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Network transformation in finance for a hybrid working age

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Before the pandemic, the financial sector was well known for its slow adoption of technology, primarily due to legacy concerns about data security online and in the cloud. But the pandemic and its accelerating effect on remote and flexible working has forced that to change, with remote access to data now essential to day-to-day operations. In addition, the recent announcement of new laws to be introduced to protect flexible working and other laws to compensate for the limited use of cloud providers means the discussion of network security has never been more crucial, especially for the financial services industry. Together, this gave way to a renewed focus on network transformation.

Digital transformation has spurred a growing demand for “next generation networks”, which are most often built on the cloud. The digital transformation of network infrastructure is therefore crucial to sustaining critical business growth. As this long overdue innovation in the financial services (FS) industry has started to gain momentum, discussions on regulation and legislation have become a priority. A welcome development for such an expensive and data-sensitive industry.

Turn to network security

The introduction of new laws that will protect the rights of employees to request flexible work from their first day in a new job, is imminent. This means that the FS industry, which relies heavily on third-party cloud services to deliver applications and infrastructure to remote workers, is firmly focused on network security. This attention was further reinforced by recent comments from the Bank of England, which expressed his concern that the industry’s reliance on a small set of third-party cloud services increases risk and reduces resiliency.

Combined with the growing demand for cloud-based ‘next generation networks’, which help deliver all kinds of digital information and services over a core network, the case for network transformation is now clear. The digital transformation of the network infrastructure to become more open, transparent and optimized is now seen as crucial to sustaining critical business growth.

However, the rapid decentralization of the workforce has created the perfect environment for bad actors, leading many companies to rapidly increase their investments in security to secure their corporate networks. The challenge now is to adapt their security policies to meet a future of distributed work.

Security and reliability: the key to keeping hackers at bay

Thanks to the efforts of attackers, who continued to innovate and launch attacks through various means, the threat landscape for FS companies continued to evolve at breakneck speed. In recent times, we’ve seen an increase in malware and mobile botnet attacks, as well as more sophisticated versions of traditional attack avenues, such as phishing, ransomware, and insider threats.

According to figures from BAE Systems, this helps explain why nearly three quarters (74%) of financial institutions saw an increase in malicious activity in the first year of the COVID crisis. The same study also found that 86% believed the massive shift to remote working made their organizations less secure.

Suppose financial firms are successful in this hyper-competitive digital age, but more importantly, stay compliant with new regulations about to be enforced. In this case, they must invest in a security framework that offers security and reliability while keeping attackers at bay. These ingredients are essential not only for securing data and systems, but also because they ensure the highest possible availability of services and systems to customers, which helps to build trust in a brand and increase loyalty. .

Head to the cloud with a simplified infrastructure

The cloud is quickly becoming the most critical technology tool for ensuring security, as traditional businesses migrate their data and applications en masse at private and public cloud environments to better compete with today’s digital native fintech challengers. This is a trend that will only continue, too, with banking regulators and consulting firms. encourage banks to use cloud services more widely. But with upcoming regulations coming into effect, the FS industry will need to make sure it follows the rules and make secure networks its number one priority.

Secure access service edge, or SASE, is an additional layer of security that many financial services companies should consider for their cloud infrastructure. SASE brings together security and networking, delivered through a cloud-based service model. This is vital as it provides secure access to applications and data, such as remote users increasingly need access to mission-critical cloud-based applications from anywhere in the world, typically through a SaaS model.

While the technology is not necessarily new, it is used more and more, especially in the age of remote working. It combines high performance connectivity with a robust, centralized cybersecurity posture, providing control and visibility of the entire cloud infrastructure.

SASE for peace of mind in the hybrid age

SASE is so powerful because it integrates the key features of several security services through a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), including DNS security and firewall policies. It integrates all of this with Zero Trust network security principles to create a single service that is delivered across all aspects of an organization’s cloud infrastructure.

This eliminates the need for IT teams to manage multiple solutions across multiple regions while ensuring effective protection against malware, phishing, data loss, and malicious insiders, with full control over how applications are accessed. and used on a daily basis. This means that SASE not only saves security, but also improves threat detection and data protection capabilities. These are vital aspects for financial institutions wishing to secure their networks in a consolidated and simplified way. Organizations can also leverage more of their IT resources for more effective and efficient use of their data and the introduction of IT policies that underpin distributed work.

Best-in-class security infrastructure for regulators and customers

For FS organizations, providing fast, reliable and secure digital service alone to customers is not enough. With hybrid work now well established and staff on the move, a new approach to network connectivity and security is vital.

Implementing the right security infrastructure will allow customers and employees to access the full range of applications and services available, regardless of their location – so that both can achieve their goal of making security. bank a native end-to-end digital experience. It will also protect financial institutions from cybercriminals and the stern eye of regulators.

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About the Author: Luke Armstrong, Business Consultant at Exponential-e, explores how the industry can implement a secure infrastructure.