Financial institutions have long been wary of the cloud. And why shouldn’t they be? With such important and high-target assets to protect, it can be shrewd to approach new tech with a careful eye. But the tides are turning as improvements in cloud security are making the cost, flexibility and scalability benefits more enticing to financial institutions than ever.
“In the past, banks and financial institutions showed hesitation in adopting cloud-based offerings, citing potential security concerns and risks associated with migrating from on-premises systems,” Martin Häring, chief marketing officer at Finastra, tells Information Age. “Today, it’s more common for financial institutions to embrace cloud-based applications, as they realize the benefits they can deliver in terms of cost reduction and efficiency.”
In fact, according to a press release put out by Microsoft last year, 80 percent of large financial institutions are adopting Azure, the company’s cloud solution. Bank of America is among those tapping Azure, with the aim of modernizing “technology infrastructure to enable current and future growth” in the cloud. And it’s not just large banks turning to the cloud; smaller ones are diving in, as well.
The truth is, while many institutions continue to show trepidation when it comes to cloud adoption, they are likely prolonging the inevitable.
But the technology can’t function alone to deliver all of the benefits banks seek. Tapping the following tools can help financial institutions get started on their cloud journey securely, efficiently and cost-effectively.
Prioritize Cloud Apps, Security and Connectivity with SD-WAN
As financial institutions migrate their mission-critical applications to the cloud, traditional wide area network architectures can make it difficult to prioritize and secure apps and traffic. This is where a software-defined wide area network can step in.
BizTech explains that “SD-WAN allows businesses to create hybrid WAN architectures that use multiple kinds of connections — different paths, essentially — to automatically create the best network path for the apps running on the network. It enables certain apps to be prioritized over other, less important network traffic. This can be done at a granular level and managed via a centralized software controller.”
And for those wary about cyberthreats, application security is a main driver behind why organizations are adopting SD-WAN in the first place, according to a report by IDC.
Moreover, for banks with branch locations, SD-WAN can simplify how traffic is routed in branches and improve connectivity to the cloud overall.
"SD-WAN is absolutely critical, because it is the vehicle most likely to bring true virtualization to networking, Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corporation, tells Network World. “Without virtualization in the network, virtualization in the cloud or data center will never be fully realized or effective."
Capture Security Gains with CASBs
As data, services and applications get moved into the cloud, it can open up a blind spot to the data transfers that happen between cloud apps, such as an employee sending information between a Dropbox account and a cloud-hosted company email.
“All of our existing network security infrastructure becomes blind to data transfers that happen in the cloud,” said Srini Gurrapu, McAfee’s chief cloud evangelist, speaking at CDW’s Managing Risk SummIT in Boston.
Cloud access security brokers can shed some light on shadow IT, allowing companies to track traffic and discover risky apps and users.
“It’s an automated watchdog looking over the shoulders of your users,” Eric Andrews, vice president of cloud security for Symantec tells BizTech.