SD-WAN Helping Financial Services Achieve Greater Digital Agility, Cybersecurity

October 12, 2021
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The shift to a digital business environment in financial services began well before the pandemic pushed it and other sectors to more rapidly embrace digital transformation. As customers have become increasingly digitally savvy, they demand that financial services firms be more responsive to their needs. Those organizations that don’t make that change risk losing their customers to those that adopted an agile, customer-centric approach to business.

The financial services sector also is subject to more rigorous regulatory requirements than some other industries. Protection of data is critical, as financial services firms are squarely in the crosshairs of hackers. Even in the best of times, financial organizations were under constant threat of a cyberattack. During the pandemic, that threat multiplied exponentially.

According to research from VMware Carbon Black, the first half of 2020 saw a 238% spike in attacks on financial institutions. Additionally, research from Keeper Security found that 70% of financial services organizations experienced a cyberattack in 2020. According to the IBM 2020 Cost of a Data Breach study, the average total cost of a data breach in the financial services sector in 2020 was $5.85 million. It is clear financial services organizations need to ensure a high level of data security.

However, security and agility traditionally haven’t been mutually achievable—oftentimes, one was sacrificed for the other. That won’t work in today’s digital environment, where customer experience is the top priority.

Customers today want a user experience that is seamless across devices and environments. These days, it’s not unusual for a customer to access a bank’s mobile app to check their account balance, deposit a check or chat with a representative. Customers want to be able to transfer money to anyone, anywhere; get an answer instantly regarding their loan application; and have access to their deposits right away, with no hold on their funds. They want to initiate a transaction online and have the option to finish it in the branch via a rep (either in-person or via video) who can also let the customer know about offerings that are beneficial them. And they want all these things with minimal friction or delay.

Enabling these customer-centric services requires a level of agility not seen traditionally in financial services organizations. Organizations must also ensure their data is protected and compliant. SD-WAN can help financial services organizations achieve network agility and security. Its benefits are myriad and far-reaching, able to accommodate the services that enable financial services organizations to provide customers with the highest-quality experience from anywhere, on any device. Its design provides for fast, efficient movement of data on the network while ensuring security and data integrity.

An SD-WAN overlays traditional or hybrid WAN infrastructures and locates the software or hardware nodes at each location and in the cloud. Then, based on policies defined by the operator, SD-WAN steers the traffic along the best path to ensure data moves along the fastest route.

The application-aware nature of SD-WAN enables IT administrators to determine the most intelligent path for their applications and push, manage and update policies for optimal application and network performance across locations. And because a SD-WAN is centrally managed, all provisioning and changes to the network and applications are done from one location – reducing the time and resources necessary to manage the network. Additionally, all security policies can be managed centrally, enabling IT administrators to implement security updates to all devices and users on the entire network quickly and easily, to help enable compliance.

With a software-defined infrastructure, it also can be easier to collect network usage information, which could help organizations better detect anomalous behavior that could point to a security breach or attack.

When combined with managed security services and solutions such as next-generation firewalls and secure web gateways, SD-WAN can provide financial services organizations with an infrastructure that offers security as well as the performance necessary for providing high-quality customer experiences.

Comcast Business offers a unique set of secure network solutions to help power financial services organizations. Its portfolio of security offerings includes DDoS mitigation, managed firewall and unified threat management, all designed to complement its SD-WAN technology.

Recognizing they remain a potential target for cyberattacks, financial services firms must remain vigilant against security threats. At the same time, they must provide their customers with an experience that is agile and responsive.

Secure and agile technology is a must for a financial service organization

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