How Automation Simplifies Network Compliance in the Financial Sector
The global march towards delivering operational resilience across the financial sector steadily continues.
Just last year, both the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Basel Committee published reports on “Sound Practices to Strengthen Operational Resilience” and “Principles of Operational Resilience.” Both highlighted the increasing need to improve vulnerable infrastructures in a hostile online environment.
The Current State of Compliance Automation
Now, the Bank of England is introducing its own rules for financial organizations.
Coming into force on March 31, 2022, the rules ‘put in place a stronger regulatory framework to promote the operational resilience of firms and FMIs,’ with firms expected to demonstrate operational resilience by:
- Identifying vulnerabilities and important business infrastructure
- Setting and testing impact tolerances
- Communicating operational disruptions to key stakeholders
Far from delaying the launch, the Covid-19 pandemic is described as an opportunity to show ‘why it is critically important for firms to understand the services they provide and invest in their resilience to protect themselves, their consumers, and the financial system from disruption.’
The message is clear: FS institutions must comply with operational resilience.
Complying with the new rules, which affect a wide range of firms, from banks and building societies to e-pay services, demands a strong IT infrastructure. One that’s well-equipped to track and protect against cyber-attacks, hardware and software failures, and disruptive downtime.
Key Network Compliance Standards
With financial institutions now almost completely reliant on technology, and more users online than ever before, network infrastructure impacts compliance standards at almost every level of a business–wherever they’re based in the world.
Take just a single compliance standard, such as PCI DSS, GDPR, NIS, NIST, FISMA, or SOX. Now measure how that standard affects your IT systems. For example, the PCI compliance checks require you to build secure firewalls and router configs, restrict access to sensitive data, maintain system component inventories, run protective password policies, and retain accessible audit trails.
That’s just one area. Now replicate that across the business. For that reason, FS firms are turning to network automation tools like Restorepoint to quickly fortify against security risk.
Benefits of Compliance Automation for Financial Services
Reliable networks are a driving force behind building operational resilience. Networks are the lynchpin to any IT infrastructure and help ensure round-the-clock data security and accessibility, providing a level of service your clients and stakeholders expect.
With financial institutions needing to show they can set, test, and stay within their impact tolerance for business-critical services to be operationally resilient, a robust, reliable network is critical.
By automating compliance tasks, businesses can eliminate manual processes and simplify complex procedures, enabling them to achieve faster audits and consistent, standardized results.
Eliminate Human Error
It has been widely reported that up to 82% of network outages are caused by human error. In a network configuration backup scenario, where manual scripts are the norm, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Automated configuration backups eliminate human error – and lower the chance of a breach. There’s absolutely no need for manual scripts that can leave your firm exposed to risk. It’s now far easier to comply with standards, such as NIST and PCI DSS, as well as operational resilience.
Simplify Disaster Recovery
Knowing there’s been an outage isn’t enough. You need to know the how, the why, and the what-to-do-to-stop-it.
If your financial organization is badly hit by a cyberattack or suffers serious downtime, it needs to be investigated, making it vital for you to compare the before and after pictures. In a manual world, that means logging into the compromised device to compare the data with a backup that could be stored anywhere. It’s a time-consuming game of trial and error.
And a waste of valuable resources when compliance automation tools like Restorepoint offer the power to quickly, and visually, compare differences in config versions. That makes it much easier to get the system back online and where it was before the outage.
Centralize Your Network
Like most in the industry, you’ve probably seen many adopt the blended approach to backups, with some delicate ecosphere of scripts, manual processes, vendor-specific tools, with third-party platforms all carefully balanced together like a Jenga tower.
Not only is this incredibly complicated and inefficient, it also could leave companies exposed to risk.
A centralized network, powered by automation gives you total control over access. It offers a single space where you can manage backup processes and configs, where your data is stored, encrypted and secure. Since everything’s not spread across multiple systems, platforms, or devices, everything works as it should.
That centralization also allows you to gain greater visibility over network and compliance operations.
Do More for Less
Manual processes take time and lots of it. Not only does that leave your organization vulnerable to human error, it also increases costs, lowers productivity, and that mind-numbing nature of some of the work–when the characters on the page start to blur into nothingness–has the potential to shatter employee morale.
Automation, on the other hand, requires fewer resources, so your team can put their skills to better use. With accurate data that’s managed through automation, teams can save hours on admin. Compliance auditing becomes simplified and less stressful, with consistent automated processes that ensure your organization spots potential compliance issues as a result of a change–whether it’s made by you, or an unsanctioned change by an administrator or even a hacker. With compliance performed at the point of backup, audits can be performed every 24 hours (as opposed to every quarter or every year).
Introduce automated services to demonstrate compliance, with automated network asset tracking, regular checks, and detailed, scheduled reports. Network compliance automation even features configuration templates to ensure devices follow the configuration of approved devices using approved firmware.
You’ll also be alerted to any changes in configuration baselines, or when you’re no longer compliant, giving you the opportunity to respond and make necessary changes in seconds. The focus is on creating processes that are more efficient, effective, and secure. And you can easily keep up with the never-ending stream of compliance rules and regs.
At Restorepoint, we’re committed to keeping financial institutions operationally resilient in a rapidly-shifting world. Book a demo to explore how our network configuration management solution automates critical tasks across multi-vendor infrastructures to save time, enhance compliance, and increase security.