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Surviving as a financial institution today isn’t easy, let alone thriving and growing. Banks and financial sector organisations are increasingly battling on three complex fronts.

A constant barrage of cyber-attacks including phishing, credential theft and ransomware are being targeted at firms in the financial sector. Customers and employees are at risk from attempts to access personal data and internal banking information. Artificial intelligence and self-learning malware are being used to increase criminals’ success rates. These attacks aren’t only dangerous, they’re costly: $18.5m per year per institution to be precise, according to Accenture.

Against the backdrop of cyber-attacks, institutions are struggling to streamline and modernise processes without compromising their security or user experience. Firms which fail to address the need to modernise, risk losing customers to competitors or opening themselves up to increased human error from manual procedures.

The third threat facing firms in the financial sector today? The pressure to respond to the demands of the digital age. More than two-thirds of financial services firms have made significant changes to infrastructure, security controls and applications to support digital processes and interfaces. IT professionals are being tasked with integrating operations seamlessly into the cloud without interrupting vital services that need to be available, every minute of every day.

What’s at stake?

The potential price of inaction or complacency in the current environment is huge.

Institutions that fail to stem the flood of cyber-attacks or who struggle to keep up with consumer experience expectations, risk losing customers to competitors. Trying to cope with data issues and security concerns are amongst the biggest obstacles to digital transformation, according to Forrester.

Data breaches shake consumer trust and open up institutions to fines for GDPR violations.

Questions over the security of a banking institution can lead to a lack of confidence in its financial stability. Addressing the impact of cyber-crime also brings with it monetary considerations: 67% of consumers expect their bank to compensate them for successful scams.

Any downtime due to technology deployments, process breakdowns or security breaches can lead to missed payments; impacting customers’ day-to-day lives and their long-term perception of the institution itself.

Legacy responses to cutting-edge issues.

These problems are increasing, but aren’t new – so how have financial sector firms responded to date?

In some cases, institutions are tackling the three threats independently. Often this means shoring up security, for instance, while compromising on digital transformation efforts elsewhere in the business. Or alternatively, firms yield to the pressure to improve consumer experience quickly, which opens them up to potential breaches; surprisingly, two-thirds of financial services organisations don’t inherently build security into their technology-driven processes.

Solutions designed to address security issues can, in some cases, bring with them additional complexity. Deployments can be complex and lengthy, and internal staff aren’t always sufficiently well prepared or trained to maintain the solution once it’s rolled out.

Firms often have to manage and orchestrate different suppliers for their security and cloud solutions, leading to grey areas of responsibility and the institution having to shoulder the burden of resolving problems. Even where a firm is required to manage an issue in-house due to industry regulations, they could benefit from external consultancy or advice which is lacking in this type of pass-the-buck situation.

A single solution for a three-pronged problem.

In recognition of the complexity facing financial institutions, VMware have developed a security solution which can resolve all three issues without compromise.

vSphere Platinum draws on VMware’s experience as IT platform of choice for the financial services sector, including 10 out of the top 10 largest global and commercial banks. The virtualisation and cloud platform accelerates digital transformation by delivering simple and efficient management at scale, with – crucially – comprehensive, built-in security.

The solution is helping financial institutions like ADP and Sterling National Bank run, manage, connect, and secure applications in a common operating environment, across their hybrid clouds. No other vendor today delivers an integrated security approach that operationalises Zero Trust across on-premises and cloud environments through infrastructure, application, and user intelligence.

What’s driving the new approach?

Firms in the financial services sector are typically turning to VMware when they find existing solutions aren’t able to help them answer these key questions:

  • How can I improve the online experience for customers and employees?
  • How can I better safeguard private customer data?
  • How can I keep my hybrid and remote workforce secure?
  • How can I streamline my compliance procedures

Existing, siloed solutions can typically support some areas of these challenges, but fail to address the full extent of the requirement. VMware’s support for any cloud, any app, and any device means that financial institutions can safely modernise systems and processes while driving operational excellence, top-line growth, and security at scale.

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