How Big Data changes the rules in banking

Online banking has been a win-win proposition for banks and their customers. Customers get the speed and convenience of self-service and banks enjoy big savings on transaction costs. But for many consumer banks in particular, going online has also meant losing the critical customer engagement that branches have long provided. When one online banking service looks pretty much like every other, banks need to find new ways to set themselves apart. By leveraging cloud and big data analytics, banks can re-engage in new and innovative ways via web and mobile platforms.

In a recent report outlining a new digital vision for consumer banks, Accenture offer examples of what some banks are already doing to enhance the online experience and strengthen bonds with their customers.

  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria of Spain captures more than 80 transaction characteristics every time customers use their debit card and uses the information to help consumers manage and forecast day-to-day spending.
  • BNP Paribas Fortis of Belgium partnered with the country’s largest telecommunications provider to create a mobile e-commerce platform that enables consumers to shop and pay for products from their smart phones. The service makes it easier for consumers to find merchants and helps local businesses get paid more quickly, which is good for the bank’s commercial business.
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia has a mobile app that enables customers to use augmented reality to get detailed information about homes they might want to buy by simply pointing their smartphone camera at the property. The app also tells users exactly how much they will pay for a mortgage from the bank.
  • Five of Canada’s largest banks have partnered with Sensibill to integrate automated receipt management functionality into their digital banking apps. Customers can use the service to organize receipts and get reports that help them with budgeting.

These efforts are successful because the banks see themselves as more than just money managers. They’ve broadened their perspective to become allies to their customers in helping them become more efficient and achieve their dreams.

The cloud offers unprecedented capabilities for banks to integrate other services into their core applications through APIs. For example, many financial services companies now offer credit reporting as a free feature. Credit agencies are eager to promote their brands through this kind of integration, and they make it easy for banks to work with them.

When cloud is combined with big data, banks can put their existing knowledge of their customers to work in new ways. For example, they can segment customers by spending and saving behavior and offer services tuned to different budgets. They can target services to distinct customer segments based on geography or age group by overlaying demographics on customer data. They can even listen in on social media conversations to pinpoint opportunities to offer, for example, car loans to fans of specific vehicle makes and models.

The biggest impediments to this kind of transformation aren’t technical but rather cultural. If banks see themselves as simply stewards of money, they limit their potential to break out of historical niches. But when they see themselves as allies in their customers’ financial success, they can use the cloud and big data to expand and enrich relationships. The mobile app is the new branch, and a good service provider can help your financial institution realize its transformative potential.

Take a unified approach to Wi-Fi security!

For many organizations, Wi-Fi access is no longer a luxury. Employees need flexible access as they roam about the office, and customers and partners expect to connect whenever they are on site. But providing unsecured access opens a host of potential security problems if access points aren’t rigorously monitored, patched and maintained. As the number of access points grows, it’s easy to let this important maintenance task slip.

Security teams are so busy fighting fires that preventing maintenance is often overlooked. Kaspersky Labs recently analyzed data from nearly 32 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world and reported that nearly 25% had no encryption at all. That means passwords and personal data passing through those devices can be easily intercepted by anyone connected to the network.

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are one way to keep things secure, but 82% of mobile users told IDG they don’t always bother to use them. The profusion of software-as-a-service (SaaS) options encourages this. Gartner has estimated that by 2018, 25% of corporate data will bypass perimeter security and flow directly to the cloud.

The Wi-Fi landscape is changing, thanks to mobile devices, cloud services and the growing threat of cyber attacks. This means that Wi-Fi security must be handled holistically, with a centralized approach to management and an architecture that integrates both endpoint protection and network traffic analysis. Cisco has spent more than $1 billion on security acquisitions since 2015, and it has put in place the necessary pieces to provide this integration.

Cisco Umbrella, which the company announced last month, is a new approach to securing the business perimeter that takes into account the changing ways people access the internet. Umbrella gives network and security managers a complete picture of all the devices on the network and what they are doing. For example, by combining Umbrella with Cisco Cloudlock Cloud Access Security Broker technology, organizations can enforce policies customized to individual SaaS applications and even block inappropriate services entirely. They can also block connections to known malicious destinations at the DNS and IP layers, which cuts down on the threat of malware. Umbrella can even discover and control sensitive data in SaaS applications, even if they’re off the network.

Cisco’s modernized approach to security also uses the power of the cloud for administration and analysis. Cisco Defense Orchestrator resolves over 100 billion Internet requests each day. Its machine learning technology compares this traffic against a database of more than 11 billion historical events to look for patterns that identify known malicious behavior. Defense Orchestrator can thus spot breaches quickly so they can be blocked or isolated before they do any damage. Thanks to the cloud, anonymized data from around the Internet can be combined with deep learning to continually improve these detection capabilities. Predictive analytical models enable Cisco to identify where current and future attacks are staged. In other words, Cisco’s security cloud gets smarter every day.

Umbrella can integrate with existing systems, including appliances, feeds and in-house tools, so your investments are protected. It’s built upon OpenDNS, a platform that has been cloud-native since its inception more than a decade ago. It’s the bases for Cisco’s security roadmap going forward.

A great way to get started with Cisco Umbrella is by revisiting protection on your Wi-Fi access points. We know Cisco networks inside and out, so let us put you on the on-ramp to the future of network security.

A brief review of the Telecom 2015 Event

Many ESI representatives in sales and technology attended the event of April 21 that was intended for the industry. We noticed that a new trend is becoming increasingly predominant  among the subjects of different speakers; that is cloud solutions. Indeed, several  presentations focused on the subject; whether with IP telephony solutions,  Microsoft Lync or unified communications, participants could attend some very good sessions. ESI was also among the presenters at the event, where we discussed the challenges of securing enterprise data with the increasing usage of mobile devices.

We also noticed that this year, contrary to previous editions, no presentation used the expression “BYOD”, which does not mean the subject was not discussed. Presenters are now instead referring to the concept using the term “mobility”.

Although topics were not identified with the “security” tag, almost all presentations dealt with IT security in the solutions or business cases presented. Security is a must, it is an integral part of all business solutions, and customers and presenters are all aware of it! Convergence, unified communications and hybrid networks were also some of the topics discussed during the 2015 edition of this Telecom Event.

Roger Courchesne, Director – Internetworking & Security Practice

Telepresence: the all too often underestimated or overlooked investment

20.CiscoTelepresence

 

 

 

For a second time in the last couple of weeks, I was sitting in one of my client’s many small conference rooms equipped with telepresence. I found myself participating in a solutions meeting with his team members located in four different cities. And there we were, holding a meeting as if everyone was around the table being able to appreciate everyone’s body language. How quickly we all forgot we were not in the same room because it felt as though we were.

This is when it dawned on me that telepresence is underestimated. To get that feeling of truly being on the same page with everyone is priceless especially when you are engaging on client’s strategic projects that will have an impact on the way their team operates and performs. I strive to work in harmony with client’s values and corporate culture. Being in the presence of the client’s team made me understand why this client was so successful in their industry: civil engineering. They also need to be as close as possible to their own clients and partners working on remote construction sites all over the world.

It is only afterwards that I learned that the telepresence they had was purposely built for them by a business partner of ours. Having witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of telepresence as a way to bring together teams of people, I will no longer think of telepresence as something that’s only a hype or a cool thing to have. It can be a game changer for many businesses!

Charles Tremblay, ESI account manager

Citrix Summit 2015 – news to come

Back from the 2015 edition of Citrix Summit in Las Vegas, where the latest innovations and a lot of NDA content were presented to participants. Citrix is still a dominant player in the world of virtualization of applications and workstations, while adding a lot of new features in the various areas surrounding the practice.

From innovation to a better experience, Citrix did not officially announce its new Receiver X1 (X1 for Experience First), but mentioned it often during the different sessions. X1 made quite an impression when it was presented. Web-based on HTML 5, the X1 client is centrally managed and really easy to update. The web version of X1 enables customization of user experience through the browser. The experience will be the same regardless of the platform.

Citrix announced a broad selection of tech previews and updates for this year. Amongst which HDX Framehawk, Optimization Pack for Lync, DesktopPlayer for Windows and an XenDesktop Virtual Desktop agent for Linux.

The XenMobile 10 version respects the “Experience First” concept, as demonstrated in the following blog: http://blogs.citrix.com/2015/01/13/xenmobile-10-what-experience-means-for-it/

We now have today an average of 2.9 devices by user, which explains the importance of keeping them under control. For more information on the latest Xen Mobile version: http://www.citrix.com/news/announcements/jan-2015/citrix-delivers-superior-user-experience-and-security-in-new-xen.html

Citrix gave each participant of the Summit a prototype X1 mouse; this mouse offers Receiver X1 users the possibility to use X1 with their iPhone or iPad in their Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop environment.

Citrix mouse

In parallel with user experience, Citrix offers increased flexibility and security with their innovative products.

To conclude, the conference gave participants a technological preview of products and innovations proposed by Citrix and their partners. The increase of mobile devices is becoming an element of change that organizations must address and Citrix has found a tailored approach to this new reality.

Mobility transforms enterprises and people.

Guillaume Paré, Senior Consultant –  architecture & technologies