‘Ensuring Right Balance in Physical, Digital Expansion Vital for Banking’

J N Mallikarjun Rao
J N Mallikarjun Rao, CISO, SyndicateBank

Several banks in the country already have a vast footprint of physical banking. They are continuously expanding to cater to various customers’ needs. Adoption of digital financial technologies such as AI, Big Data, more Application Programming Interface (APIs), tech convergence, etc., are required in a big way for customer satisfaction and to reduce cost, says J N Mallikarjun Rao, CISO, SyndicateBank, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

Implementing tech-innovations are significant but safety is a major responsibility. How is SyndicateBank dealing with this?

True. At our bank, we have robust information systems’ risk management framework to facilitate the integration of security requirements which controls the enterprise architecture, Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) processes, acquisition processes, and systems engineering processes. First comes ‘the need’ for specific technology and then ‘the risks’ involved. The risk management is where the risks are reduced and the business needs are fulfilled.

In the era of information security, how significant is the role of Chief Information Security Officer (CISOs)?

CISO plays a very significant and visible role in risk reduction in business strategy implementation of an organisation. Information security is an important slice of CISO’s functional cake. CISO should be a high-level counsel to the Board on the one hand and a point of contact for seeking compliance by Government/ regulatory authorities on the other.

CISO plays risk management as well as compliance roles, at the same time donning the cap of ‘business enabler’. Personally, I feel CISO is a business executive who understands technology risks and keeps ‘residual risks’ to the bare minimum.

How do you view the concept of Phygital Banking? Is there a need to also maintain fair balance between physical and digital services?

Phygital banking is a Siamese twin of physical and digital banking. Phygital mean synergy between physical banking and digital banking. Many banks already have a vast footprint of physical banking and they are continuously expanding to cater to the needs of various customers. Adoption of digital financial technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, more Application Programming Interface (APIs), tech convergence, etc., is required in a big way to satisfy customers and at the same time for reducing costs. The banks have already invested in this direction and continuously do it in future.

Phygital will have less staff and more automation. A controlled approach and regular monitoring is required for ensuring the right balance between physical and digital expansion.

How stringent are the legislative measures pertaining to cybersecurity in India? Is upgradation required?

The legislative measures are reasonably good. However, they are to be updated for securing from emerging risks. The National Cyber Security Policy 2013 by Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) aims at protecting public and private infrastructure from cyber attacks. Information Technology Act, 2000 provides protection from various cyber crimes such as unauthorised access, denial of service attacks, phishing, identity theft, disruption, etc.

What new innovations have you planned for 2019?

As discussed above, the adoption of innovative digital technologies to deliver quality to the customers is one thing. Introducing automation in banking using data analytics, AI, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to speed up administrative tasks and free up human resources and enable them to engage with customers for delivering —more personalised customer service.

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