Keeping FSIs protected through digital transformation

The need for banking and financial services organisations to embrace the best of technology and innovation has never been more pressing.

The UK banking sector was already in a time of transformational change, with increasing regulation, new digitally focused challengers, and the reshaping of London’s position on the world stage due to Brexit. But with a global recession caused by COVID-19 on the horizon, these changes could now reach a scale never before seen. Financial services institutions (FSIs) are faced with near-constant attacks and intrusion attempts. Cybersecurity teams at those companies need visibility in order to achieve the cost savings, operational efficiency, and compliance reporting that they need to maintain competitiveness. As the financial services industry embraces the latest IT technology such as Mobility and Cloud the traditional network boundaries are becoming increasingly complex to control and secure. There are now many different ways into an enterprise network among the world’s most-attacked industries. As a result, financial services organisations often find it difficult to move from a reactive cybersecurity stance to a proactive one. Achieving this goal is complicated by a continually expanding attack surface brought about by new technologies launched through digital innovation initiatives. Adding to this complexity is the need for compliance with a growing number of regulations regarding the use of financial and personal data. The post-crisis flood of regulations (MiFID II, PSD2, Basel III, GDPR) signalled a major mindset change for regulators. Not only are the rules now much more complex, but regulators are more suspicious and less flexible in their demands to improve compliance, reporting and underlying business processes and data. Furthermore, a tick-box approach is no longer satisfactory: regulators want organisations to embrace regulatory intent, and create sound, secure, unbiased businesses, where compliance and sound conduct is embedded in the processes and values of everyday operations.

The Challenges

Protecting extremely sensitive data is a top priority, for both business and compliance reasons. But security cannot come at the expense of network performance, as consumers and businesses increasingly demand real-time access to every offering, from online and mobile banking to high-frequency trading. At the same time, institutions must control costs and optimise operational efficiency to remain.

Cost reduction

Financial services organisations are under constant pressure to contain and reduce costs across their IT environment. Cybersecurity budgets require strategic financial and human resource allocation. Given that money and staff time are finite, risk tolerance must be balanced against risk posture, and trade-offs must be made. Adding to these challenges are cybersecurity staff shortages, which make it difficult and expensive to fill certain roles – of they can be filled at all.


The attack surface continues to grow in scope and is increasingly difficult to protect. The proliferation of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, the adoption of multiple clouds for business services, and the use of mobile devices by customers and employees rapidly expand the attack surface. As a result, financial services firms deploy more and more point security products to cover the gaps created by the expanding attack surface. The resulting security silos obfuscate visibility – increasing operational inefficiencies and ratcheting up risk.

Operational efficiency

Lack of integration across the different security elements and architectural fragmentation increase operational inefficiencies. Without integration, many security workflows must be managed manually, which causes delays and increases the likelihood of mistakes. In addition to delaying threat detection, prevention, and response, architectural silos create redundancies, increased operational costs, and potential holes in an organisation’s cybersecurity posture.


As financial services organisations increasingly embrace cloud applications and infrastructure, the security architecture must be sufficiently agile to enable fast, secure, and compliant public, private, and hybrid cloud-based services while protecting traditional on-premises services at the same time.

Compliance reporting

The financial services sector is among the most highly regulated industries in the world, with personal and corporate financial data residing across the network – from the campus, to the data centre, to the edge, to the cloud. Organisations must be able to demonstrate compliance with multiple regulations and standards without redeploying staff from strategic initiatives to manually prepare audit reports.

The Solution

With over two million threat sensors worldwide, Fortinet hardware and virtual solutions are reinforced by a team of over 200 cyber-security researchers focused solely on industry threat research, analytics, and intelligence for preventing the latest attacks and providing incident response. Fortinet protects the most valuable assets of some of the largest financial services institutions across the globe, including 7 of the top 10 global banks. Fortinet cybersecurity solutions for financial services cover a number of use cases with comprehensive protection. The performance of FortiGate high-end firewalls meets the specialised needs of electronic trading infrastructures, and the Fortinet Security Fabric covers the entire organisation with a multi-layered defence visible on a single pane of glass, with centralised policy controls. Additionally, Fortinet supports connectivity at branch locations with secure networking solutions that are scalable and high performing. FortiGate offers the industry’s lowest latency and jitter rates for electronic trading infrastructures – when microseconds matter. And ensuring SSL/TLS encryption inspection does not impact network performance. The Fortinet Security Fabric includes a long list of third-party APIs – as well as an open API architecture. This enables financial services firms to integrate disparate security elements distributed across an ever-expanding attack surface into a single-pane-of-glass view. A comprehensive software-defined branch infrastructure that provides optimal security and improves network performance, from the switching infrastructure to the data centre.

SCC and Fortinet in partnership

For financial services institutions, it is more important than ever to safeguard corporate data, applications, and workflows from increasingly advanced threats. Fortinet provides a unified platform that enables them to build a comprehensive, integrated protection network for the entire institution while maintaining high network performance. At SCC, we understand the demands and challenges within financial services. That’s why we provide not only the technological solutions to help adapt and transform, but also to support services that help ensure a successful transformation with minimal business disruption. With decades of experience in the banking sector, we’ve built a reputation both as a trusted advisor and a leading aggregator of innovative technologies. Invaluable partner relationships allow us to harness and deploy best in class technology solutions right across the financial spectrum – and we continue to invest in the sector today to establish increased relevance and value for our customers.


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