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Financial Services of the Future: Top Trends Impacting the Industry

As an experienced IT professional, you already have a general idea of what’s coming. By 2030, your financial data center will be swimming in oceans of structured and unstructured data. Your C-suite will demand efficient ways to leverage this big data for a wide range of strategic uses including real-time insights, risk analysis, fraud detection and so much more.

But the challenges won’t stop there. All that big data will make your organization a prime target for cybercriminals and particularly vulnerable to less-nefarious threats such as natural disasters and good old-fashioned human error.

So, what steps can you take now to help your organization scale in the near future and safeguard against security breaches? Let’s look at two emerging trends that are shaping the way financial organizations are pivoting for future growth and improved cybersecurity.

CapEx vs OpEx

A top trend we’re seeing at Cerium Networks is clients transitioning data management from CapEx to OpEx to help increase cost savings and operational efficiency.

Capital Expenditure (CapEx) involves significant upfront investment in on-premises asset, such as servers, storage systems and networking equipment. While initially more expensive, this model allows for greater control over infrastructure and may be more suitable for long-term projects with predictable workloads. We advise clients that stick with this traditional route to leverage solar and renewable energy to minimize their energy costs. We also help them find the best locations (protected from natural disasters) and encourage liquid cooling over air cooling to maximize their investment long-term.

Bucking the CapEx tradition, many clients are shifting to Operating Expenditure (OpEx), which involves paying ongoing expenses for outsourced IT services and cloud-based solutions. OpEx is attractive because it offers greater flexibility, scalability and the ability to adapt quickly to changing demands. It can be particularly advantageous for startups, companies with uncertain growth trajectories or those requiring frequent upgrades. Clients that go this route still need a keen strategy to safeguard against cloud overspending, and they must constantly evaluate business needs to determine which cloud solutions are best.

A hybrid model may also be smart because it offers the benefits of both while mitigating their respective drawbacks.

Deciding which model is best depends on several factors. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

  • Cost: One of the most obvious benefits of cloud computing is cost savings. With cloud solutions, you pay only for what you use, which can be particularly cost-effective for small businesses. On the other hand, maintaining an on-prem infrastructure requires more initial investment but comes with the advantage of fixed and known costs over time.
  • Security: Many organizations have concerns about security in the cloud, but most cloud service providers have more resources available to ensure security than any one company typically has. With on-prem, you need to invest in the right security strategy, and this task can be challenging for many businesses unless they have data security expertise.
  • Scalability: If your business has diverse demands that regularly fluctuate, cloud computing provides an edge. Cloud computing solutions are often flexible enough to handle usage or traffic spikes on demand. You can scale up and down quickly, meaning that you can match your infrastructure with the workload more precisely. With on-prem infrastructure, you need to procure, install and configure new hardware when expanding.
  • Upgrades: Cloud computing lets companies leverage the latest software more quickly than on-prem environments. Cloud platforms have high agility in upgrading or patching software. However, releasing new updates and fixing bugs on-prem varies because your IT team must do it or engage third-party help, which usually takes much longer.

Layering Advanced Cybersecurity Strategies

In 2022, the average cost of a data breach in the financial industry was a whopping $5.97M. That amount grows annually making it critical for financial data centers to implement comprehensive cybersecurity and data protection. We recommend a combination of advanced cybersecurity strategies.

  1. Defensive AI & Machine-Learning Cybersecurity: Hackers are using AI and machine learning to get better at breaching your security. So, your financial data center needs to be using it too. With defensive AI, you can continuously monitor network traffic and user behaviors to identify unusual patterns or anomalies that might indicate malicious activities like unauthorized access or data exfiltration attempts. Machine learning algorithms can also analyze vast amounts of historical data, allowing your system to recognize evolving attack vectors and adapt its defense strategies accordingly.
  2. Network Segmentation: This strategy involves dividing a larger network into smaller segments, each with its own security protocols and access controls. If a hacker gains access to one segment of the network, they cannot move laterally to other segments, reducing the spread and severity of the attack.
  3. Zero Trust Capabilities: This security model assumes that everyone and everything on a network poses a potential security risk so all network traffic must be verified and authenticated, regardless of where it originates.

If you need help future-proofing your cybersecurity and data management services, Cerium Networks can help. We have extensive industry experience transitioning clients from CapEx to OpEx models and can design and implement an array of security strategies including SD-WAN, software-defined perimeter (SDP) and zero trust network access (ZTNA) — all while ensuring PCI DSS and ISO 27001 compliance.

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