As financial organisations of every size strive to improve their efficiency and flexibility, many are finding it tough to achieve an acceptable balance between being innovative and remaining secure, writes TIBCO Software’s Maurizio Canton.
One area posing a particular challenge is end points. The explosion in big data and the 'internet of things' has led to a rapid rise in the number of devices connected to corporate networks.
While they help to improve productivity, they also create security headaches for the IT department.
Having to accommodate additional personal electronic devices that are not necessarily updated with the latest security solutions and do not offer a comparative level of protection for internal IT systems can leave a business vulnerable and potentially compromised.
If the IT department is battling for control over the gigabytes of data flowing in and out of the organisation daily, it can result in what becomes reactive housekeeping that can hinder true digital transformation.
These challenges are particularly acute for financial organisations that have had to make radical changes to respond to the digital agenda and the new demands of customers seeking a more omni-channel offering.
It's something that's become particularly evident within financial institutions, where APIs and mobile transactions have proven to be a game changer in differentiating an organisation’s proposition.
They provide a vital new channel for innovation through more interconnected services that enhance the customer experience and drive a competitive advantage.
Striking a balance
Big data and analytics now permeate all key strands of financial services, informing and innovating the payment process, retail banking, insurance, and wealth management, while also shedding greater light on transaction history.
However, with this added value and opportunity comes greater demands and pressures over user identity, personal data privacy and a greater propensity for fraud.
Here, the need to strike a balance between innovation and stringent security credentials becomes particularly acute.
This issue is exacerbated by the fact that financial institutions have traditionally fallen short when it comes to achieving full visibility on the security status of their endpoints.
However, the answer isn’t to build Fort Knox. Security measures must deliver, but that doesn’t mean creating a system so draconian that it compromises accessibility, convenience and the seamless end-user experience now expected as standard.
The control needed to achieve this delicate balance is ultimately about visibility.
It needs to ensure that required information is available in real time to enable both pre-emptive and proactive measures and agile and intuitive responses as situations change.
This calls for integration technology that brings all facets together thorough a highly configurable bundle.
This should be a portfolio of independent, but tightly integrated products that enable swift and seamless integrations to and from the cloud and on premise resources to address all the competing concerns.
Simplicity is key
Crucially, any such infrastructure needs to be simple to use and allow a DIY approach that doesn’t rely on complicated code or specialist skills. Accessible and intuitive integration means that a broader section of the business can be involved to create solutions quickly, and minimise risk.
In the financial services environment, it's clear that many elements depend on seamless integration for smooth operations, covering user experience, data, infrastructure, security, application and service.
Also added to the mix is the need to incorporate identity management systems to ensure data integrity and confirm that the user of the device is authorised to access sensitive resources.
A solution that can update, track and protect data by monitoring the number of profiles and endpoints using the identity, before suggesting the available or required action, is essential for peace of mind and to cover all bases.
The best way to achieve this is by taking a holistic, interconnected approach to the challenge of device management. This will allow financial organisations to ride the mobile and IoT tidal wave without drowning in the increased threat levels that can arise.
Maurizio Canton is the chief technology officer, EMEA at TIBCO Software.
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