From banks to insurance companies, financial services organisations are utilising the cloud to stay ahead of the curve and deliver the best customer experiences that they can. Bloomberg reports that 25 of the world’s 38 largest financial institutions and insurance companies have signed up with Microsoft’s cloud business and are starting to place their business applications in the cloud.
Some banks are moving entire systems and platforms to the cloud, while others are taking a hybrid approach and just moving fractions, and keeping the rest on internal infrastructure. Either way, these organisations realise they need to make security a priority, which often leads to the adoption of a cloud security provider. But, with today’s complex ecosystems and environments, what exactly, should the financial services sector look for when selecting a cloud security vendor?
Four cloud security necessities include:
- Data Security
- Visibility and Control
While these may seem obvious, it is important to keep them top of mind as institutions consider these options in the cloud.
Data sits at the heart of financial services, security and regulatory compliance. Combined with the threat of reputational damage, financial impact and loss of business, data security becomes top priority. In fact, according to the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), data protection is the number one concern amongst financial institutions that are transitioning work to the cloud.
This concern typically arises as soon as financial information transfers outside the organisation’s walls, and they feel as if they’ve lost control. So, before all else, financial institutions should start their cloud security selection process by evaluating the security measures that providers have in place, and make sure they meet or exceed requirements.
Until recently, it seemed difficult for any financial organisation to move to the cloud. However, scalability and agility make it almost impossible to ignore. By embracing cloud services, information and applications can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Additionally, the cloud is cost effective. It allows financial institutions to grow without making significant monetary investments in infrastructure or human resources.
While it’s important to think about the business benefits of moving to the cloud, organisations have to remember that their security solutions must be just as flexible and scalable as the cloud itself. As the financial landscape and requirements change, organisations need to be able to make changes (when necessary) to its security solutions in place as well. A reliable cloud security provider will offer end-to-end security for both virtualised and physical ecosystems.
Visibility and control
The loss of financial information or customer data can present organisations with serious ramifications and can severely harm their reputation in the public eye. As financial organisations become more digital than ever, control over data and security has never been more important.
Cloud security providers in the financial services industry should offer users the ability to review network activity (including security threats) as needed and from a single location, in an effort to keep security breaches at bay and overall costs down. Visibility and control in the form of reporting capabilities let organisations be proactive, rather than reactive. These reports should come in custom and preconfigured variations, and the ability to receive them when required is a must.
Today’s financial organisations need open security solutions managed from a single pane of glass to allow security and network operations—as well as data, including threat intelligence—to be shared across environments, from the IoT to the cloud, to provide the best levels of protection. With these types of open and expansive security fabric solutions, financial businesses will be able to evolve and address all the threats that are lurking in today’s threat landscape.
An open cloud security solution is more than just a suggestion. It should be a requirement for any organisation evaluating cloud security vendors, and it should be part of the foundation of their security strategy as well.
Choosing wisely for a secure future
Financial services are shifting applications to the cloud, seeking the efficiencies and cost reductions this move holds. However, with cybercriminals eager to get their hands on financial data, security is paramount – making it more important than ever to assess cloud security providers. There are many providers available on today’s market, so before investing, it’s important to remember to look for each of these four core elements. Doing so will provide peace of mind that legal requirements are being met while creating a more secure data environment and the possibility for easy scaling.
Paul Irvine, Director, Major Accounts UK&I, Fortinet
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