Banking in the era of the mobile customer is making financial organizations’ IT goals more aggressive than ever — and failure to compete is no longer an option. Desire for on-the-go options like banking apps, as well as customized experiences that enhance customer care, means two major things for underlying infrastructure: Networks must be more robust and geographically available, and they must offer the utmost security.
To get the best of networking in a time of increasing pressure to provide next-gen capabilities, there are a few considerations that should be top of mind for any financial organization.
What’s Driving New Requirements?
FinTech, or the integration of technology into financial service offerings, is now a core pillar of success in the banking and finance industry. Most organizations across a host of verticals are no stranger to this increasing demand for smart applications and always-on capabilities — these are mere table stakes for the modern digital consumer. In fact, it’s been forecast that by 2022, the share of Americans utilizing digital banking will rise to 65%.
The customer experience is one of the most important drivers in any digital transformation. In finance, the evolving way that customers are looking to interface with their banks and financial institutions means that the target for IT (and the way success is measured) is changing. Of course, existing requirements on the network — like the ability to securely connect assorted bank branches across different geographies — still hold firm. However, the network can’t just connect main locations anymore, it has to connect every end user in real time with the utmost reliability and safety.
Now, success on the customer experience front means being able to access and engage with financial services (transfers, deposits, withdrawals and beyond) anywhere and at any time. Furthermore, customer support options need to be absolutely seamless, and interfaces need to be personalized with more customer information. It’s not a complex goal to outline, but it can be a challenge to realize for organizations currently undergoing IT transformations.
The Keys to Keeping Pace
Key considerations for ensuring new customer-driven demands for availability and robust capability can be met comes down to: network redundancy and geographic diversity, security, flexibility. Let’s break those down:
Redundancy and Diversity: Network redundancy and geographic diversity simply means a backup plan in case a network path or piece of equipment suffers from a failure — whether that be from a natural disaster, human error or otherwise. By adding unique fiber routes, organizations eliminate points of failure and increase their chances of maintaining that always-on access for customers’ applications and financial portals.
Carrier diversity is what often comes to mind when creating redundancy, but this doesn’t always solve the challenge. Having multiple service providers on board can increase the chances that fiber paths are unique, but not guarantee it. This is because carriers can still utilize the same fiber routes. When building out full redundancy and diversity, due diligence is vital.
Security: Protecting the sensitive information that traverses these networks is paramount for avoiding costly data breaches and loss of customer confidence. Choosing the right fiber strategy can make all the difference here. For instance, dark fiber is a great option for enhancing security (without sacrificing control and scalability) because it’s privately owned and operated, keeping customer data away from the public internet.
Flexibility: Despite requirements being similar across the world of financial institutions, the way these requirements will be met on a case-by-case basis is anything but cookie-cutter. Organizations require a fiber provider that will understand their unique goals and customize a network plan to empower those goals. Not every provider will approach digital transformations the same way, but keeping pace with new digital objectives calls for agile solutions from beginning to end that ensure ease for organizations, not added complexity. As such, the partner selection process can make all the difference — keep an eye out for a true ally that’s dedicated to customer support and care.
To learn more about how Horizon supports evolving financial IT requirements, click here.