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Why cloud might not be a simple solution for your Financial Services business

As businesses scrambled to enable more flexible and remote working environments, embracing digital capabilities has become essential for all in 2020. The corporate world has been working around the clock to keep business functioning as usual amid the crisis and this was undeniably more difficult for some. In the Financial Services (FS) industry, for example, staff often rely on high bandwidth, access to large files, and specialist software to do their job.

One of the ways that the sector has coped with this is by moving part of their operations to the cloud, which offers the opportunity to become more innovative and agile, as well as cutting costs and boosting productivity. However, many have made the move only to find themselves stuck with an unnecessarily complex stack of different solutions that they’re struggling to integrate. Combine that with the ever-growing threat landscape due to expansion of remote working, and it’s clear that this poses some serious security issues.

So, as the dust begins to settle on the new normal and businesses are given the opportunity to refine their approach, how can FS institutions ensure that all transactions – and any associated data – are safe and simple?

 

The challenge of change

For all the agility that the cloud provides, it’s not necessarily the answer to every business’ problems. The cloud is generally safe and secure, but if you fail to maintain a proactive approach to security then problems can arise – particularly if you keep adding solutions to your stack, which broadens the attack surface and make your institution more vulnerable to malicious threats. An overflowing stack can also compromise real-time performance. Of course, safety is paramount, but there won’t be any operations to protect if your new safety protocol causes too much lag or unnecessary friction.

This is a particular concern for organisations that conduct electronic trading, which requires high levels of security between trading platforms and the rest of the business, or its customers. Delaying or distorting the information relayed in these communications has the capacity to make the entire system unusable, with the potential for some seriously expensive consequences.

Businesses are working around these consequences of a suboptimal cloud strategy in a number of ways. Many opt for costly advisory firms to figure out how best to integrate their different forms of tech in order to transform their business. This is understandable – after all, it’s a daunting task, especially for those who don’t have any relevant in-house expertise to lean on. It makes sense to seek help when dealing with something so complex, but too many cooks can often spoil the broth. Working with fewer solutions and organisations could make the process simpler – but how do you decide which one is the right one?

 

Seeking a solution

The first aspect to consider is where your organisation is on its journey. Are you drowning in data that you don’t have the time or budget to analyse and process, or have you just moved to the cloud and finding that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be? Naturally any cloud provider or solution you opt for will need to suit your needs at the current time, but it’s worth thinking about the future too – is your provider flexible enough to accommodate changes that may occur?

Alongside this, it’s important to look for a solution with integrated low-latency controls to ensure operational efficiency isn’t compromised, while also reducing the number of points of vulnerability exposed to would-be attackers. This will make it easier to monitor and coordinate by providing analytics and reporting all in one place, thereby reducing the responsibility load on IT staff. Regulatory compliance is also non-negotiable, and your provider should be able to assist you in educating your staff on best practice for using your new solution, minimising the risk of human error leading to a data breach or similar.

But, more so than anything else, any chief information security officer worth their salt knows the importance of trust. The relationship between you and your technology providers is crucial. You can engage as many cloud providers, advisory firms and security solutions as you want, but if they don’t understand the unique inner workings of your company, the product of your partnership is unlikely to deliver the results you need. Above all else, you should feel confident that your partner’s solutions and advice accelerate agility and make your security architecture easier to manage, rather than complicating matters.

Ultimately, the right integrated solution will be able to protect your entire network without expanding personnel requirements or causing you to sacrifice precious efficiency in an industry where slowing down isn’t an option – and you should be able to trust that your partner will deliver a system that suits your organisation’s needs, to your organisation’s specifications. From multiple cloud environments to securing your data centre, the perfect solution is out there – you just have to find it. With the right proactive attitude, you’re already halfway there.

 

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Scott Cutler

Scott Cutler

Director,

Fortinet

Member since

09 Aug 2018

Location

London

Blog posts

10

This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Information Security

The risks from Cyber cime - Hacking - Loss of Data Privacy - Identity Theft and other topical threats - can be greatly reduced by implementation of robust IT Security controls ...


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