By Peter Godden, VP EMEA at Zerto
Financial companies are under constant pressure to deliver highly critical business continuity. Customers expect constant and secure access to their data and money. With the growing development of online shopping, contactless payment and internet banking, not only do banks have to deal with an upsurge in data but they also need to be aware of the security concerns they bring with them.
Although arguably one of the most restricted, and highly regulated industries, the financial sector leads the way in terms of exploring new technologies and ways of working and that can leave it more vulnerable to security breaches and downtime. The financial sector underpins the economy with mission critical data on-the-line, so even a few minutes of downtime can have disastrous consequences. Financial institutions need to be prepared for any form of outage that could result in a discontinued service, whether as a result of hardware failure, human error, natural disaster or malicious sabotage. It’s imperative financial organisations can be up and running again within minutes and maintain continuity.
Picture this scenario: it’s 5:31pm on payday and you have a long bank holiday weekend ahead. You head to the bar after work, ready to buy a round of drinks for your colleagues only to find your card doesn’t work. Not only does the chip and pin not work in the bar, but after walking down the road to the ATM you realise you have no access to your funds. It’s payday so you know it’s not because of a lack of money. When you head back into the bar you realise you’re not the only frustrated customer whose card has been declined. After such a substantial bank outage, which can leave customers without funds for a number of days, it’s no surprise they might look to bank elsewhere. Downtime not only affects revenue, it damages a company’s reputation.
The bare minimum customers expect from their bank is reliability and on demand access to their accounts; anything less than this and their trust and custom is gone. In today’s digital age, investing in a robust Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) solution is critical to maintaining customer trust.
Capacity and DDOS attacks
Cloud could provide the answer. In the past two years, JP Morgan, HSBC and RBS, have all been subject to high profile cyber attacks that have disrupted their services. The advantage of cloud-based recovery is it is more difficult for potential hackers to launch a sustained attack against a cloud provider, compared to a static data centre. The cloud also offers greater capacity, helping to protect against Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDOS). The near infinite bandwidth and capacity of cloud providers means they can also be near enough immune to volume-based attacks.
Testing your recovery
Financial organisations not only need to have a DR strategy in place but they need to test it to guarantee business continuity for their customers. Testing can be one of the most complex aspects of DR which can deter many organisations from running them regularly, but this leaves them vulnerable. It’s like holding an out of date insurance policy. Businesses need to make sure their DR system works and that they can recover within minutes.
In the event a disaster does strike, the first few minutes are critical and businesses need to be able to recover as quickly as possible. With cloud-based BC/DR, organisations can revert back to minutes before the outages, ensuring they have up to date resources and files. Relying on incomplete backups taken 12-24 hours previously could take hours to restore, leaving organisations with downtime they cannot afford.
A worthwhile investment
The reality is an outage can occur at any time and the financial sector needs to be prepared for it or risk losing revenue and customers. While many organisations have barriers in place to detect a malicious attack, human error, hardware failures and natural disasters can also result in downtime. With cloud based BC/DR, financial organisations will be in a far better place to offer continuity, helping to retain their customers and protect their profit margins.