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Validating Network Security and Performance for Financial Institutions


Financial institutions rely on their digital infrastructure for conducting financial transactions and providing services to their customers; it's important to ensure their networks are secure, reliable, and perform as planned to their specific needs.

Financial institutions must have a strong and comprehensive assessment and validation strategy to maintain security, performance, and access in current architectures, in addition to the challenges associated with evolving to cloud-based architectures.

It pays to be proactive

The cost savings alone associated with ongoing assessment and validation of financial institution networks can be significant. By proactively identifying and addressing potential network issues, a company can prevent network downtime and improve network performance and security, ultimately saving money in the long run.

Some examples of the hard costs associated with network operational and security events are staggering. In larger institutions, the cost of network failure and downtime can exceed $1 million per hour. These impact areas such as lost business, productivity efficiencies, lost customer confidence, and the cost of remediating the issue(s). A major security breach also presents material and reputational issues for a company. The average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $4.35 million, and these breaches will only increase in severity and cost.

The case for proactive assessment and validation

If a financial institution can avoid just one event, the ROI from a strong and proactive test and assessment strategy is almost instantaneous. Areas where proactive assessment and validation offer major benefits include:

  • Cyber Threats: Cyber threats are on the rise, and mission-critical enterprises are a prime target due to the sensitive data they hold. These threats include phishing attacks, malware, exploits, and ransomware. Assessing the network infrastructure can help banks identify vulnerabilities and develop appropriate measures to protect against cyber threats ahead of the curve.

  • Business Continuity: Financial institutions must ensure their network infrastructure can withstand unexpected events such as system failures or cyberattacks. Assessing the network infrastructure helps companies identify potential weaknesses and develop a disaster recovery plan to minimize disruption of their services and ensure business continuity.

  • Protecting Sensitive Information: Financial institutions deal with sensitive customer information, such as financial transactions and personal details, on a daily basis. Security breaches can lead to financial loss, reputational damage, and legal consequences. Regular testing of the network infrastructure is essential to identify vulnerabilities and potential security breaches that could compromise customer information.

  • Reduced Downtime: Network downtime can cost millions of dollars in lost revenue, depending on the severity of the outage. By identifying and addressing potential network issues proactively, a company can minimize the risk of downtime and save money in lost revenue and customer trust.

  • Reduced Remediation Costs: If a security breach or network outage does occur, the cost of remediation can be significant. By proactively testing and addressing potential issues, an organization can reduce the cost of remediation and minimize the damage caused by a security breach or network outage.

  • Moves, Adds, and Changes: Major enterprises are continually evolving their network infrastructures, whether on-premises or as part of cloud services migration. It is imperative to understand how the network impacts application transaction timing (latencies), user Quality of Experience (QoE), and the efficacy of security policies. This requires comprehensive visibility and proactive validation rather than reactive assessment.

  • Improved Network Performance: A poorly performing network can impact the speed and efficiency of financial transactions, resulting in frustrated customers and lost revenue. By testing and optimizing the network, an organization can improve network performance, reduce transaction times, and ultimately save money.

  • Regulatory Compliance: Financial institutions are subject to regulatory requirements such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines. Many regulatory bodies require banks to adhere to specific security and compliance standards. By proactively validating and addressing potential security vulnerabilities, organizations can ensure compliance and avoid costly fines and penalties.

  • Customer Trust: Customers expect financial organizations to keep their information secure. Any security breaches damage customer trust and harm the organization’s reputation. Regular security validation of the network infrastructure can assure customers that their information is safe and secure.

  • Automated Testing: Not all testing is done as a one-off activity. A strong assessment strategy may require testing hundreds of device elements or large lab-based or digital twin environments. By leveraging an automation approach, more can be accomplished with less labor, equipment, and power requirements, all leading to major cost savings.

It's essential for financial institutions to regularly test their networks to ensure they’re secure, reliable, performant, compliant, and user-friendly. The cost of network downtime can be significant and may include lost revenue, damage to reputation, regulatory fines, increased operational costs, and legal costs.

Investing in a robust network infrastructure and performing regular assessment and validation enables organizations to minimize the risk of downtime and proactively address the increasing onslaught of security vulnerabilities.

Spirent provides industry-leading assessment solutions with end-to-end coverage from the control plane layer to security while helping to ensure optimized user experiences. Professional services solutions are also available to provide help identifying and implementing the right test strategies along with performing in-depth assessments and reporting.

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Mike Jack
Mike Jack

Sr. Manager Security Solutions Product Marketing

Michael Jack is senior manager of Product Marketing of Spirent Communications’ applications and security solutions portfolio. With 20 years of working in the data communications industry and over 15 years working for networking test and measurement organizations. At Spirent Communications Michael works with the Product Management team to define, produce and deliver cutting edge Applications and Security testing solutions for Network Equipment Manufactures, Enterprises, and Services Providers. Michael has presented at numerous industry events and has worked in Product Marketing and Management capacities at a diverse number of networking companies including Thomas-Conrad, UB Networks, Newbridge Networks, Compaq, and Antara.