Mitigating Cybersecurity Threats for Financial Services Institutions in Nigeria with Azure Sentinel
In the chronicles of cybersecurity valor, a saga unfolded, a tale of Wragby, Microsoft Sentinel and its steadfast companions. Together, we wove a fabric of resilience, safeguarding First Bank of Nigeria against digital marauders. Cyber threats continue to pose as a thorn to the Nigerian banking industry, necessitating ongoing efforts to enhance security and combat fraudulent activities. The Nigerian banking sector is particularly vulnerable to cyber threats due to the widespread use of online and mobile banking services, the most common threats include phishing attacks, malware infections, social engineering attacks, and ransomware attacks. According to a report by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), the Nigerian banking sector lost over 15 billion Naira (approximately 39 million US dollars) to cybercrime in 2020. This includes losses from unauthorized access, fraudulent activities, and other cyber-attacks. The impact of these breaches can be far-reaching and long-lasting for the affected banks, from customers switching to other banks to penalties from regulators, loss of sensitive customer information, financial losses, and reputational damage, the list is endless. Demonstrating its strong financial performance with a vast network of over 800 branches across Nigeria, First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) remains one of the leading financial institutions in Nigeria. For over 128 years, the bank has provided easy access to financial services with a wide range of banking services including corporate and retail banking, investment banking, and wealth management. As of 2022, First Bank of Nigeria served a customer base of over 36 million people, making it one of the largest banks in the country. In 2023, First Bank of Nigeria recorded gross earnings of ₦245.7 billion, which represents a 44.2% growth compared to the corresponding period in 2022.

The Need
However, despite being a leading financial institution in Nigeria, FBN was not immune to these evolving threats that affects other financial services organizations and must continuously implement robust measures to safeguard against cyber-attacks. It was against this backdrop, the need to protect her business assets and remain compliant with regulatory requirements that First Bank of Nigeria sought to address one of the elements critical to the sustainability of her Cybersecurity Operation Framework. A Security Operations Center (SOC) is responsible for monitoring and analyzing an organization's security posture, detecting cybersecurity threats and incidents, and responding appropriately to minimize their impact. First Bank of Nigeria desired to enhance the scale at with their SOC can detect and hunt threats and consequently improve the speed of response. First Bank was at this crossroad when Wragby came on the scene to be of help. Wragby as a trusted partner, stands as a sentinel fortifying & shielding organizations from the dark forces of cyber breaches and vulnerabilities. From zero-day exploits to AI-driven attacks, we have remained the architects of secure cloud, the whisperers of threat intelligence, and the defenders of data privacy.

The Better Together Story
As an MSSP (Microsoft Security Solutions Provider) Wragby offers a range of security services and products that help businesses protect their sensitive data, prevent cyber-attacks, and ensure regulatory compliance. We(Wragby) take advantage of the complete Microsoft 365 Security, Identity and Azure Security stack to drive a full Zero trust approach based on the 6 pillars (Identities, Devices & Endpoints, Data, Apps, Infrastructure and Networking). We engaged the First Bank team through series of workshops and conversations to present the art of the possible and deepen our understanding of the Banks cybersecurity requirements. The necessary Assessments and analysis were then conducted, and Microsoft Sentinel emerged in the clear lead as a robust SIEM Solution, a core building block for managing the SOC. The better together story of Microsoft Sentinel with other Microsoft Security products such as Azure Security Center, Microsoft Defender (for Endpoint, Identity, Cloud Apps, Vulnerability Management) was quite compelling. The combined strength of Microsoft Sentinel, flanked by Azure Security Center and the formidable Microsoft Defender suite, transcended individual prowess. The very essence of their alliance was cost-effectiveness which became an enchantment that beckoned First Bank. First Bank discerned this cost effectiveness alchemy as magic “an entire security arsenal wielded with fiscal wisdom”. Sentinel’s cloud-native architecture harmonized with Defender’s robust capabilities. The result? A symphony of protection, orchestrated without breaking the coffers. But the tale deepened, from SIEM to SOAR. With First Bank yearning for more than a traditional SIEM-only SOC, we showed FBN Sentinel’s SOAR capabilities—the maestro orchestrating detection and response. With this, the burden of human intervention, now danced with automation. Cyber threats met swift, automated countermeasures, leaving minimal room for error. Cloud-Scale Ascent- The cloud whispered promises of scalability and cost-effectiveness, First Bank listened, and these became the motivation for adopting Microsoft Sentinel. With Azure Firewall and Azure Security Center joining the ensemble, Sentinel soared, unshackled by any cyber constraints. A Farewell to ArcSight- Up and until when we introduced Microsoft Sentinel to FBN, ArcSight was the defacto SIEM solution, but when Microsoft Sentinel graced the stage, ArcSight bowed gracefully. First Bank of Nigeria’s adoption of Microsoft Sentinel wasn’t mere choice; it was destiny! Wragby Business Solutions & Technologies Limited is a Managed Security Solutions Provider (MSSP), we offer a range of Consulting, Professional and Managed Services to help our customers secure their IT infrastructure and protect their data from cybersecurity threats and attacks. Our Managed SOC Offering is published in Azure Marketplace and at Co-Sell ready state, this provides us the required visibility to Microsoft Field Sellers. Our approach to scale is to leverage our most effective channels, both traditional and Digital to create awareness and drive demand in alignment with our go to market Strategy. We have several strategic partnerships across Africa in markets that are growing and want robust Cybersecurity interventions.

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