book your security evaluation today!  Mail Us – sales@valuementor.com

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