Why Zero Trust is Crucial for Fintech

November 28, 2022
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Ibexlabs
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Zero Trust
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The relationship of data to security breaches is proportional. For fintech organizations which contain or process a lot of sensitive data, implementing a Zero Trust Architecture is crucial to maintain customer trust, and comply with regulatory standards.

If you are a fintech company, your customers have given you their precious personal data in exchange for the convenience that your technology provides. You made their life simpler, but their data is sacred, and it’s up to you to protect their information. 

Fintech companies are also driven to find agile yet secure cloud solutions that comply with the rapid increase in regulatory oversight of the industry. 

Your #1 Concern: Data Breaches

Regardless of your fintech vertical - consumer banking, insurtech, peer-to-peer payment services, trading platforms, crypto or blockchain technologies, there remains a good amount of skepticism in how you handle data, even among early fintech adopters (E&Y, 2019). 

The relationship of data to security breaches is proportional. The more valuable personal information you have, the greater likelihood that you will be a target of hackers. 

Your #2 Concern:  Compliance Constraints

Data privacy is not the only reason for tightening the cloud perimeter. Financial regulators have implemented statutory frameworks that require increased transparency, oversight, and accountability, such as GDPR and MiFID in the European Union, and in the US - the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN); the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

That’s what makes Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) crucial to fintech operations, whose databases contain so much of a company’s sensitive and regulated  information. 

What is Zero Trust Architecture? 

Simply put, ZTA’s tagline is “never trust- always verify, limit privilege, and assume breaches”.  

Zero trust controls access to assets, no matter who you are or what device you connect with. Stronger controls over corporate resources by limiting access means you leave less opportunity, less holes in the wall of trust between you and your customers’ data, ensuring that only authorized users and their devices have to access what is necessary for their role, and no more than that. 

“Zero trust was created to overcome the network architecture,” said Jay Chaudhry, founder and CEO of Zscaler, recognized as a Leader in the inaugural Gartner 2022 Magic Quadrant for Security Service Edge. 

"The continued adoption of SaaS applications and public cloud along with the move toward using the Internet as the corporate network has made legacy firewalls and VPNs irrelevant, exposing businesses to widespread ransomware infections and zero-day attacks,” Chaudhry said.   

Crowdstrike’s co-founder and CEO George Kurtz recently noted, “Everyone wants to make sure customers are protected…And they want dedicated technology that is more advanced than signature-based anti-virus.” 

To make matters worse, Gartner has found that found that 75% of security failures are attributable to human error in managing access privileges and identities, up from 50% two years ago.

Zero Trust Architecture in the Cloud

Cloud security services act as brokers, connecting verified users and their devices to applications. At its core, ZTA microsegments at the application level, creating secure tunnels for authorized users to access only what they need. Tunnels make applications invisible to attackers, reducing attack surface while also making it possible for users to easily access what they need. 

Latency is also reduced in ZTA cloud environments. Traffic is no longer routed through a data center to the internet but directly to the cloud platform. Zero trust architecture combined with VDI technologies provides administrators with central oversight so that they can control what users can and cannot access.

In cloud deployments, zero trust is based on a shared responsibility model where security is divided between your company, cloud providers, and vendors of the cloud services being used, like Ibexlabs.

Security and resilience in the cloud are only possible when everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities. Shared responsibility recognizes that cloud vendors like Ibexlabs ensure that their products and services are secure by default. 

How to Implement Cloud-Based Zero Trust Architecture?

The most important issues to remember about ZTA is that it is not a single technology, product or service, it is not a one-size-fits all model, and it needs constant attention. 

Anything less than these core principles falls short of the ZTA promise: 

  • Endpoint threat detection by establishing no trust by default 
  • Identity access management (IAM) which applies trust with dynamic and continuous verification 
  • Privileged access management (PAM) giving the “least privilege” 
  • Segmentation to ensure the best possible end-user experience 
Am I Required to Implement Zero Trust Architecture? 

The short answer is it depends. Certain vectors in the fintech space are more regulated than others. And your compliance obligations can depend on where your company is located and the precise definition of the services you offer. 

Does that mean you are off the hook? 

No, and you wouldn’t want to be. If customers are the heart and soul of your business, personal data protection is your honor code. More importantly, the ever-changing regulatory landscape means that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It's far easier to be prepared for a compliance audit than to repair your operations afterward. 

What Can Ibexlabs Do For You? 

If you are migrating from an existing AWS cloud, or from on-prem or private cloud to a complete AWS cloud, we can help you build the right cloud application model to secure your customers’ data so you can meet ZTA’s core principles. 

We understand that scalability, security, and technology resilience are some essential attributes for migrating to the cloud. We combine this understanding with technical savvy to create a precise, strategic blueprint for each client. This includes choices related to methodology, applications, and timing; what falls under the cloud transformation umbrella, and what does not.

We are a SOC2-certified AWS Security Partner with a special focus on Identity and Access Management. And because we are also an AWS Level 1 Managed Security Service Provider, we can handle even the most complex security configurations. We leverage automated and integrated security tools that orchestrate a response to any security event—preemptively—to ensure the integrity of your system and devices.

Why Ibexlabs?

When you work with Ibexlabs, you know that AWS provides the ‘security of the cloud,’ and we work together to build ‘security in the cloud.’

  • Our industry experience in building ZTA in the cloud for fintech companies stems from our hard-won AWS competencies as a SOC2 certified AWS  Security Partner and an AWS Level 1 Managed Security Service Provider. 
  • Our staff has the knowledge, skill, ability, and certified expertise to build the most secure environment for you. 
  • Our startup is personal – to us and to you. We see you as a strategic partner and we build together so you get the most out of our innovation.
  • Our team is agile. We move fast, without layers of bureaucracy, to create the most groundbreaking solutions for you. 
  • Our competitive pricing means you get the most bang for your buck. 
Ibexlabs Will
  • Find the right cloud application model that ensures cost efficiency, scalability, performance, and speed to deployment with the right mix of public and private cloud tools and services.
  • Create detailed cloud implementation strategies that cover workloads, resource allocation, and service deployment.
  • Ensure that data confidentiality is the core of your business so you can show your customers their data is safeguarded and your cloud environment is audit-ready with a comprehensive range of managed security services.

Ibexlabs

Ibexlabs is a team of disruptive thinkers. We support businesses by building scalable, agile, and innovative infrastructure through AWS and DevOps technology. We help companies of all sizes get the most from the cloud and their applications.

Talk to an Ibexlabs Cloud Advisor