SDN Elevates New Consumer Banking and Brokerage Products with Greater Control and Security


JUNE 2019

By: Matt Goggin

The consumer and private banking and brokerage businesses continue to become more and more competitive as challengers are bringing convenient new applications to market. “Friendly” banks like Ally (which has no physical branches) and mobile payments platforms like Venmo (which is a social-network-based means for peer-to-peer instant payments requiring only a mobile app and registration of a credit card to that phone) are now competing for business.

Ultimately the onus is still on more traditional banks, like JPMorgan Chase, Citi, and others to ensure any transactions occurring in the ecosystem which touch their systems are protected and performant, and with increasing attention being paid to the protection of private information (including credit cards, debit cards, social security numbers, PINs, and bank accounts).

Regulation to protect against cyber-crime is on the rise as we continue to learn about breaches on nearly a daily basis.

Verizon’s always epic annual Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) for 2019, calls out the growing activity and threat levels in the financial services industry reporting the following:

927 incidents, 207 with confirmed data disclosure

Top 3 patterns
Web Applications, Privilege Misuse, and Miscellaneous Errors (representing) 72% of breaches

Threat actors
External (72%), Internal (36%), Multiple parties (10%), Partner (2%)

Actor motives
Financial (88%), Espionage (10%)

Data compromised
Personal (43%), Credentials (38%), Internal (38%)

The incidents including in the financial services section of the report were filtered to not over 40,000 breaches associated with botnets, many which targeted the financial sector.

Networks need to be better secured as part of a comprehensive and uncompromised connectivity strategy in financial services.

While network security is not the only element, as programmable networking becomes possible, including protecting endpoints like ATMs and POS equipment, choosing the right, modern SDN technology is helping to ensure banks and other financial services firms meet compliance while protecting and serving their customers.

There are so many natural and proven advantages to cloud computing, big data analytics, mobility, the IoT, and applications innovations, the financial industry can and is investing massive sums in development (keeping the large incumbent players competitive with the challengers).

A strong, flexible network foundation not only improves compliance and reduces reputational damage risk, but it also is a foundation to support new services, including in the red-hot Fintech sector.

Startups are taking advantage of newer network technologies, including Software Defined Networking (SDN) – for example, cleverDome, an interesting start up currently taking advantage of Dispersive’s solutions. And while it is harder to turn around as large a ship as networks in large global banks, we also see a dramatic shift in interest around SDN as the “next step” beyond the SD-WAN networks which offer great transitional benefits but are still bound by many traditionally required elements.

Network experts and decision makers across all types and size of financial services and trading companies are seeing the exponentially more agile and SDN-based environments able to support the applications and services that power better applications and services for their customers, whether consumer or business, retail or institutional.

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), defines SDN as an “emerging architecture that is dynamic, manageable, cost-effective, and adaptable, making it ideal for the high-bandwidth, dynamic nature of today’s applications. This architecture decouples the network control and forwarding functions, enabling the network control to become directly programmable and the underlying infrastructure to be abstracted for applications and network services.”

SDN offers many business benefits to financial institutions, including greater security, centralized provisioning, and management, more available data that can be enhanced with AI applications include real-time network usage information used to detect anomalous behavior signaling an attack, lower CapEx, lower OpEx, and greater application control and traffic shaping and prioritization.

This application-aware capability built into programmable networks powered by SDN enables IT administrators to set policies and automate the most intelligent path for their applications, and to update policies for optimal performance across their businesses.

Only on an SDN can all security policies are managed centrally, including security updates to all devices on the network, and adherence to compliance regulations.

More secure, less costly, more flexible and “programmable” – what’s not to like about that?

SDN and programmable networking solutions like Dispersive’s DVN also mean future-proofing the network, making it possible to develop and roll out the next-generation applications that will keep financial services companies relevant and competitive. With the advent of big data and analytics, AI, IoT, and creative BI applications, digital transformation is happening, and we believe digital transformation happens faster and with less risk on SDN-based platforms.

Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how Dispersive is helping financial institutions disrupt and grow.

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