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The future of finserv security

By Stephan Fabel, Director of Product, Canonical

Privacy is a basic human right and always has been. But, it’s only in the last couple years that regulations have caught up. Equally important has been the increased focus on security, which is key to enabling privacy. Just take a look at the number of articles reporting cyber-attacks in a month and you will see the impact of companies not implementing security practices. No organisation is immune to today’s cyber threats, not least financial services companies which process and handle vast amounts of hugely sensitive information. With this in mind, financial service organisations have to choose the right technologies to protect their customers’ valuable data.

One of the most notable security solutions used in modern-day banking and fintech operations is encryption. However, the challenge today is bringing this level of security to the wider industry. When it comes to finance, customers expect the highest levels of security coupled with easy deployment, flexibility, and agility, which is a mammoth task for IT teams. Yet companies like IBM, for example, are offering solutions to overcome this issue.

Welcoming containerisation

Stephan Fabel
Stephan Fabel

Its “secure service container”, developed specifically for container-based applications on IBM’s LinuxONE does just that. It enables developers to extract the same quality of security that they would on Linux, and in any data centre – whether on-premise or in the cloud through a mix of hardware and software.

Linux is easy to deploy, enabling highly functional and easily automated stacks, making it the first choice for next generation finserv infrastructures. In fact, industry titan’s like Barclays have already built entire data centre infrastructures around Linux. Further to providing easy access to innovations and software frameworks, open source software also improves trust, which is critical for security compliance in the long term.

Unlike open source software, with proprietary software you can’t verify all background activities taking place. If there is a bug or a fault in the code, it is difficult to assess the reasons behind them, as only the original developer has access to the backend. Open source, in contrast, is visible to a community of developers, which quickly identifies and fixes bugs or errors.

With containerization, developers can unlock new levels of security, cost savings and efficiency within the finserv sector by moving things to the cloud at the push of a button, where it will run as a virtual machine. These virtual machines can deliver advanced hardware security which developers historically haven’t been able to benefit from, meaning cyber criminals can’t access these applications, even with a computer. Unsurprisingly, banks and fintechs are arming themselves with this technology to protect against increasingly common attack factors, including malware, ransomware and memory scraping.

 Cryptography and blockchain

Quantum computers are becoming increasingly capable of decoding cryptography and within just a decade, they will be able to break all current cryptography keys. Highly dependent on this type of security, the finance sector needs to be prepared for this development in advance. Technology vendors are populating their systems with these types of algorithms, transitioning from firmware into hardware. As quantum computers reach the required level of power, organisations will have to decrypt their data, and re-encrypt it using new methods such as quantum cryptography.

In combination with these new cryptography techniques, blockchain technology will also become one of the primary security algorithms used within the banking and financial industries. The aim of these technologies will be to enable the finserv organisations to operate, test and run analytics without data. What’s more, the industry is strengthened by the growing number of new, innovative players in the space, which will have built their IT infrastructures on non-monolithic systems, and are unencumbered by the shackles of legacy systems.