Overcoming Digital Transformation Challenges in Financial Services with SD-WAN

5 SD-WAN use cases for IT leaders in the finance sector.

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By: Gabriel Gomane, Sr Product Marketing Manager, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

Whether for customers or employees, the digital transformation occurring at financial institutions has only accelerated in recent years. With that digital transformation, financial services organizations face an increasing array of networking and security challenges. These challenges include: digitization and cloud migration; the increasing percent of the workforce working from home; maintaining a modern and resilient network infrastructure; and last but certainly not least – cybersecurity risks and regulatory compliance.

In response, SD-WAN has emerged as a key enabler to tackle and overcome these challenges while accelerating business growth. To illustrate how, below are five SD-WAN use cases from the financial services industry.

  1. Reimagining a simpler, cost-effective network infrastructure

At its core, SD-WAN provides financial institutions an avenue to securely leverage internet broadband and 5G/LTE connections at a lower cost while enjoying the same benefits as private, dedicated lines by merging MPLS, broadband internet, and 5G/LTE in a single logical link. Then, based on the policies and priorities outlined by the business, SD-WAN can automatically route the traffic.

Meanwhile, advanced SD-WAN technologies, such as the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform, can optimize data transmission in internet and 5G links using techniques such as forward error correction that rebuilds transmitted lost packets, and packet order correction that helps reorder data at the destination. Another key feature includes local internet breakout that can send cloud application traffic directly to the internet, depending on security risk, preventing the need to backhaul traffic to the corporate datacenter. The end result: this frees up the jumbled dedicated MPLS lines with the added benefit of lower expenses.

Furthermore, advanced SD-WAN functions offered within Aruba EdgeConnect can help limit equipment sprawl in the branch environment by combining a router, a firewall, and WAN Optimization network functions within a single platform. It also continuously monitors network conditions, including for service brownouts or any other network disruptions, then automatically adapts traffic handling to overcome the effects.

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Financial institutions can move to a more simplified, less expensive network infrastructure via Aruba EdgeConnect

  1. Improve security and flexibility in the home or branch environment

In the past, financial institutions via MPLS could expect to wait months to establish a new ATM or branch location. Now with Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN, financial firms can enjoy similar MPLS performance deployed through broadband internet services without the need for physical IT resources on the ground. It’s now common for a new branch deployment to take just a few days to provision, thanks to centralized orchestration of configuration settings and security policies.

Meanwhile, as work-from-home paradigms transition from temporary to more permanent fixtures at financial services organizations, employees can now expect the same level of digital services and security in the home as in the main office. By using internet broadband, and the emerging 5G infrastructure, Aruba Microbranch can connect home office environments to the proverbial company headquarters in an easy and flexible way. An Aruba Microbranch deployment automates the formation of IPsec tunnels between access points of a remote site to the Gateway cluster of the parent WLAN network. This process equally protects home and remote-branch locations by providing SD-WAN capabilities including orchestration and secure internet breakout in an easy-to-use yet powerful Wi-Fi access point device.

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Aruba Microbranch SD-WAN provides the same level of experience and security at home as in the office

  1. Become more prepared with upgraded disaster recovery plans and expedited backups

For disaster recovery, often data is backed up at locations potentially thousands of miles away from the main data center typically located at the main campus or off-site nearby. That distance can add up to debilitating latency that can slow critical data transfers. Worse, some data may not even be backed up, placing a financial institution at risk in the chance it loses key customer data, compounding extraneous issues caused by a disaster. Furthermore, it’s usually necessary to perform disaster recovery operations quickly to keep the business operating. Quick access to cash and accounts is vital when customers are experiencing the effects of a disaster as well.

To further enable financial institutions to respond more quickly and effectively to disasters, Aruba offers the optional Aruba Boost WAN optimization software, unified with Aruba EdgeConnect. This product leverages TCP protocol acceleration techniques to improve throughput while employing sophisticated data deduplication and data compression algorithms. Redundant data is fingerprinted, and a pointer is created to eliminate transmission of duplicate data across the WAN. Data compression leverages a Lempel-Ziv (LZ) compression algorithm that is applied both on the IP header and the payload.

Even as the business grows along with the need to store increasingly larger amounts of data for customer and regulatory purposes, Aruba Boost can help ensure that data is properly backed up in remote disaster-recovery locations.

  1. Protecting customer data and access 

As customers increasingly embrace mobile options to access financial institutions, the traditional security perimeter is quickly dissolving. Customers and employees alike expect the ability to easily connect to financial institutions and financial services applications from anywhere at any time. The days of leveraging a well-defined security perimeter while backhauling internet traffic to corporate data centers for security inspection are long gone. In today’s increasingly mobile-first environment, longer application response time and reduced performance are no longer tolerated. In response, security is now based on a zero-trust approach that identifies users and devices with the assumption that they cannot be trusted by default.

Meanwhile, financial institutions must also be rethinking how to secure cloud application traffic. The answer is SASE (Secure Access Service Edge), an architecture that implements security services in the cloud. SASE combines WAN edge network functions at the branch, such as SD-WAN, routing, basic security functions, and WAN optimization capabilities with security services including firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), zero-trust network access (ZTNA), cloud access security broker (CASB), secure web gateway (SWG), and more, delivered from a cloud-delivered security service.

Aruba EdgeConnect provides the foundation for a full SASE approach. It natively integrates with third-party cloud security vendors to provide fully automated orchestration capabilities. This allows financial organizations to deploy a best-of-breed strategy for selecting cloud security provider(s), depending on the requisite needs, while easily transitioning from a traditional architecture to a SASE architecture.

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Depending on the application type and threat detected, Aruba EdgeConnect can automate security orchestration

  1. Achieving compliance

An SD-WAN solution can also help financial institutions comply with various kinds of regulations and rules. One core example is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) that sets the payment card industry regulations and guidelines. Thankfully, Aruba EdgeConnect can help organizations meet the 12 requirements to achieve compliance with PCI DSS. One requirement specifies encrypting transmission of cardholder data over public networks, and another requirement specifies installing and maintaining a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data.

Aruba EdgeConnect can help financial institutions meet those specific recruitments.

To learn more, please download our business paper on SD-WAN for financial services.

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