3 Ways Financial Service Institutions Will Fall Behind Without DevOps
by Marisa Vesel, on Jan 23, 2020 10:00:00 AM
With the emergence of FinTech startups, the Financial Services industry finds itself undergoing massive disruption. In order to stay competitive within the industry, 91% of financial institutions have either transitioned or have plans to transition to DevOps practices.
The other 9% are delaying the transition to DevOps likely due to the massive cultural change and high up-front and administrative costs. But these delays risk organizations being left behind. If organizations fail to transition, they face three major risks. We outline each of the 3 ways financial service institutions will fall behind without DevOps and how to avoid each.
1. Human Error Through Manual Processes
Organizations who have yet to adopt DevOps practices find themselves continuing to rely on slow, manual processes in order to release their software, which introduces human error.
Manual processes take significant worker time and yield buggier results (which take even more worker time to correct). This means that developers in these organizations are spending less time writing code (what they do best) and instead spending their time completing manual tasks. Both in creating software and fixing bugs, manual processes allow ample human error into the software. These errors are rarely malicious or intentional, but their effects on the business can be huge.
For example, a human error made while debugging a billing issue for Amazon S3 caused S3 to be unavailable in one of its largest regions for over two hours. The root cause was that a human worker entered the wrong parameter when entering a command for removing servers from a cluster, causing more servers to be shut down than originally intended.
And what may have just hurt a gargantuan enterprise like Amazon can cripple financial institutions and smaller businesses, where every human error and every dollar lost have a much greater impact.
In response, Amazon increased the amount of automation in the maintenance operations process. Working to find a balance between manual and automatic operations, Amazon ended up choosing a solution that took some control away from engineers, but ultimately reduced human errors while still utilizing the analytical capabilities humans provide in debugging systems.
To reduce human error, organizations should adopt a DevOps culture and begin automating tasks. While manual processes may still be required in certain cases, such as functional testing, repetitive tasks can often be automated to decrease the risk of human error. This allows organizations to release high-quality software at a quicker pace, leaving developers more time to write code.
2. Compliance Barriers to Releasing Software
The Financial Services Industry is a highly regulated industry, requiring many controls when deploying software to production. When companies were asked what the largest barriers were to quickly releasing software, 36% of respondents listed compliance and regulatory concerns.
Seeing security and compliance as an "afterthought" in the software delivery process can have major impact on the business, resulting in last-minute tests to address regulatory and compliance concerns that increase stress and poorly used IT time.
Properly ensuring that software is compliant can be a long and time-consuming process and can slow down the release of a build, especially if noncompliance is found. However, financial institutions are 300 times more likely to have a cyber-attack when compared to other companies. If organizations chooses to release software before ensuring its compliance, they not only leave themselves even more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, but they are also breaking the law. Neither inspires customer trust.
In 2011, Global Payments Inc. was forced to pay a compliance failure fine after a minimum of 1.5 million payment card numbers were stolen by hackers. Global Payments Inc. was found to be noncompliant in following PCI DSS, which ended up costing the company over $100 million.
Integrating a DevOps culture, and more specifically a DevSecOps culture, will ensure that security is pushed left and prioritized from the very beginning of the software development lifecycle. As a result, security is no longer an afterthought, letting organizations be proactive about compliance. Had Global Payments Inc. had a DevSecOps culture, DevOps tools would have been able to help this organization identify their non-compliance earlier and avoided a significant negative impact on its business.
When security is pushed left, integrating DevOps compliance tools automate testing and security permissions and controls; the software serves as an automatic line of defense against the human errors or oversights that can breach compliance. Many DevOps tools are available to help ensure companies are able to meet their industry-specific compliance requirements. By shifting security left and making security a priority for all employees, organizations save both time and money by finding and fixing issues earlier in the Software Development Lifecycle.
3. Stressful Audits
Audits are a huge part of the Financial Services industry, and unfortunately, audits are often very complex and stressful. Without DevOps, organizations often scramble to complete their audits. This is time-consuming, as those preparing the audits need to track down all necessary information. This can searching and asking for emails, hard-copy office memos, or even having employees recall verbal conversations! Since this process is both manual and disorganized, information can easily be missed, leading to inaccurate or incomplete audit information. And it takes forever.
In addition to organizations having to spend a lot of time and resources to successfully complete their audits, inaccurate audits can lead to a lot of trouble for the organization. Organizations risk regulatory penalties and reputation damage that could turn away investors and decrease business—not to mention the impact to individual employees who may be blamed for failed audits.
Many DevOps tools offer tracking capabilities, meaning logs of information are kept so information is easily accessible during an audit. These logs centralize everything needed for an audit within the tool, and many can even sync with issue tracking tools to add even more security. This centralized, detailed information reduces stress and the need to scramble to complete an audit perfectly.
Ronin Software used Inedo's BuildMaster to automate operations and make compliance effortless for their tightly regulated government clients. BuildMaster records every work item that goes through the automation pipelines. When the yearly audit on the beginning-to-end change process comes around, Ronin has full visibility into all release histories throughout the year and can quickly answer auditors’ questions via a single-screen dashboard. This allows what used to take several days and multiple to gather information to only take a few clicks of the mouse.
Adopt DevOps to Avoid IT Failures
In order to maintain a competitive edge over FinTech organizations, financial institutions need to adopt DevOps practices. For more reading on this topic, checkout "How Can DevOps Help the Financial Service Industry" and "5 Best Practices for DevOps in the Financial Service Industry."
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