Computer Networks for the Financial Industry
Financial Services are experiencing several trends that impact IT, both from within the business organization and from external sources. These trends impact both the regional bank organizations and the larger investment firms.
In the regional space, competition to gain and retain customers drives investment in mobile banking, data protection, and remote services, while cutting fees and applying new regulations that lessen bank income. Acquisitions and mergers keep IT organizations busy through data consolidation and integration. In the near future, some banking organizations are looking to replace human tellers with kiosks which handle the majority of walk-in traffic. This will reduce the number of people on staff, but for IT, it will increase the data load and services required to support these systems.
Larger investment firms continue to spend enormous amounts of money to achieve ultra-low latency in trading services, gaining a competitive edge with every nanosecond saved from application response times. With the huge move to mobility and custom applications, these firms are finding ways to keep their investors connected and trading around the clock. With network and application performance in these environments, the unexpected is unacceptable. IT organizations are expected to have complete visibility at all hours, capturing everything, everywhere – 24/7.
Computer Networks for Banking and Finance
In the regional banking sector, many business and customer facing applications are hosted in a hybrid or private Cloud, but are considered the responsibility of the IT organization for monitoring and analysis.This can present a challenge to Network Engineers when they are tasked with responding to customer complaints in a system that is supported on components they cannot access. In the regional branch network, voice and video services to kiosks, as well as larger data loads put a strain on legacy infrastructure devices. In larger investment firms, after making huge investments in the network and application infrastructure to gain ultra-low latency in response time, IT budgets may be exhausted, making it difficult to expand and upgrade internal systems. Critical monitoring and analysis tools may be cut from a budget, which ties the hands of engineers when a problem does strike.
With huge focus on security, IT organizations have had to designate an individual or a group to become security analysts on both the wired and wireless network. They have needed to keep pace with threats, both external and internal to the firewall. This has greatly increased the visibility needed around the clock in all corners of the system, including in the wireless network with the security concerns around BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).
For a regional bank, if the ITorganization does not keep up with current trends toward automation, mobility, and improved online services, they may lose customers. Any performance hit or service outage will impact the bottom line and affect competitiveness. When migrating a service to a hybrid cloud or monitoring one which is already hosted here, consider implementing performance based management to measure and ensure customer service levels. Any delay, loss, or outage can be quickly alerted and identified to IT, enabling them to begin the path to resolution before there is a huge impact to customers. Instead of reactive analysis after a problem strikes, banks need to implement proactive analysis with reaction models in place in the event of an issue.
As the future begins to change the face of branch networks, monitoring tools need to be included as a part of the budget, enabling engineers to access detailed performance and usage information system-wide.Larger Investment firms need to consider further investments in analysis systems that will keep nanosecond response times from creeping up as systems take on more and more transactions.
Best Practices for IT Systems in Banking
Any bank, large or small, needs to ensure both security and performance across every touch point possible in the infrastructure. For applications in the cloud, IT needs a way of monitoring and measuring end user response time. For data housed locally, or for critical banking applications, every packet needs to be captured, around the clock. Automated analysis on this data for security threats and performance bottlenecks needs to be done at line rate, alerting Network Engineers to any sign of trouble. Focus must be on proactive rather than reactive troubleshooting, analyzing weak systems and taking action before there is any disruption in service.
Since many applications are now hosted in a hybrid or private cloud, a key thing for engineers to ensure is adequate bandwidth, performance, and security for in-house employees that need access. This includes building and maintaining a secure BYOD policy for mobile devices that are used to connect to these systems. An “Eyes in the Sky” wireless analysis system needs to be in place to monitor and enforce access policies, locating any rogue devices that are not allowed on the network, as well as any interferers that are impacting performance for approved users and traffic.
A secure, stable, high-performance network with perfect uptime, providing seamless access to customer services and transactions – that is the constant goal of any financial institution. Without the proper proactive monitoring and analysis tools, this target is very difficult to attain. Even if it seems that the network is problem free and that IT has achieved its goals, increasing transactions, new types of security threats, and migration to new technologies will always mix things up. Analysis data gives engineers actionable data, which improves response time to performance and security problems, which ultimately keeps customers safe and happy.
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Banking and Financial Computer Network Resources
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