As I’m sure you’re well aware, SWIFT’s new Customer Security Programme (CSP) calls for 27 mandatory and advisory controls designed to establish a “security baseline” for the SWIFT Community.

It’s a smart move by SWIFT and it comes at a much needed time. There has been a 2,370% increase in identified exposed losses as a result of business email compromise (BEC), and a full 38% of organizations now admit that it’s difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate payment and a fraudulent one. Something certainly had to be done and the CSP fits that bill.

But what if you could give your organization an unfair advantage – an extra level of competitiveness – by going beyond what’s called for in the CSP?

If you aren’t sure what security has to do with your company’s ability to compete, let me explain.

73% of finance professionals report that their organizations experienced attempted or actual payment fraud in 2015. That’s a huge increase compared to previous years and it’s a statistic that’s getting exponentially worse by the day.

Because of this rise in cybersecurity incidents, it would be easy to make the argument that people are now inured to them; tuned out to the never-ceasing barrage of breaches reported in their newsfeed. From a day-to-day focus perspective, that may very well be the case. After all, there are only so many cyber security catastrophe headlines you can read before you stop paying attention. But what if the name of your business showed up in the news as the result of a breach? Your customers would surely notice then – and they would take their business elsewhere.

If your organization hasn’t been hit by a breach yet, congratulations. But you’re sitting on a virtual powder keg waiting to explode out from under you — one that’s likely to take a devastating number of your customers with it.

But what if we turn the situation around?

If customers are highly likely to leave you if they think you’re a security risk — wouldn’t they be pounding on your door if they believed you could provide them with far better security than the competition?

That’s the opportunity that’s hiding in this SWIFT CSP scenario.

To start, the CSP is largely mandatory. You have to make security a main focus of your business for the coming months anyway, so why not turn it into a competitive advantage?

It’s as simple as being alerted to security issues in real-time and stopping fraudulent payments before they happen. If you could do that, you’d look like nothing short of a super hero in the minds of your customers – and all for doing something that really just makes good business sense to begin with.

This isn’t a wild goose chase or a fairy tale. Real-time monitoring solutions that can identify threats and stop them before they cause long-term damage actually exist and they’re available now, whether you go it alone or use a service bureau. Find one and implement it as soon as possible. It’s the surest way to avoid financial losses and reputational damage. It also gives you the power to assure your customers that you can protect their payments, a move that will set you apart from the rest of the entire industry. If that isn’t one of the most important things you could do for your business is the coming months, then I don’t know what is.

Ultimately, this all comes down to stopping fraud before it happens, securing each and every payment that passes through your hands. That has to be your ultimate goal. Achieve that and you can seize a competitive advantage your peers don’t even realize is available to them.

Posted by James Richardson

James Richardson has 15+ years’ experience in payments, working with FIs and Corporates to secure critical payments and reduce fraud risk. James is Head of Market Development, Risk & Fraud, for Bottomline Technologies.