Why financial institutions need SD-WAN?

Financial institutions are adopting IoT to improve performance, user experience and pricing. With the kind of load that networks need to handle with IoT adoption, SD-WAN might just save the day.

Prashant Gupta Nov 03rd 2016

With the festive season upon us, financial institutions are bracing themselves for an overload of transactions on their platforms. In order to keep up with the tremendous amount of workload, these financial firms have started adopting Internet of Things (IoT) services to improve performance, user experience and pricing. Hence, there is an ever growing need for seamless network connections between devices and applications to ensure systematic and timely data analysis.

Of course, IoT requires reliable connections over any underlying network, in addition to the diversity needed to re-route traffic to avoid any service issues. Over the recent years, the number of applications that need predictable and reliable network has seen a startling increase due to the growing trend of e-banking, e-wallets and ATMs coupled with workloads from loyalty programs, online discounts sites, portable devices and wearables. So the network really has to be robust and intelligent enough to support this varied need for a seamless user experience. This workload pressure needs to be assigned to a specific network overlay that routes workloads across both, private and public networks. This is where Software-Defined Wide Area Network or SD-WAN saves the day.

SD-WAN enables businesses to leverage virtualization and reap the benefits not only of improved agility and cost and manageability but it gives businesses true transport independence. As the WAN is virtualized, it can take advantage of any transport protocol that is needed. Like MPLS, Internet, Ethernet, 4G LTE or Wi-Fi, we are seeing a strong adoption in the financial services sector.  As IoT becomes a compelling proposition, the benefits of SD-WAN are not just limited to the transport piece, rather they extend to the application layer that processes and analyses the real-time data. SD-WAN automates the selection of best available path and ensures that the data is real-time. This traffic-forwarding capability of SD-WAN can be set in place at the centralized controller level and then pushed out to all SD-WAN enabled devices. Policies can be based on IP addresses, application profiles, port number, quality-of-service markings, time of day and many more – tis makes management much easier for diverse IOT devices. Another important benefit for BFSI is its zero touch provisioning which means that deployments can be achieved in days rather than months without the need of skilled workforce in each site.

At a time when performing business at a high speed is fundamental, coupled with increasing pressure on the network, it is imperative that the network evolves in order to keep pace with the surge in workloads. The following is a hypothetical example of how SD-WAN and IoT can be collaborated by financial services in India:

Imagine that a smart home device manufacturer launches an app that combines energy saving with banking. This app will monitor the electric energy consumption of the user and will track the amount of energy saved by the user. The app will set milestones for the user, completing which, the user can receive membership points from the banks, which can be availed at various stores. This creates the need for SD-WAN.

The smart home device app will send the sensory data from the user’s appliances to the IoT application gateway that will collect and analyse the shared information in real-time. The IoT gateway will then seamlessly connect with the gateway of the bank’s server network, resulting in an easy transaction of information. The bank’s server network will then process the data and award the user with suitable reward points. This back and forth of data is carried out on different network paths, which are selected on the basis of security and workload traffic. This smooth and automated exchange of data is precisely where SD-WAN plays a crucial role.

Technology adoption in BFSI is reaching the next level to support digital transformation, this raises security challenges. BFSI firms needs to collaborate with Government, OEM’s, network operators to create a framework of security that enables them control and privacy of data. another concept that is picking up to meet this is Software defined perimeter,  that solves the problem of stopping network attacks on application infrastructure the approach combines on device authentication, identity-based access and dynamically provisioned connectivity. While the security components in SDP are common place, the integration of the three components is fairly novel. 

The burgeoning IoT trend in the BFSI space is proof that the once traditional sector is now keen to leverage modern technology to serve its customers better.

The author is Head of solutions South East Asia & India, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

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