Proactive Downtime Prevention Saves Millions in Financial Services Industry

IT professionals in the financial services industry face unique challenges.

Customers expect 24/7 access to tools and accounts, with no service hiccups, even for a moment. This means uptime can’t ever falter. But IT leaders in finance also understand every hacker on the planet would love to compromise their systems. So, network security must always be the top priority. If a breach happens, then nothing else matters.

These aren’t the only reasons why financial services firms must go all-in on downtime prevention:

  • Trust is king. Since financial services offerings are similar from company to company, trust becomes the biggest differentiating factor. Customers turn to the firm that’s the most dependable and trustworthy when products and services are virtually the same. A security breach or service snafu often results in customers defecting to competitors.
  • Downtime can lead to legal troubles. Not only does downtime create problems in the moment for companies and customers alike, but customers may also sue financial firms if an outage affects them negatively enough—and because of the industry’s stringent service-level agreements, the customers may win.
  • Networks are complex.The heterogeneity of financial services firms is off the charts due to the fact that they must manage extremely disparate networks—from multiple branches, ATMs, and data centers, to a remote workforce. What’s more, mergers and acquisitions are common, and can be a huge contributor to network complexity with inevitable technology sprawl.
  • Downtime is costly.According to Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC), the price for the biggest players in the finance industry can be as high as $5 million an hour—or over $1,300 per second—making this industry the one with the largest downtime expense compared to other verticals.

To make customers happy in the light of the sky-high expectations on the financial services industry, IT teams can help the companies they support save millions of dollars at scale with some small improvements. Here’s the best solution:

A Simple Solve to Unify Networks

It can seem impossible to resolve the dilemma of tediously complex networks, the management of which can easily become all-consuming. But there’s a quick fix for IT: software-defined perimeter (SDP) technology. SDP allows for the consolidation of complex network infrastructure in a relative snap, via a simple software install on the nodes to be joined. This allows for management of the whole network from a single centralized management pane. In financial services, it’s essential to select an SDP solution that also incorporates network high availability (HA).

An additional benefit to SDP technology is that it takes care of network security as well as network unification. Virtual private network (VPN) breaches leave financial services organizations’ entire network vulnerable to compromise. SDP software leverages connections with a super secure “zero-trust” approach that nullifies the lateral network attack surface by regulating network access at the application level.

Downtime Zero
With the priciness of downtime articulated clearly in the ITIC stat above, it’s obvious that a solution that succeeds in decreasing downtime by any amount is smart to adopt. SDP technology helps by reducing the complexity of the network and overall management and integrating downtime-preventing automation. A similar simplification and consolidation of your HA management framework is the key to unlocking zero downtime. Smart high availability enables your IT team to use one management pane to manage every platform, operating system, and version—all on any infrastructure. Smart HA technology can also unluck minimally intrusive patches and updates, creating so little downtime that these processes be orchestrated during the regular business day.

Being proactive can be challenging if you first must convince upper management of the wisdom of your plan, but these three steps can help you state your case more convincingly:

  • Show proof of how downtime hurts your organization by gathering quantitative research to support your request for an SDP or Smart HA solution.
  • Take advantage of free trials to collect clear evidence that the new proposed technology is superior to your existing approach in pushing total downtime to zero.
  • Be sure that management understands how your proposed solution(s) will be beneficial from both a downtime prevention, and network security standpoint.

Think of it this way: rethinking your IT budget proactively isn’t nearly as painful as dealing with the financial consequences of an outage that takes you by surprise.

About the Author

Don Boxley Jr is a DH2i Co-founder and CEO. He has more than 20 years in management positions for leading technology companies. Boxley earned his MBA from the Johnson School of Management, Cornell University.

Featured image: max_776