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By Smita Dave, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager, Ixia

Smita Dave

Smita Dave

The financial industry has experienced a variety of challenges over the past several years – many of which revolve around operating in a new economic context after the financial crisis, restoring public confidence in the industry, and competing with new, aggressive, non-traditional innovators.

With the rise of Fintech in a digitized world, financial institutions are racing to embrace new-age technologies and delight customers with enhanced mobile and digital experiences. However, keeping up with the technology innovations presents a challenge in itself. Cyber insecurity, cost reduction, regulatory mandates, as well as next-gen platform and process changes resulting from new technology, are just a few. Several of these challenges have fallen upon IT to resolve.

Here are five of the top IT challenges financial institutions are facing today:


  • Reducing security breaches and cyber theft, while increasing the business value of customer relationships
  • Achieving compliance to regulatory mandates
  • Transforming business to open doors for mobile and digital financial experiences
  • Leveraging technology to ensure a competitive advantage
  • Using technology to improve overall network performance

Unfortunately new technologies have also created new security risks. Specifically, security breaches and ransomware that are becoming more organized than ever, are causing new and varied thefts of personally identifiable information (PII), financial, behavioral and historical data.

As an example, the incredible $81 million fraudulent transfer from Bangladesh Bank,or the recent cyber theft from Tesco Bank, illustrate that traditional approaches to security are not sufficient or even worse companies are not taking the threat seriously. Kaspersky labs reported that financial phishing attacks were at an all-time high in 2016, with financial attacks accounting for nearly half (47.48%) of the 155 million phishing scams recorded.

But, the challenges for IT are not restricted to security alone. Financial institutions must deal with regulatory issues, such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that are designed to create greater transparency and stability in the global banking system.

In addition, in the new economic, digitized, and transformational environment, some of the dynamic technological shifts require financial institutions to quickly adapt to new and next-generation platforms, mobile banking and robust cyber security. Outdated core IT systems are a significant concern for global bankers. These typically translate into poor network integrations and the creation of blind spots as disparate corporate data networks attempting to communicate with each other transmit data incorrectly.

Threats in your blind spots

Blind spots are areas in which IT does not have complete visibility into what is happening on the network or how applications are behaving. Failure to invest in secure, agile systems that enhance digital and mobile banking can result in significant loss while compounding the risk for cyber-attacks. The problem is that the consumer is always a step ahead, impatiently seeking mobile and digital convenience applications. So, financial institutions and banks waiting to upgrade their systems face serious competition from a host of disruptive innovators able to provide customers with seamless and affordable experiences across a variety of channels.

Success for these institutions is highly dependent on how they leverage technology innovations, especially consumerization. Customers are now exploring mobile ready banking and financial apps that help them securely perform online transactions on the go. Online banking and trade is rapidly becoming more convenient via bring your own device (BYOD) as opposed to physically walking into a bank. However, not all consumption is equal, or linear. This service needs to be constantly managed for bandwidth hogs.

For all services in a fast-paced high tech environment, systems need to be robust, high performing and secure. This includes visibility into potential network and application problems that may result from new technology, and the ability to improve the performance of the network. Network visibility and testing solutions are available to help overcome these challenges. The secret is to eliminate network blind spots, perform key network assessments, and harness the power of technology.

Visibility matters

So, how does IT overcome these challenges? Regardless of whether the financial institution is a bank, credit union, brokerage firm, investment or insurance company, it begins with a visibility architecture. A visibility architecture is a fancy term for stepping back to take a holistic look at your network, determine what monitoring data is needed, where to collect the data from, and how to pass that data to monitoring and security tools. Visibility architectures typically result in the addition of taps and network packet brokers to capture and filter the monitoring data. Once you do this, you have the data needed to reduce/eliminate many security and performance related issues.

Another key function is to perform network assessments. This includes network security testing, Wi-Fi network testing, and both wireless and wired performance testing. Testing solutions helps identify problems before they become a serious issue. Deploying the right tested technology to replace outdated, manual processes is the best way to achieve long term success.

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England



Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout



UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)


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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit



Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”


Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)


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