As financial institutions continue adapting to changes in both work and workplace, one thing is clear: They need networking technology that can support multi-site operations without latency or downtime. Prior to the pandemic, migrating workloads to the cloud was the crux of digital transformations.
The Future Of Banking Networks
Now, in what can be described as digital transformations 2.0, financial institutions are embracing new technologies to stay ahead of their competitors. By leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, etc., these institutions are shaping the way we transact, manage investments, and more.
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However, supporting such solutions requires a reexamination of cloud service environments and networking infrastructure. Secure, high-speed networks are essential for financial institutions looking for a competitive edge. Cost savings are table stakes with digital transformations. However, there is a difference between cutting expenses and adopting new technologies to gain efficiencies that allow for business growth.
First and foremost, by understanding that cloud services are offered in a variable cost utility model rather than a fixed IT spend model, decision-makers will see the potential for better cash flow as they exit the previous buy and refresh hardware model. Profitability and bottom-line growth are obvious priorities, but there’s more to consider. Asset velocity, for example, directly influences and increases ROI.
In addition to embracing cloud, financial firms have given the market an injection of convenient, secure network connectivity. As such, it makes sense that wide area networks (WAN) technology has become a key component in digital transformation efforts. For enterprises, WAN refers to a connected group of telecom networks distributed across geographies that can exchange data across private environments.
Among the most prominent types of WAN networks is software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), in which software platform replaces most physical appliances to manage the entire network infrastructure, optimizing bandwidth flow and performance while minimizing costs.
SD-WAN provides the high speed and reliability that banks, credit unions and other financial institutions require. With SD-WAN, businesses can rest assured knowing they have the best network available to ensure efficient and secure operations.
Numerous enterprises are turning towards SD-WAN technologies to gain faster, more reliable, and persistent connections all with lower cost DIA (Direct Internet Access), Broadband and wireless circuits instead of the more costly private circuits (MPLS).
These advancements continue to provide for reliable and secure access from any device to any target system in ways that can change how products and services are delivered to the marketplace, changing how they are consumed, and changing who consumes them.
The SD-WAN architecture combines key network functions with enhanced security services including FWaaS (Firewall as-a-service), WAN optimization capabilities and zero trust network access into a single platform that continuously monitors conditions for disruptions then adapts traffic flow accordingly. This allows businesses to benefit from optimal performance of their networks without sacrificing security.
Distributed work environments have become the new normal, and with this reality comes an array of inevitable security concerns. A PwC survey indicates that 78% of CEOs are convinced that telecommuting is here to stay long-term, and organizations must be able to securely manage a variety of devices and endpoint across multiple geographies for a proper workforce transformation to take place.
Accordingly, secure access service edge, or SASE, will see significant adoption in 2023. Gartner analysts believe that SASE addresses the most common security challenges arising from myriad applications operating outside the data center, sensitive data stored across multiple cloud services, and users connecting from anywhere and on any device.
In a recent research note, GlobalData Research Director, G. Barton, noted that, “SASE speaks to enterprises’ desires to better secure their WAN and cloud access environments as they move toward cloud networking as well as their desires for networking to be just another part of their application estate rather than a separate piece of the IT puzzle.”
Simply put, SASE allows organizations to securely deliver their products and services to the outermost endpoints on the edge.
As consumers embrace mobile options to access financial institutions, the status-quo security perimeter has dissolved. Customers and employees alike expect the ability to easily connect to financial institutions and applications from anywhere at any time.
It is the ease at which they can do so that creates a differentiator in market share. It is also important to note that done wrong, IT costs can soar and eliminate profitability while hindering employee productivity. Done right, these technologies allow enterprises
to empower users with tools to maximize efficiency and quality, while contributing to higher profit margins.
With support from Advantage Communications Group (ACG), the Bank of Princeton was able to move to upgrade its infrastructure across all locations to a more resilient, more secure, and much more scalable solution.
Specifically, it was able to increase bandwidth by over 20X, dramatically reduce risk by implementing dual-node circuits at all locations, increase speed-to-market and agility, reduce maintenance and operating costs—all while saving 36 percent, $180K/year.
Working with a single partner capable of monitoring and managing the inventory, expense, and billing of telecom infrastructure eliminates the complexity of managing a web of service providers in-house. Conversely, working with the wrong partner can result in poor implementations, delayed benefits, and skyrocketing costs. In collaboration with the bank, ACG designed a future state architecture, that addressed Network, SD-WAN, Connectivity Services, Hosting, Firewalls, and Internet.
In the end, it’s all about alignment between stakeholders, technology, and desired business outcomes. The proper combination of cloud services, intelligent networking, and advanced security are critical to the success of any digital transformation effort.