Today’s financial services organizations face many challenges to improve the customer experience when existing data networks are strained by increasing services, remote office/back office (ROBO) data transfers, bandwidth limitations, and the need to meet evolving regulatory compliance demands. The bottom line is that legacy networks often lack the capacity and resiliency to overcome constantly changing network traffic needs to ensure that the customer experience isn’t affected.
SD-WAN is increasingly being seen as the ideal solution to these challenges as evidenced by its projected revenue growth rate of 69.9 percent for a market value of $8.05 billion by 2021 according to IDC SD-WAN Forecasts.
The software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) offers numerous benefits to meet the challenges of data transfer agility, cost containment, and regulatory compliance. For financial institutions, SD-WAN enables a high degree of network flexibility, strong security, and potential cost savings for banks that are transforming their branches. Understanding how those benefits play out in the real world is the first step in making the decision to adopt SD-WAN for your financial services organization.
Regulatory Compliance Benefits of SD-WAN
Because SD-WAN centralizes management and provisioning of the network, it’s much simpler to implement and maintain policies across your entire network to ensure all locations are compliant with government regulations. Any changes to a policy can be pushed out to all locations from a central console reducing the time to implement from days or weeks to minutes.
This centralized approach eliminates the need for a full-time IT person at each location, while maintaining compliance and ensuring consistent network policies across the network.
Advantages of SD-WAN for Network Security for Multiple Locations
SD-WAN solutions can provide end-to-end encryption across any network type while providing fine-grained policy control to route traffic. Because traffic does not need to be backhauled through a central data center, it can be directed from branch to branch or branch to cloud, which increases performance while maintaining security.
What’s more, SD-WAN’s integrated security can automatically verify and implement changes based on detection of certain threats.
Another challenge faced by financial services organizations is secure connectivity for regional locations such as branch offices. Along with mobile banking and ATMs, branch locations face increasing needs for regulatory compliance to protect financial data in transit and at rest. The internet, the cloud, application access and WiFi all intersect at branch office locations, which creates major points of network vulnerability.
As your customer service offerings grows, it’s impossible to provide secure and efficient financial services without a higher level of network automation.
While automating network functionalities in legacy WAN infrastructure may not be possible or practical, SD-WAN supports enterprise growth while ensuring vital customer data security for financial institutions in the following ways:
- Operation of ATMs
- Online and mobile banking
- Cloud-based applications
- Data center functions
- Backup and Disaster Recovery,
- And much more.
The single-pane-of-glass approach that is afforded by SD-WAN is critical to financial services organizations that must provide an ever-increasing range of services and application access to customers wherever they may be. The agility, ease of configuration and scalability of SD-WAN is not only critical to current needs of financial services, but also the emerging needs of the future.
How SD-WAN Affects Bank Branch Network Management
The costs, logistics, and time constraints of having the needed IT personnel on site to deal with network provisioning, monitoring, and management at the branch level isn’t financially feasible or practical. SD-WAN addresses these challenges, and others in a number of important ways by:
- Enabling a single network administrator to provision, manage, and monitor branch network connectivity and apply highly specific policies via a single click across the entire WAN.
- Providing compatibility with any type of network transport framework (MPLS, LTE, internet links, etc.) to seamlessly ensure the bandwidth to meet your priority-based needs. This can translate to lower MPLS costs, simpler and automated WAN operations, and better application traffic management and performance through intelligent path selection and network provisioning.
- Delivering the ability to segregate traffic into streams for resource prioritization based on application while maintaining security and compliance. This facilitates segmentation of the corporate network from the ATM network to apply specific security protocols.
- Enabling automatic detection of the fastest and most optimal routing path for network traffic in real-time to ensure the best performance and continual uptime for any networking application.
- Fostering simplified policy provisioning to ensure mission-critical applications have priority on the network.
Planning Your Future with SD-WAN
The one constant in any business is change. The network for your organization must be able to meet evolving needs in an agile, accurate, and cost-effective way.
Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) are just two examples of changes/innovations that financial services organizations need to keep pace with. IoT will mean an increase of devices connecting to your network accessing service offerings.
Blockchain will bring standardized use of smart contracts, improved identity management, share trading, cross-border payments as well as more efficient and secure loyalty and rewards programs among other uses. While SD-WAN won’t make these things possible directly, they offer the resiliency, scalability, and security for the needed future-proof network foundation.
While the many benefits of SD-WAN are driving increased adoption across all sectors, adoptees specifically cite the benefits of bandwidth optimization, consistent application security, integration with existing WANs, and improved automation and self-provisioning according to a recent IDC special study.
Even as countless financial services organizations move closer to SD-WAN adoption and its ability to solve many challenges, the biggest challenge is deciding on the best approach to adoption. This is primarily due to the fact that SD-WAN is the opposite of a one-size-fits-all solution and many organizations face a steep learning curve.
Fortunately, managed services providers such as Acadia Technology Group bring broad and deep experience in SD-WAN solutions and architecture implementation as well as the operational structure and needs of the financial services sector. By partnering with Acadia Technology Group, your financial services organization can realize the network agility needed for continuous digital transformation that meets today’s and tomorrow’s customer and operational needs.