The focus here is on object storage and the small but vital role of load balancers in underpinning this solution for financial institutions.
The data challenges
Three main challenges exist for the financial services industry:
1. Data security and protection
Ransomware attacks are predicted to occur every 11 seconds in 2021 at a cost of $20 billion. In March 2021, Flagstar Bank in the US was subject to a ransomware attack that resulted in stolen social numbers. In the same month, attacks on Microsoft Exchange servers affected between 30,000 and 60,000 organizations worldwide, including banks and the European Banking Authority. In May 2021, CNA Financial was subject to a ransomware attack which caused services to be shut down for a few days, and CNA Financial had to pay a ransom of 40 million USD to retrieve their data. In July 2021, US banks were part of a global ransomware attack that resulted in organizations around the world being extorted for a record ransom of $70 million.
This, therefore, presents a grave data security threat. While 'keep-em-out' is always the preferred strategy, banks also need to have contingency plans in place to ensure that, should the worst happen, data is quickly recoverable and critical applications remain online. To achieve this, electronic records and data must be preserved and protected in a format that is non-rewritable and nonerasable.
2. Regulatory and compliance requirements
Strict regulations quite rightly exist to protect petabytes of sensitive and personally identifiable information (PII) customer data. Regulations also dictate that the data financial services organizations collect must be located in their own data centers, be secure, encrypted, and anonymized or masked.
Regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FIRA) in the US, require that all electronic correspondence be retained and immediately accessible for a period of two years (with non-immediate access for at least six years).
3. Big data, unified analytics and data management
Banks also, increasingly, rely on the complex mining, retention, management, and analysis of a variety of big data sets.
Advanced analytics, superior indexing, data tiering and data management, and machine learning, enable data to be examined in different ways, providing investors and financial institutions with new insights and potential investment opportunities. So the race is on to gain a competitive advantage.
How object storage helps solve these challenges
Object storage has usurped structured data storage as the superior storage architecture solution. And for good reason. It helps solve the data challenges described above by providing:
- Immutable backups - Immutable data is the 'big daddy' of backups and is crucial in the fight against ransomware. Data stored securely on an immutable backup system makes it fixed and unchangeable, meaning that it cannot be deleted or modified. This is especially important when it comes to ransomware, as data on an immutable backup is impervious to infections. By keeping an archive of immutable object storage backups, the financial sector is guaranteed to be able to recover data by finding the last clean backup on record. This also means that data is recoverable at any time, with the level of data protection preventing intentional deletion in the unfortunate event of a ransomware attack.
- Scalability - Object storage has massive potential to scale, enabling massive amounts of data to be held securely, offering end-to-end workload protection that meets compliance requirements, whilst also enabling fast and easy data access.
- Data lakes - Object storage solutions provide a key part of the framework for data warehousing, allowing large amounts of complex data, from multiple sources to be amalgamated and analyzed.
The role of load balancers in underpinning these solutions
Load balancing object storage applications reduce infrastructure complexity through intelligently designed and infinitely scalable network architecture.
The load balancer maintains the availability and performance of data management and data protection applications by intelligently managing workloads ingested into storage. Continuous monitoring of the health of storage clusters helps to pre-empt issues, redistribute and rebalance traffic and recover from failures.
In the event of a failure, the load balancer directs application and user traffic away from the failed nodes or datacentre, ensuring that RPO/RTOs are met.
The bottom line is that load balancers improve the availability and performance of large-scale data storage environments, providing continuity and protecting the integrity of data that banks rely upon.
This partnership enables financial institutions to benefit from indestructible, enterprise, scale-out object storage solutions to meet growing data demands, provide superior application delivery, and ensure data is protected and accessible at all times.