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3 Simple Steps to Get Started with Security and Compliance  in FinTech

Kubernetes Kubernetes Governance Shifting Security Left
3 Simple Steps to Get Started with Security and Compliance  in FinTech
Kubernetes Kubernetes Governance Shifting Security Left

Overview

Cloud Native technologies present a huge opportunity for businesses and organizations across several sectors, most notably, within the Finance and Banking fields.

During the past year, the adoption of Cloud-Native technologies has rapidly increased among various sectors and geographies. According to recent studies by CNCF, there has been an increase of 10 percentage points in the implementation of containers, in the last 12 months. Container orchestration tools are logically receiving more attention as well, showing a 7 percentage point increase in the last year. 

451 Research projects that the overall market for containers will hit roughly $2.7 billion in 2020, a 3.5- fold increase from the $762 million spent on container-related technology in 2016.

Key Benefits of Cloud-Native Technologies in FinTech 

Financial institutions that embark on the journey of adopting Cloud-Native technologies and deploying Kubernetes often seek similar benefits and face common challenges along the way. There is immense knowledge to be drawn from the proper understanding and analysis of the historical challenges and triumphs in the field. 

This is why the following section will summarize the main perceived and realized benefits that financial institutions have observed

  1. Rapid innovation: Most companies in the financial sector, especially in banking, tend to lack the ability to move quickly and innovate rapidly. Deploying Kubernetes and other Cloud-Native technologies gives them the opportunity to act with and even before the market rather than after the market.
  2. Development flexibility and agility: Among the most obvious benefits of adopting a cloud-native strategy is the immense improvement of the internal development capabilities. More specifically, deploying container orchestration tools increases the flexibility and agility in developing and maintaining various services and microservices.
  3. Cost efficiency through reusable software components: The next common benefit is the implementation of reusable software components in the creation and launch of new services. This point has a two-fold advantage in that it allows development teams to focus on adding value quickly without dealing with the boring repetitive work. And that successively leads to significant cost efficiencies in the development and design departments.

Security and Compliance in FinTech Industry

In banking networks and financial institutions in general, data protection at rest and during transit is important. Security architectures in a standard payment network are currently a mix of intrusive implementation of security (code-level) and additional external security layers. Code-centered access controls are important to regulate the management of access to data.

Although some areas of concern remain, cloud and Kubernetes security is rapidly developing. The combination of the policy management of the service mesh and the network layer provides the granular level control of service access necessary for financial services companies.

Features such as pod security policies, cluster security policies, network policies, and routing policies ensure that external threats are less sensitive to the services. Without the need for conventional security frameworks, CNI modules such as calico and cilium allow robust security mechanisms.

It is possible to handle multi-tenancy and domain isolation across business applications by using Kubernetes namespaces, network policies, and cluster policies. Most of these protection measures are external to the company application, allowing company issues to be easily differentiated from technological issues.

Safety and security once again top the list of container-strategy issues. Due to security issues, 44 percent of companies have postponed the introduction of apps into production, mitigating the greatest advantage of containerization-agility. Nearly everybody in Kubernetes and in container environments has witnessed a security incident. In fact, just 6% in the last 12 months have NOT had a security incident.

The Need for Governance in the FinTech Space

Multiple organizations that have committed to deploying Kubernetes and other cloud-native systems have shared the concern that technology evolution tends to run ahead of the necessary governance change.

There is a universal need to create governance strategies that allow companies to independently develop, configure, and operate each microservice in a Kubernetes cluster. Institutions tend to struggle to establish the necessary oversight and governance over data, regulatory compliance, and risk management.

Overall, establishing the right governance strategy is a crucial part of adopting cloud-native technologies, especially in the highly regulated financial sector. Luckily, there are now companies that are in the position to help the organization monitor, track, and establish the necessary strategies in order to enable the company-wide deployment of Kubernetes and other Cloud-Native technologies.


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3 Steps Formula for FinTech Governance and Compliance Success

For banks, financial institutions, and FinTech companies to achieve better compliance, banks and financial institutions should:

  • Step 1: Programmatically enforce security standards with policy-as-code
  • Step 2: Implement the right workflows and playbooks
  • Step 3: Create Compliance Reporting and Analytics

Step 1: Programmatically Enforce Security Standards with Policy-as-Code

When enterprises integrate policy-as-code within their DevOps workflows, it helps build a developer-centric experience with continuous deployment for cloud-native applications. In this scenario, you can establish "automated operators" within the Kubernetes cluster or your cloud infrastructure to continuously monitor the repositories for changes.

Whenever a change is discovered, the operators automatically trigger an update. This approach helps achieve exceptional governance levels in all clusters from a single source of truth and normalizes hybrid environments.

By enforcing policies across the organization, you can:

  • Apply governance standards across all K8s clusters with a single click.
  • Implement enterprise policy checks for your cloud environments with rules that fit your organization's specific requirements.
  • Validate infrastructure compliance earlier in the software development lifecycle
  • Instill security measures into your DevOps workflows and thus improving the overall robustness of your infrastructure
  • Help teams get up to speed with complex governance and compliance issues.
  • Accelerate the scaling of security, governance, and compliance in a cloud-native stack with dozens of out-of-the-box policies.
  • Respond quickly with dynamic workflows whenever you make changes.
  • Enforce best practices and organizational conventions with tailored and robust policies
  • Automate security and compliance into your CI/CD workflows

Step 2: Implement the Right Workflows and Playbooks

By creating a centralized playbook, enacted and enforced across the whole SDLC lifecycle, you can then enable your teams to innovate faster without compromising security. The playbook can include industry regulatory policies or IT standards and benchmarks. Or customized rules you would like to enforce across the organization.

The right workflows will:

  • Help teams get up to speed with complex governance and compliance issues.
  • Accelerate the scaling of security, governance, and compliance in a cloud-native stack with dozens of out-of-the-box policies.
  • Respond quickly with dynamic workflows whenever you make changes.
  • Enforce best practices and organizational conventions with tailored and robust policies
  • Automate security and compliance into your CI/CD workflows 

Step 3: Create Compliance Reporting and Analytics

The key ingredient to creating a successful and sustainable governance framework for FinTech companies is transparency between your teams - developers, operations, and security teams.

This can be accomplished through unified compliance reports and dashboards, which provide ample opportunity for teams and stakeholders to review the custom policy report and take the necessary action.

By providing the right visibility:

  • Developers should be able to get immediate automated feedback on their code’s and applications’ compliance, i.e., policy violations
  • DevOps should be able to see the overall posture of your applications and infrastructure compliance.
  • Security teams should get timely inputs about critical internal or technology changes that might impact your system’s security posture and applications.
  • Identify cloud resources that violate your enterprise policies and obtain information needed to correct them
  • Provide recommendations on how to improve the organization’s security posture
  • Policies defined
  • Discrepancies or gaps
  • Remediation recommendations on the discrepancies found
  • Real-time Kubernetes cluster compliance report:  a comparison between the state of the environment against regulatory requirements and standard IT security standards from NIST and CIS

The FinTech Industry is heavily filled with industry-specific regulations and standards that all organizations must adhere to. The regular reporting and analytics, compliance reports are crucial to the security team, who can pass these reports on to auditors. The compliance report can include:

How Can Magalix Help?

You can Run an Efficient, Reliable, and Secure Cloud-Native Stack with Robust Governance Protocols.

Magalix is in the business of helping companies enforce governance-as-code across their entire Kubernetes and cloud infrastructure. We help organizations adopt a security-first mindset and bake security practices into DevOps workflows. We do that through:

  1. Policy-as-code to programmatically enforce security standards
  2. Implementing the right workflows and playbooks, enforce policies at the right time, and enabling teams to innovate faster
  3. Reports and analytics to provide everyone the right visibility

Request a Demo with one of our experts to learn more!  

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