Financial Services are experiencing several trends that impact IT, both from within the business organization and from external sources. These trends impact both the regional bank organizations and the larger investment firms.

In the regional space, competition to gain and retain customers drives investment in mobile banking, data protection, and remote services, while cutting fees and applying new regulations that lessen bank income. Acquisitions and mergers keep IT organizations busy through data consolidation and integration. In the near future, some banking organizations are looking to replace human tellers with kiosks which handle the majority of walk-in traffic. This will reduce the number of people on staff, but for IT, it will increase the data load and services required to support these systems.

Larger investment firms continue to spend enormous amounts of money to achieve ultra-low latency in trading services, gaining a competitive edge with every nanosecond saved from application response times. With the huge move to mobility and custom applications, these firms are finding ways to keep their investors connected and trading around the clock. With network and application performance in these environments, the unexpected is unacceptable. IT organizations are expected to have complete visibility at all hours, capturing everything, everywhere – 24/7.

Computer Networks for Banking and Finance

Regional Banking Sector

In the regional banking sector, many business and customer facing applications are hosted in a hybrid or private Cloud, but are considered the responsibility of the IT organization for monitoring and analysis.This can present a challenge to Network Engineers when they are tasked with responding to customer complaints in a system that is supported on components they cannot access. In the regional branch network, voice and video services to kiosks, as well as larger data loads put a strain on legacy infrastructure devices. In larger investment firms, after making huge investments in the network and application infrastructure to gain ultra-low latency in response time, IT budgets may be exhausted, making it difficult to expand and upgrade internal systems. Critical monitoring and analysis tools may be cut from a budget, which ties the hands of engineers when a problem does strike.

With huge focus on security, IT organizations have had to designate an individual or a group to become security analysts on both the wired and wireless network. They have needed to keep pace with threats, both external and internal to the firewall. This has greatly increased the visibility needed around the clock in all corners of the system, including in the wireless network with the security concerns around BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

Key Considerations

For a regional bank, if the ITorganization does not keep up with current trends toward automation, mobility, and improved online services, they may lose customers. Any performance hit or service outage will impact the bottom line and affect competitiveness. When migrating a service to a hybrid cloud or monitoring one which is already hosted here, consider implementing performance based management to measure and ensure customer service levels. Any delay, loss, or outage can be quickly alerted and identified to IT, enabling them to begin the path to resolution before there is a huge impact to customers. Instead of reactive analysis after a problem strikes, banks need to implement proactive analysis with reaction models in place in the event of an issue.

As the future begins to change the face of branch networks, monitoring tools need to be included as a part of the budget, enabling engineers to access detailed performance and usage information system-wide.Larger Investment firms need to consider further investments in analysis systems that will keep nanosecond response times from creeping up as systems take on more and more transactions.

 

Best Practices for IT Systems in Banking

Any bank, large or small, needs to ensure both security and performance across every touch point possible in the infrastructure. For applications in the cloud, IT needs a way of monitoring and measuring end user response time. For data housed locally, or for critical banking applications, every packet needs to be captured, around the clock. Automated analysis on this data for security threats and performance bottlenecks needs to be done at line rate, alerting Network Engineers to any sign of trouble. Focus must be on proactive rather than reactive troubleshooting, analyzing weak systems and taking action before there is any disruption in service.

Since many applications are now hosted in a hybrid or private cloud, a key thing for engineers to ensure is adequate bandwidth, performance, and security for in-house employees that need access. This includes building and maintaining a secure BYOD policy for mobile devices that are used to connect to these systems. An “Eyes in the Sky” wireless analysis system needs to be in place to monitor and enforce access policies, locating any rogue devices that are not allowed on the network, as well as any interferers that are impacting performance for approved users and traffic.

Benefits

A secure, stable, high-performance network with perfect uptime, providing seamless access to customer services and transactions – that is the constant goal of any financial institution. Without the proper proactive monitoring and analysis tools, this target is very difficult to attain. Even if it seems that the network is problem free and that IT has achieved its goals, increasing transactions, new types of security threats, and migration to new technologies will always mix things up. Analysis data gives engineers actionable data, which improves response time to performance and security problems, which ultimately keeps customers safe and happy.

Tools

Visual TruView™
TruView is a single analysis appliance that leverages key data sources such as packet inspection, transaction analysis, netflow, and SNMP to present a correlated view of network and application performance in a single, easy to understand dashboard view. These dashboards are critical in any IT environment for one-click root cause analysis to quickly understand and resolve performance problems. TruView automatically calibrates itself to performance baselines, even at remote sites. Simple dashboards and deep packet inspection allows for collaboration between Network Operations and Engineering in the event of a problem, giving each the critical data needed in order to resolve it.

 

TruView Appliance

OptiView® XG Network Analysis Tablet
The OptiView XG provides unparalleled visibility into server and application performance, network infrastructure health, link utilization, and network service health. The analysis tablet is equipped with a 10Gig interface, which allows for link verification through line-rate capacity testing as well as lossless packet capture. The Path Analysis and 1 Click NetTest features allow a path through the network to be identified and analyzed, isolating pain points to a single link. Application dependencies can be determined and tested using the on-board ClearSight Analyzer and the Application Infrastructure feature.AirMagnet Analyzer, Spectrum XT, and Planner also available on the OPV XG are critical for identifying and resolving problem points in the Wireless Environment, especially when preparing for BYOD.

 

OptiView XG

Network Time Machine™
The Network Time Machine allows network engineers to keep a handle on application performance even in high bandwidth environments which support thousands of users, while providing packet-level detail for events that have occurred in the past. The Atlas feature automatically searches through Terabytes of stored packet data, combing for periods of degraded performance for critical applications and VoIP services.

 

Network Time Machine

AirMagnet Enterprise v10
This “Eyes in the Sky” solution monitors Enterprise Wireless networks for performance and security threats, 24/7, alerting Network Engineers when a problem strikes. This system is geared toward analyzing and supporting BYOD, since a mobile solution cannot be everywhere all the time. Sensors installed throughout the system ensure that wireless visibility is provided in all corners of the network, both on and off carpet.

 

AirMagnet Enterprise

AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer
The AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer is the industry standard mobile tool for auditing and troubleshooting enterprise Wi-Fi networks. IT Technicians and Engineers alike are equipped with the critical data needed to quickly solve end-user issues while automatically detecting security threats and wireless network vulnerabilities. AirMagnet WiFi identifies BYOD devices, enabling IT to stay ahead of users as they connect to the network with phones and tablets. The onboard AirWise feature gives actionable alerts for performance and security problems, enabling technicians to resolve problems without the need for expert-level RF training.

The AirMagnet Analyzer is available on the OptiView XG Analysis Tablet or as a stand-alone product.

 

AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer

OneTouch™ AT Network Assistant
The OneTouch AT is a one-touch tool used for client to Cloud testing, over the wired or wireless network. Application response time is measured and broken down by connection time, service response time, and network latency. Troubleshoot client connection through the wired or Wi-Fi connection, while measuring network services hosted locally and within the cloud. The OneTouch AT can be accessed remotely for team collaboration with other members of the IT organization.

 

OneTouch AT

 

 

Banking and Financial Computer Network Resources

Fluke Networks provides many resources to help our customers solve (Computer Networks for the Financial Industry) challenges. Some require a simple registration. See a complete listing of webcasts, white papers and application notes for other topics.

White papers:

The Business Impacts of IT Service Operation in Financial Services: assessing the cost of application performance issues
You know application performance issue are impacting your organization. But how do you quantify that impact on the company?

Trying to create a calculator that perfectly reflects your organization’s environment is probably not worth the effort. Just for starters, your calculator is likely to be obsolete as soon as it’s created, as shifting weights in your business will foil any attempt at rigid, dollars-and-cents perfection.
Balancing Business and Risk in the Cloud
For the last decade industry pundits have driven home the concept that IT organizations need to closely align the services that they provide with needs of their company’s business unit managers. While it is impossible to deny the need to better align IT with the business, it is also impossible to deny that while that concept is easy to advocate, it can be very difficult to achieve.
Download Now »
2012 Application & Delivery Handbook
As we enter the next era of Application Delivery, leading IT organizations must focus on improving their ability to ensure acceptable application and service delivery.

Throughout this 5 part handbook, Ashton, Metzler and Associates looks at how to ensure applications and services that an enterprise uses can be effectively managed, exhibit acceptable performance, incorporate appropriate levels of security and are cost effective.

 

Webcasts:

Cloud Computing Series: Part I What is Cloud Computing, How is it Going to Evolve, and Where Do I Start First?
Guest presenter, Industry Analyst Dr. Jim Metzler of Ashton, Metzler and Associates, will discuss the evolution of cloud computing, and where he thinks it’s going next.

But first, he’ll cover the basics. What is cloud computing? What about public vs. private vs. hybrid?
Cloud Computing Series: Part II Considerations for Public vs. Private
Guest presenter, Industry Analyst Dr. Jim Metzler of Ashton, Metzler and Associates, will discuss the key drivers to move to a private cloud (speed, quality, costs, control, security) while keeping in mind considerations for standards, security and return on investment.
Cloud Computing Series: Part III The Impact on Your Organization and Culture
Join Visual Network Systems and Dr. Jim Metzler of Ashton Metzler & Associates, as we review strategies for -

•Elevating IT organizations to manage overall quality of service and critical applications for an organization
•Developing strategies for managing your private Cloud and dealing with a public and hybrid cloud
•Best practices for developing an ROI methodology around Cloud investments
•Overcoming obstacles to implementing public cloud solutions

 

Product Solutions:

AirMagnet Enterprise v10
Trust and Verify your WLAN with AirMagnet Enterprise.
Visual TruView™
A Single Appliance Approach to Unified Application Performance Monitoring & Troubleshooting