The UK’s financial regulator has issued guidance to firms adopting a remote or hybrid working model, warning that the lack of a centralised location must not affect its ability to meet its regulatory responsibilities.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has stated each firm that chooses to adopt either an entirely remote or hybrid model will be assessed on a case by case basis.
However, the watchdog has stated that this must not affect their ability to oversee its functions, reduce competition, damage market integrity, reduce competition nor increase the risk of financial crime.
The FCA is also advising firms to ensure they have the systems and controls, including the necessary IT functionality, to support the above factors being in place, and have considered any data, cyber and security risks, that arise from remote or hybrid working.
The FCA’s move has been welcomed by the cyber security and software industry, not least those providing cloud-based services.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has forced through many positive changes in terms of working practices, yet far too many companies still lack the training and assessment of personnel and the IT infrastructure and systems to ensure complete compliance,” said Sridhar Iyengar, managing director of data centre provider Zoho Europe.
Tim Sadler, CEO of IT security firm Tessian added: “The FCA is right to raise awareness of the need for companies to carefully consider how they manage remote working operations to ensure they remain compliant at all times.
“As well as ensuring the right security systems are in place, it’s essential that staff are fully trained about the risks posed in terms of data security around incorrectly addressed email correspondence as well as external threats like phishing emails, ransomware attacks.
“Financial services organisations manage valuable and critical data, and it’s so important that they do not allow flexible working practices to put them at risk of a breach.”
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