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SD-WAN Deployments in Finance


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There has been a widespread move towards SD-WAN in the financial sector. An industry that embraced features such as online banking and mobile apps, is continuing the tech forward mindset by using technology to improve network performance, communications and speed. IoT and mobile devices are just a few applications that have increased customer expectations and to continue to meet these, financial institutions must build their online engagement model. As more are added to the network, performance can suffer and onsite technicians distributed sites are few and far between. Providing improved security, reliability and performance, SD-WAN ensures a more streamlined solution with less need for a technician onsite. Additional benefits of SD-WAN for financial institutions include:

Bandwidth Optimization

More than 36% of organizations have chosen to move to SD-WAN because of the optimization of bandwidth.1 Providing the ability to utilize a variety of connectivity options, most jump at the chance to eliminate expensive MPLS circuits, it continually searches for the best path as it carries packets across the network. This is an immediate benefit, as other most other solutions have little capability to actually prioritize the data being carried.

This allows financial organizations to use lower priced bandwidth products, without sacrificing quality or consistency. It also provides consistent communications – with the amount of transactions being processed in finance this is a necessity. Now these organizations like credit unions and banks, with distributed locations, can also switch to lower data packages allowing them to reduce costs and improve communications.

WAN Integration

Finance has a variety of business distribution models – each with challenging network needs. Requiring an always-on network, any small disruptions can quickly escalate. In fact, 28% of organizations indicate that the ability to use existing architecture in an aging network is a major concern. SD-WAN provides organizations with greater control over solution used across each network.

Automation at Distributed Sites

Financial institutions have distributed locations and without the proper solution, functioning as a cohesive unit can be a challenge and if not properly managed, it can become a source of operational and financial inefficiency. This makes SD-WAN a perfect fit for these distributed organizations. More than 28% of organizations state a need for improved automation and self provisioning for their network.2 This would allow financial institutions to manage and view the WAN as one entity, instead of treating each endpoint as a standalone resource.

SD-WAN has a variety of benefits, but it does have points of failure. To learn about adding Smart Out-of-Band to your next deployment for always-on access, see our storygraphic.

1 https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS44203118

2 https://virtualizationreview.com/articles/2018/10/25/sd–wan-survey.aspx

Top 5 Security Challenges for Financial Institutions

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), oversees five of the largest banking industry regulators, enabling this group to have an in-depth understanding of trends and threats. The FFIEC has recently stated that financial institutions have become increasingly dependent on information technology and telecommunications to deliver services.1 This means that a degradation or disruption to a system or information can impact core processes and undermine confidence in the financial sector. As threats and regulations continually change, to better ensure network resilience, financial institutions must understand the top security challenges.

1. Compliance

Organizations are dealing with a large number of compliance mandates and security regulations – Basel II and the Gramm- Leach-Bliley Act are two that are finance specific. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, also known as the US Financial Modernization Act, ensures that any type of organization that offers financial products or services must explain their information sharing process to customers, including how collected data is safeguarded. Basel II are regulations that aim to reduce the risk of internal and external fraud from unauthorized activity by setting best practices.

There are many reasons why a financial institution should comply with these regulations. Meeting any of these regulations ensures compliance, which creates a framework to help secure company systems and data, and it also secures the business. Demonstrating compliance can be costly but the end result is a more secure organization. This will reassure existing customers that their personal information is safeguarded, improve the organization’s reputation and  help attract new customers. Penalties will occur from non-compliance. Those found to be non-compliant depend on the jurisdiction in which the offense occurs and penalties can vary depending on the failure, and can include fines and even imprisonment.

2. Security

Compliant doesn’t necessarily mean secure – and not all financial organizations identify or classify data based on sensitivity or criticality which can increase the chance of network vulnerabilities. CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty said, cybercrime is the largest threat to every organization in the world.2 Although there are a variety of network security threats, ransomware is the largest and costs associated with it are predicted to reach $11.5 billion in 2019.3 Many times, deploying multivendor solutions without an effective management approach can cause data to be lost or stolen and makes it difficult to support regulatory requirements.

3. Third Party Risk

Many financial institutions participate in partnerships and outsource services to reduce costs. Doing so, allows these third party entities to access data and internal systems which increases the risk of vulnerabilities and can cause an outage – with one minute of downtime costing $5,500 this is something most organizations don’t want to happen.4 Just a few years ago one of the largest retailers in the world, Target, was attacked when hackers gained access to their network through a third party heating and ventilation company who was hired to monitor their systems.5 Using the HVAC organization’s credentials to install malware on POS devices, credit card information was stolen effecting thousands of customers. How these parties are managed can either greatly decrease or increase the chance of an outage. Most financial organizations centrally manage third parties which includes ongoing monitoring and creating protocols to reduce these risks.

4. Human Error

A 2016 IBM survey found that more than 60% of cyber attacks came from inside financial institutions and because of their large assets, finance was one of the top three industries targeted.6 Three quarters of attacks were by employees and done intentionally, the other remaining quarter of these attacks occurred by human error which could be as simple as opening a suspicious email.

5. Emerging Threats

Just last year, one of the largest Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)  attacks ever in IoT occurred. Attacks like these can have a large impact on a financial institution, many times customers aren’t able to access accounts, websites or funds until the attack’s complete. To ensure financial institutions can continue to operate without disruption from an attack, regulations are constantly being updated, like the NIST Cybersecurity framework – a set of standards that by 2020, over 5o% of US organizations will use.7 This requires written policies and procedures to protect consumer information from cyber attacks.

Financial institutions are constantly facing a variety of customer demands, emerging threats and updated regulations. Ensure resilience for your financial network, visit our finance page to learn more.

1 https://ithandbook.ffiec.gov/it-booklets/business-continuity-planning/appendix-j-strengthening-the-resilience-of-outsourced-technology-services.aspx
2 https://www.csoonline.com/article/3210912/is-cybercrime-the-greatest-threat-to-every-company-in-the-world.html
3 https://www.csoonline.com/article/3237674/ransomware-damage-costs-predicted-to-hit-115b-by-2019.html

4 https://blogs.gartner.com/andrew-lerner/2014/07/16/the-cost-of-downtime/

5 https://bgr.com/2014/03/13/target-data-hack-how-it-happened/
6 https://newsroom.ibm.com/2018-03-14-IBM-Study-Responding-to-Cybersecurity-Incidents-Still-a-Major-Challenge-for-Businesses
7 https://a-lign.com/a-quick-nist-cybersecurity-framework-summary

Finance

Ensuring Uptime in Finance

Finance is one of the most regulated industries in the world. Constantly facing newly emerging threats, compliance requirements, and customer demands, a network disruption can dismantle credibility and render systems useless.

To meet these demands, financial institutions are integrating more IoT at branch locations, increasing the usage of mobile apps and creating more distributed sites – all requiring additional network capabilities. As these organizations adjust their operations to accommodate these needs, a new set of network requirements must be met, such as faster bandwidth, increased security and the ability to scale to ensure business continuity.

Opengear solutions are deployed by some of the largest financial institutions in the world. Ensuring always-on network resilience, they ensure that infrastructure can be managed remotely and are scalable.

Watch our video to learn how ATMs, trading platforms and other financial systems continue to run during a network disruption.

To learn more about the security risks of disruptions and how to ensure network resilience, download our whitepaper today!

Creating Compliant and Secure Networks

The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, which can result in brand damage, lost customers and thousands of dollars in fines. In finance, cyberattacks, such as malware, mobile apps, and unencrypted data, are one of the largest threats to network security. In an effort to decrease disruptions and safeguard customer information, a variety of regulatory requirements have been created.

Opengear solutions provide enterprise-grade security for edge and core networks. Advanced security and encryption features that are built-in to each device ensure that routers, phones, and ATMs are updated with the latest compliance standards. Lighthouse Centralized Management gives organizations full visibility into their network to detect faults before they become failures.

To better understand threats directly facing financial institutions and how to extend your reach during outages, view our infographic.

Deploying SD-WAN in Financial Networks

Financial organizations understand the important role proximity plays when improving customer experiences. To broaden their reach, many are expanding their branch locations and using more kiosks. Deploying SD-WAN establishes secure VPN connections across any service and provides the necessary bandwidth for cloud tools and services, becoming more used within the industry.

However, advanced SD-WAN routers create single points of failure and a network disruption can cause financial institutions many issues. Failover to Cellular™ provides internet connectivity for remote LANs and equipment using 4G LTE in the event of a disruption. Smart Out-of-Band provides an alternate secure pathway so the network continues to operate when other circuits are unavailable.

Watch this video to learn why one of the leading banks in the United States chose to add Opengear to their SD-WAN deployment.

The world’s leading banks choose Opengear to support their SD-WAN deployments, learn how an out-of-band management network provides the guaranteed access and high reliability to make SD-WAN a low-risk option.

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