The key challenges facing financial institutions are throughput, uptime and security. Banks are also under pressure to go green by reducing the energy consumption of their ever-expanding data centres, says Shabir Satar, product manager at Huawei Symantec.
In addition, there are increasing demands on storage. Banks by law have to keep electronic records, such as e-mails, for a minimum of 10 years.
And internally, document security is a high priority. During a document’s life-cycle, changes need to be tracked, with changes time and date-stamped giving a full audit trail of the changes.
Banks also need to carefully manage bandwidth and use what they have as efficiently as possible. This means providing bandwidth where it is most needed and reducing it where it is not critical or being wasted.
“Attacks on banks are getting more sophisticated. A denial of service (DoS) attack was recently measured at an astounding rate of 150-million instructions per second,” says Satar.
“This means that hackers are able to send 150-million instructions each second, bombarding a financial institution’s router. Most systems are unable to cope with this rate of bombardment. It causes the server and network to fail, opening the bank’s systems to a full cyber attack," says Satar.
He says Huawei Symantec equipment is designed to cope with a DoS rate of up to 250-million instructions per second, believed to be the highest rate of any supplier.
“The increasing number of cyber attacks and the rate and level of sophistication makes it uncertain whether existing computer systems will be able to cope with cyber attacks five years from now.”
Banks, when purchasing new equipment or upgrading, need to consider the implications of cyber attacks up to five years and beyond. This was previously never the case. Selecting hardware was purely a decision based on its ability to cope with future growth and performance.
Remote users, those customers accessing their banking information online, pose unique challenges for banks. Online access increases the vulnerability of the network. Hackers focus on remote terminals and mobile users to infiltrate core banking services.
In this way, data can be intercepted or damaged, core services interrupted and malicious viruses spread – compromising both the bank and its customers.
To defend against increasingly complex security attacks, banks are required to deploy multiple types of terminal management products. However, as these products are unrelated to each other, deploying them in a network is difficult. Procurement costs are high and there are compatibility issues. In addition, network architectures are complex and difficult to maintain in terms of network security.
To meet the demand for simpler IT solutions, Huawei Symantec has launched an integrated terminal security solution that combines network access control, security policy management, staff behaviour management, patch management, asset management, and secure and effective software distribution.
This reduces the task of maintaining terminals and reduces deployment complexity.
The software actively evaluates any local or remote users’ security status before they access the network and repairs any system vulnerabilities of insecure terminals.
In this way viruses are blocked and a complete terminal security environment is created. Updates to virus software are downloaded from Huawei Symantec’s worldwide support centre enabling the bank to be up to date with the latest anti-virus software.