BITS: A Note From the President of our Technology Policy Division

BITS: A Note From the President of our Technology Policy Division

Successful business and technology programs are dynamic, fast paced and the foundation for enabling businesses to serve their customers every day.  That’s truer today than ever. BITS, the technology policy division of the new Bank Policy Institute (BPI), has been at the intersection of business, technology, innovation and cybersecurity for over 22 years, sharing information across the financial industry, collaborating with government and regulatory partners, and acting as a compelling voice in Washington on operational, regulatory and policy issues.

Continuing our history, we are pleased to support large, mid-size, regional, trust and multinational banks that are part of BPI’s membership, and equally pleased to support insurance companies, asset managers, payments and card companies, third party service providers and investment firms who have been and remain a critical part of the industry and BITS’ membership.  BITS’ mission remains the same – to strengthen the financial industry through information sharing and a coordinated approach to both the opportunities and challenges brought about by today’s dynamic technology and security environment.

We are often asked, “What does BITS stand for?” or “What do you do?”   Much of our work is done behind the scenes, in a secure and confidential spirit.  We’re proud to offer programs, expertise and insight across a range of technology areas:

  • Business: we provide forums for board directors, CEOs, CIOs, CISOs and other executives to have in-depth, informed and insightful discussions on how to best deliver technology that is secure and risk assessed. We educate, provide context and identify effective practices to help members better understand the strategic impact of modern IT delivery practices, the accelerating need for change balanced with the importance of cybersecurity protection and risk management, and the investments in modern platforms and innovation needed to drive growth.
  • Innovation: we bring together financial and technology CEOs at our FinTech Ideas Festival, providing a forum for the financial industry’s foremost leaders and technology innovators to discuss how technology is shifting how people access financial services.  Rapid advances in mobile banking, the use of blockchain, biometrics and geolocation, identity management, and the introduction of machines that learn, will shape the landscape for future generations. These meetings, and a series of FinTech Policy Summits, stimulate strategic thinking and generate ideas that financial firms put to use –cultivating the workplace skills of the future or targeting investments in research and development.
  • Technology:  we identify and discuss in depth “current events”, hosting our member firms’ senior leaders in cybersecurity, fraud reduction and technology for discussions on best practices for protecting financial platforms and customers. We pair these experts with legal, policy, consulting and regulatory practitioners to discuss topics such as how data governance practices are designed and operationalized and how privacy policy is developed; best practices for securely reducing fraud; and leading the financial industry in a global effort to streamline cybersecurity regulation so that risks are accurately assessed and firms can apply resources to the most critical risk tasks.  These productive conversations are helping shape operating and regulatory policies.
  • Security: we drive cybersecurity technical standards – contributing to the development of new and revised encryption standards – and link our members and technology firms to advise and partner on innovations in cybersecurity automation or the effective and secure use of cloud computing technologies.  For example, in light of accelerating projections that over 50% of global enterprises in 2018 will rely on public cloud technologies to implement digital transformation and drive customer experience, our work helping firms use cloud access security brokers will serve as an important foundational layer to securely take advantage of cloud technologies.

We identify industry-changing technologies and partner with businesses such as fTLD Registry Services, a secure domain service for banks and insurance firms (.BANK and .INSURANCE), and  Sheltered Harbor, an initiative launched by the financial services industry to establish standards for secure data vaulting and rapid recovery of customer balances and assets. We also play a lead role setting priorities and partnering with government (e.g. U.S. Treasury, Department of Homeland Security) to protect critical financial infrastructure through the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

BITS’s history of identifying, developing and executing solutions to serve the financial industry’s needs began decades ago with the launch of Shared Assessments and has continued through our support for legislative solutions (e.g., the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 and the identity fraud protection provisions of this year’s Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act); technical standards for better encryption; a solution to the proliferation of overlapping cybersecurity regulations (e.g., the Sector Profile); and a first-of-its kind cyber board governance program. These endeavors, combined with our innovation work, will help seize the FinTech opportunity, while ensuring the financial industry maintains its high standards for security and privacy, thereby maintaining customer trust.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of BITS, The Bank Policy Institute, or their memberships, and are not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice of any kind.