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Future-Proofing Banks for the Digital Age

Like companies in many other industry sectors, banking institutions are forging ahead with ambitious digital transformation strategies that will improve their business agility. Clearly, the ability to meet and serve customers whenever and from wherever they require service, is more important today than ever. For banks to succeed they must be able to deliver highly personalized products and services designed to address these and other ever-evolving customer expectations.

One of the immediate priorities is to satisfy smartphone-wielding customers who want simplified and on-demand experiences across every channel. In particular, these customers now expect a variety of self-service and innovative in-branch services that enable more consistent, secure, and reliable financial transactions.

To stay ahead of these demands, forward-thinking financial institutions are recognizing the need to reinvent banking for the digital age. In some cases, that might involve partnering with Fintechs to further extend customer engagement by introducing highly personalized offerings. In other cases, that might mean leveraging IoT devices and block chain technologies to introduce new financial instruments and automate key processes.

However, one critical obstacle to banks’ digital transformation strategies is their current reliance on legacy network infrastructure—specifically, wide area networks (WANs). Unwieldy and inflexible, traditional WANs are both costly and complex to manage, and it can take months to spin up new connectivity or services to remote branches.

SD-WAN: Enabling a Future-Ready Digital Enterprise

Banks that want to achieve fast-paced digital transformation are discovering they first need to rethink their networks. These networks must be able to simplify IT operations and enable secure “on-demand’ connectivity that can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively, avoiding the vulnerabilities of legacy networks.

To make it easier to embrace new business models at speed, these networks also must support newer technologies—such as Big Data, mobility, the cloud, and software-as-a-service (SaaS)—that extend traditional enterprise perimeters. As a result, many banks are now embracing software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and network function virtualization (NFV) solutions to address their dynamic connectivity demands.

Purpose-built to deliver agile, secure, and scalable connectivity, SD-WANs provide the high-speed networking and borderless infrastructure that streamlines data movement across the entire network while making it easier to configure and manage networks across multiple locations.

The Business Benefits of Virtual Networks

Leveraging all available connectivity options (including MPLS, broadband, 4G, and 5G), SD-WANs automate many network functions to optimize both performance and the customer experience. Along with providing more affordable capacity, SD-WANs reduce the complexity of connecting people, devices, and locations to the cloud and the corporate network itself.

SD-WANs achieve this by abstracting the complexity of the underlying network to create a virtual layer that simplifies network operations. This eliminates any need to deal with multiple layers of hardware (such as routers, firewalls, and load balancers) that can make it difficult to quickly deploy network updates.

For geographically dispersed organizations that want to simplify branch infrastructure and integrate new locations into the corporate network, SD-WANs can handle these tasks in hours—not months. They can also streamline the rollout of new services and applications to support increasingly dynamic business needs

For retail banks that want to extend multi-channel functionality to a wider branch network, SD-WANs offer a way to centrally manage innovative customer services—such as virtual meetings, self-booking of branch appointments, and a variety of remote transactions.

Together, NFV and SD-WAN Boost Business Agility

Combining NFV with SD-WAN makes it possible for banks to activate core network functions (such as routing, mobility, and security) on demand and consume them on an “as-a-service” basis. By replacing network hardware with software running in the cloud, NFV makes it faster to enhance or modify network functions. This could include everything from firewalls and intrusion detection to traffic prioritization and network performance optimization, along with public cloud services.

In other words, banks that use NFV in conjunction with SD-WAN can automate the delivery of critical services without introducing unnecessary risk, complexity, or cost. Along with making it easier to deploy services in the cloud, banks can streamline the delivery of cloud services across the entire enterprise—including branch locations.

Adopting Next-Generation Technologies at Speed

As financial institutions fast-track their digital transformation strategies to meet rising customer demand for anytime, anywhere transactions, they’re quickly turning to SD-WANs. These software-based networks redefine innovation, whether that involves deploying virtual networks between branches, initiating secure connectivity between cloud-based platforms, or orchestrating threat protection over enterprise Internet access services.

Using modern and reliable SD-WANs, not only will banks be free to innovate at scale and at speed, they’ll be able to introduce new business models simply and cost-effectively. In turn, they’ll have the agile network infrastructure that empowers them to continually redefine their digital future in real time.

 

Michael Cabra, Senior Product Manager, Global and Emerging Markets, Cybera (www.cybera.com)

 

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