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BAP partners with Cisco to strengthen cybersecurity skills in PH’s banking sector

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) and Cisco, a worldwide leader in technology, have partnered to provide cybersecurity training to the commercial banking sector through Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration Program in the Philippines, UGNAYAN 2030. Banking professionals from across 13 of the leading banks in the country completed courses under the training program developed by Cisco Networking Academy, one of the world’s longest running IT skills-to-job program.

The shift to digital for the banking sector and many others has rapidly expanded the threat landscape, with 8 in 10 (85%)[1] of security leaders in the Philippines believing cybersecurity incidents are likely to disrupt their businesses over the next year. Data from the Philippines Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) has shown cybercrimes increasing by 152% and online scams tripling from 2022 to 2023. This has led to the growing importance of cybersecurity education, awareness, and training for banking professionals.

“As cyber threats continue to escalate, so does the need for advancing and expanding our cybersecurity workforce,” said Zaza Soriano-Nicart, Managing Director, Cisco Philippines. “At Cisco, we recognize the urgency of this demand and remain committed to empowering those in the financial services sector with the knowledge and skills to securely navigate the digital landscape and improve cybersecurity resilience. We are honored to collaborate with BAP on this vital initiative and continue to provide banking professionals with the necessary skills of tomorrow.”

Tackling the Growing Implications of Cyberattacks

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The “Cisco-BAP Cybersecurity Skills Training Program for the Next Generation Banker” is a dedicated initiative that institutionalizes cybersecurity training for banking professionals. Delivered in partnership with Mapua University through a mix of self-paced, in-person and virtual classes on Webex, the program is designed to equip participants with a comprehensive understanding of security standards and best practices to secure their organizations. It also seeks to expand the pool of cybersecurity professionals to fill vacancies in member banks and bolster the industry.

Professionals from member banks participated in one of two pathways. Banking professionals with management responsibilities, regardless of role or department, underwent the Beginners Program, which includes courses on Introduction to Cybersecurity and Cybersecurity Essentials. Managers with technical roles associated with technology or cybersecurity enlisted in the Specialized Program, which includes courses on Network Security, CyberOps Associate and Cloud Security, and were encouraged to take the courses in the Beginners Program as a refresher.

“The importance of banks and financial institutions protecting consumer data and privacy is paramount in today’s digital era. With the evolving cyber threat landscape, banking professionals must be equipped with the knowledge and skillsets to prevent cybersecurity breaches and respond swiftly to threats. This partnership with Cisco enables us to provide them with strong cybersecurity skills, to not only safeguard institutions in the Philippines but also maintain the trust and confidence of customers,” said Benjamin P. Castillo, Managing Director, BAP.

In a graduate recognition ceremony, participants from the 13 member banks received certifications for their completion of the first batch of the “Specialized Program.” Professionals from the Philippine Veterans Bank, Bank of Commerce, Security Bank Philippines, Robinsons Bank and UnionBank of the Philippines were awarded special recognition for receiving the highest marks on the courses in the training program. UnionBank of the Philippines was also recognized as the “Best Performing Bank,” for the highest number of professionals completing the courses with stellar results.   The Cisco-BAP Cybersecurity Skills Training Program for the Next Generation Banker, powered by UGNAYAN 2030, stands as a testament to this collaboration’s commitment to guiding the financial sector towards digital inclusion and transformation. Recruitment of the second batch of students has started, with classes starting in April 2024.


[1] Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index, March 2023

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