Case Studies

When Data is the Currency, Network Security should be a Top Priority

AJAX Network Solutions helps bank save costs while expanding network footprint and augmenting security

The Situation

The client is a fast-growing private sector bank that extends commercial, retail and mortgage banking, across key cities in India. With the expansion of its operations, the bank’s network footprint also grew significantly. Realizing data is the currency in the intensely competitive marketplace, ensuring security alongside network expansion became the topmost priority for its CIO. However, he was mandated to accomplish this by being extremely prudent about expenses that would incur. Like any CIO, his key challenge was to fulfill strategic business objectives with limited IT costs.

Internal evaluations had pointed out that the bank’s existing IT team was already over-burdened and their productivity level was not favourable for assuming additional responsibilities. Even the everyday task of ensuring network uptime was proving to be challenging, costly and time-consuming. Further, the CIO also realized that he would need to invest in hiring new resources with appropriate skill sets required for undertaking efforts of the size and scale the bank was planning to. With the addition of new branches and supporting IT infrastructure, he also wanted to ensure proactive measures were taken to prevent or correct issues before they threaten the performance of critical space, assets and equipments. He recalled that on several counts, the bank had faced unplanned outages due to unintentional changes made by the administrators to network security policies. These outages translated into losses amounting to several crores over a period of time.

“The bank’s growth and focus on customer-centricity requires us to bring our attention to the security gaps that threaten us. With over 2500 users across the bank, it is getting increasingly challenging for us, given the limited number of skilled resources at lower outlays available to undertake this activity. Our main goal is to put in place an automated mechanism that would detect threats at a nascent stage and eliminate them before they translate into losses”CIO, Private Bank

The Solution

After evaluating multiple vendors, the bank selected AJAX based on its strong footprint in this area. Experts from AJAX analyzed several core aspects of the bank’s network security framework and shared a strategy with potential solutions. Due diligence from both parties in identifying the right solution pointed out a definitive solution to carry out several Security Management Audits such as: Firewall compliance, Firewall Security Audit, Firewall Configuration Change Management, Penetration Testing & Vulnerability Assessment duly supported by a water-tight SLA framework. From this undertaking, the bank achieved critical separation of duties and ensured realization of a level of security coverage that would be difficult even with additional staff.

AJAX’s team segregated the entire activity into time-bound milestones and successfully delivered comprehensive reports and recommendations thereof. Through this activity that spanned six months, AJAX’s team helped the bank identify several security loopholes in their network. The subsequent patch management saved the bank from huge potential losses stemming from undetected, unknown and unrecognized internal as well as external threats and vulnerabilities; improper firewall configuration change management, un-patched vulnerabilities in servers and network equipments.

The bank’s CIO stated, “AJAX’s team is a bunch of highly seasoned professionals. Their logical approach to the task at hand is commendable. They gave me three solutions, all of them sounded right to me at first. But after several sessions with them, they were able to clearly point out the differences in the solutions and recommend the solution that most appropriately suited our needs. I went with it, and am happy with the results.”

Key Benefits

Supported by the audits, testing and analysis, the bank’s benefits were manifold.

Bandwidth Optimization – With Firewall Configuration Change Management, AJAX discovered that approximately 17% of bandwidth was consumed by unsolicited and unwarranted traffic. Counter measures on this effectively translated into direct cost benefits for the bank

Reduced CPU & Memory Usage – Vulnerability Assessment and the subsequent patch management helped the bank reduce their Server CPU and memory utilization by 9%. This effectively translated into direct cost savings for the bank

Internal & External Threats Mitigation – Penetration testing and the subsequent patch management helped the bank reduce internal and external threats by 40% thereby protecting the bank from immediate and long-term data theft.

Reduced Probability of Network Outage – The overall security management audits and analysis reduced the probability of network outages substantially. The cost borne by the bank as a result of each hour of network outage amounted to a tune of approximately US$ 15,000 to US$ 30,000.

All at reduced IT Costs – AJAX’s service ensured that the project was carried out at a fraction of the cost. This ensured substantial ROI for the bank.

Improved Staff Productivity – Having outsourced this service to AJAX, the IT staff at the bank was able to save close to 2 hours on a daily basis.

“At first I was circumspect about AJAX’s ability to deliver. After all they were competing with heavyweights in their industry. But they were able to convince me of their capabilities. I am happy to say they met my expectations,” CIO remarked.

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