Banking today is mobile, 24/7, and global - and legacy IT infrastructure can’t keep up. Consumers in general have zero tolerance for downtime or even lags, especially when it comes to something as critical (and time sensitive) as managing their money. And as network outages grow more frequent overall, the likelihood of your company experiencing one has never been greater.
Given these pressures, how can financial services firms improve their overall resilience to avoid future outages?
Keep reading to learn why there’s never been a better time than right now to focus on overall resilience, and 3 ways to achieve it.
The bad news: outage penalties for banks are on the rise
There’s never been a better time to focus on building reliability into your critical infrastructure, as regulatory agencies move towards penalizing banks for downtime and outages. In 2021, for example, the Bank of Ireland was fined €24.5 million for IT failures. While that number may seem low compared to fines received by banks for other issues, this was solely based upon potential customer impact due to IT issues - the Bank of Ireland didn’t even experience a widespread outage.
All signs point to these types of fines becoming more common. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S., Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K., and the European Banking Authority (EBA) in the EU have all released guidance in recent years on the need for firms to improve overall resilience and ensure high availability.
The good news: regulations have eased, making it easier to embrace cloud-based solutions
Fortunately, most regulatory agencies have now eased regulations to make it easier for firms to tackle digital transformation initiatives. Firms now have the ability to build out truly resilient / redundant infrastructure using cloud-based solutions - without the management headaches.
Modern, cloud-based IT infrastructure gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed - and quickly. API-first solutions allow you to take advantage of observability and monitoring tools to flag issues before they affect customers, and integrate your various solutions to allow for automated failover mechanisms, among other things.
Here are some other key ways to improve the reliability of your infrastructure.
3 things financial services firms can do to improve overall network resilience
Build redundancy into key infrastructure
In general, avoid having single points of failure in critical IT infrastructure. This can mean embracing a multi-CDN strategy, looking for secondary DNS providers to complement your primary setup, and more.
If implemented incorrectly, introducing redundant infrastructure can add to management complexity - and put you at greater risk of experiencing an outage. Look for solutions that integrate seamlessly while still providing that insurance. NS1’s Dedicated DNS solution, for example, is a physically separate DNS network that is fully synchronized and managed from the same control plane as your primary DNS. Learn more about how Dedicated DNS improves overall network resilience here.
Of course, redundant infrastructure is only truly effective when paired with automated failover mechanisms. Intelligent traffic steering solutions and observability tools can help you automatically reroute traffic away from unhealthy endpoints - and therefore spare your end-users from the worst effects.
A common source of outages and downtime is issues with routine maintenance or deployments. In some cases, this is due to human error. Minimize the potential for issues by automating routine tasks and maintenance. Look for API-first solutions that enable automation and orchestration through CI/CD tools and automation workflows.
Protect against DNS-based threats (like DDoS attacks)
Your risk of experiencing a DNS-based threat like a DDoS attack is only going to increase. Look for a DNS provider with massive capacity to absorb dramatic traffic spikes - whether these are from bad actors or from a genuine increase in customer activity.
Another common threat at the DNS layer are spoofing attacks. DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) prevent DNS spoofing attacks by providing origin authentication and integrity of DNS data using digital signatures. While effective, DNSSEC can often end up viewed as a “nice to have” in complex enterprise environments, as it can be complicated to support when using multiple DNS providers for redundancy. NS1 has led the charge on implementing multi-signer DNSSEC - get more details in our blog post: Multi-signer DNSSEC: What it is, Why it matters, & How it works.
How NS1 Helps Banks Protect Against Internet Outages
Given its critical role, DNS can either be your Achilles heel when it comes to outages - or your secret weapon. NS1’s Managed and Dedicated DNS solutions can help you improve overall resilience with:
Robust, automated traffic steering capabilities: use our Filter Chain technology to build custom routing to avoid unhealthy endpoints, optimize for cost and performance, and more
API-first architecture: leverage the latest and greatest tools to automate maintenance, manage deployments, conduct real-time monitoring, and more
Out of the box DNSSEC, and robust DDoS protection features