Companies Want Digital Flexibility but Fort Knox Security, Hazeltree CFO Says

In the fast-paced world of digital finance, security is a pressing concern.

With a deep understanding of the risks at hand, organizations and individuals alike are demanding greater assurance that their funds are safe and secure — especially from the most modern attacks and attackers. 

“Security is paramount to anything that we have, making sure that our system is secure, that we’ve got our own testing done, pen [penetration] testing, things like that on the back end of the system,” Kevin Held, CFO at Hazeltree, tells PYMNTS as part of the new executive series, “The One Thing.”

“Being comfortable that the system is really buttoned down is of utmost importance,” he adds. 

You could even say it’s the one thing.  

Recent events in the banking industry, including the failures of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic Bank, have only heightened the need for robust security measures as organizations look to diversify their banking relationships while at the same time opening themselves up to more potential attack vectors.

Organizations are no longer satisfied with connecting to just one bank; they want the option to connect to multiple institutions through a single portal.

And they want that single portal to be their equivalent of Fort Knox.

“Thinking about myself, what are the most important things for me using a bank and using a payment platform? It’s going to be security and who I can connect with,” Held says. “I’m thinking about if I am going through the process of being able to release a payment, who sees it? How does it go from one party to the next? Is there multifactor authentication involved?”

Seeking Functionality and Optionality

In a world where cyberthreats loom large, the importance of security cannot be overstated, particularly as insiders have repeatedly told PYMNTS that technologies like generative artificial intelligence (AI) could supercharge the capabilities of bad actors by providing turnkey and scalable cybertools for nefarious purposes.

“We have a really strict focus on the security side of the equation,” Held says. “Considering [Hazeltree is] a treasury and payments platform.”

And as organizations become more educated around the pitfalls of today’s technologies, questions surrounding security and functionality have taken center stage, he adds.

That’s because the advent of deepfake technology, itself powered by generative AI, has given rise to more sophisticated and damaging fraud schemes. 

Many businesses lack access to the digital tools needed to identify fraud vulnerabilities and mitigate their risks, which is a dangerous position to be in given that by using AI to create computer-generated voices that are virtually indistinguishable from real ones, scammers can execute social engineering scams with alarming success rates, exploiting people’s trust and emotions.

PYMNTS research in the “B2B Payments Fraud Tracker” found that 71% of businesses say they need additional digital fraud solutions.

Held says that no matter what transformations his firm’s product undergoes, “the [importance of] cybersecurity is always there. … We are extremely focused on security itself, although from the client side there has become a more heightened awareness on it.”

Avoiding Single Points of Failure

As organizations identify and protect their areas of vulnerability, more and more firms are looking to diversify their banking relationships as well in order to avoid a single point of failure with their treasury. 

Clients are no longer satisfied with connecting to just one bank; they want the option to connect to multiple institutions through a single portal.

Hazeltree’s platform addresses these concerns by connecting to multiple banks, offering enhanced security measures, and providing clients with a comprehensive suite of financial management tools.

“Client questions went from, ‘Can I use you for X Bank?’ to ‘Can I use you for multiple banks?’ And, ‘If I’m using you for multiple banks, do I need multiple portals?’” Held says. “Our platform provides us the ability to allow the customers to use our one portal to access multiple institutions.” 

As for what the Hazeltree CFO thinks are the questions organizations will be asking in the future?

He says it all boils down to cash flow projections and forecasting. “I think we will continue to see more demand for that type of functionality.”