IT departments within financial institutions face two major network security-related challenges while working to serve their customers:

  1. Regulatory compliance[1], and

  2. The constant demand to improve their services in order to successfully compete in the market.

Meeting the first of these challenges has become increasingly complex in recent years, as the number of regulations that financial institutions are required to uphold has significantly increased[2]. From GBLA to SOX and PCI-DSS, these regulations require considerable effort to maintain, especially in terms of network security.

At the same time, the demand for innovation coupled with competition from agile and disruptive FinTech companies has put considerable pressure on established financial institutions to change and improve the way they interact with their customers. The end result is that meeting the demand to deliver new services while ensuring that networks and applications remain secure and compliant is increasingly challenging.

The security bottleneck

This is compounded by the fact that the typical financial organization has a complex network environment[3], with a large number of firewalls and network security devices – usually from multiple vendors.

Furthermore, security teams often still rely on slow, manual, error-prone processes to make the necessary network security changes to support new applications or their audit requirements. As a result, IT security is often perceived as being a bottleneck to progress, delaying the release of new features to market.

If financial institutions want to release the ‘security brakes’ on business innovation while ensuring they remain protected and meet their ever-increasing compliance demands, their IT security teams need to take a new approach to

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