Of all the customers I meet, those in financial services are undergoing one of the most significant shifts when it comes to the digitization of their industry, replacing their brick and mortar locations that see hundreds of customers a day with online services that now reach millions in the same time. And to make matters more challenging, they are balancing this digital “need for speed” under the strictest security and privacy laws of almost any industry. This puts many of the IT and InfoSec leaders in financial services I talk to between a rock and a hard place – they must develop new applications quickly to retain their competitive edge and maintain their share of the market, without sacrificing the trust their customers and auditors put in them to protect sensitive data transiting the application. Equens, leading financial services provider to the top banks in Europe, was looking for a proactive and agile cloud security solution to solve this problem – which is why they came to us on the recommendation of their strategic integration partner, Atos.
We recently sat down with Ian Saggers, the global head of IT infrastructure at Equens. He explained the scale of his business - serving banks and their end customers in numerous countries across Europe and reaching a record peak last year, on the Sunday before Christmas, by processing over 27 million point-of-sale transactions in a single DAY. Like many of his peers who have been in financial services for quite a while, Ian is driving Equens to constantly innovate in order to keep up with all the new FinTech players. Equens has introduced solutions for peer-to-peer online payments and mobile payment apps, while still maintaining their hundreds of thousands point-of-sale stations that are not going away anytime soon. In short, as Ian stated, “there are many entry points from the web into our systems” and his job is to keep them all up and running, securely.
Adding to that, as an international financial services provider, Equens is under personal credit information (PCI) mandates AND banking governance laws that are unique to each country. Handling all these regulations while still providing the best service to clients created a need for change in the way Equens was doing security, to keep up with these business demands AND stay compliant. The manual rule updates for the thousands of firewalls in Ian's team was unmanageable, inefficient and costly – and was viewed as a roadblock by the application development team that wanted to be pushing out software updates daily, not quarterly. The rising cost of maintaining these hardware-based solutions and their constant refresh cycles every 5 years was also a factor to consider as they looked to redesign their security architecture to be more dynamic.
Ian wanted to move to a DevSecOps model that could deliver security policy at the speed of the workloads the AppDev team demanded. This approach would also help Ian stay ahead of the constant stream of cyber attacks, to “put us on the front foot instead of the back foot of security.” This is where we were able to come in with our partner Atos to provide Equens the agile and proactive software-based security system they needed for their new digital reality.
With vArmour, Ian’s team will be able to centrally manage all of their application-layer security policies through a single interface across their entire data center and cloud estate… reducing rule change times from weeks to minutes, so the business no longer has to “wait” for security. vArmour also provides continuous monitoring of their networks, applications, and users, so Equens standard SecOps approach of reviewing logs of what has already happened is replaced with visibility into “someone trying to get in right now.” And after detecting these attacks, Equens can take swift action using vArmour’s application-aware micro-segmentation controls, significantly minimizing the potential impact of these incidents.
Working with Atos, we look forward to our continued partnership with Equens and Ian to provide the proactive and agile security they need.