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How Can DevOps Help the Financial Service Industry

by Marisa Vesel, on Aug 16, 2019 9:45:00 AM

The Financial Services industry is currently undergoing massive disruption from FinTech startups. Innovating and getting new products to market faster is vital in remaining viable in the market. Awareness about the value of DevOps adoption is increasing as a response to this problem. However, it is a massive cultural change that includes huge up-front costs.  

Financial institutions need to understand how DevOps can help them stay competitive in the market. This is important both for driving adoption, as well as helping the adoption to be as effective as possible. 

Currently, about 91% of financial institutions have either transitioned or have plans to transition to DevOps practices. To not be left behind, organizations need to seriously consider adopting a DevOps culture in their workplace. For financial institutions either thinking about DevOps adoption or looking to get the most out of their current DevOps pipelines, we’ve put together some of the value they should remain focused on to fully transition to a DevOps Financial Services organization.  

The Problems Financial Institutions Face 

Todays financial institutions face a number of challenges that may make it appear that adopting a DevOps culture is not the right move. While it’s true that financial institutions do face a number of adoption problems, DevOps can actually provide solutions to some of the most common problems in the industry.  

For starters, working in a financial industry comes with many regulations that require controls when deploying to production. Oftentimes, regulators have expectations that they will receive advanced notice of any changes. This requires deployments to be synced with these expectations.

Additionally, since financial institutions must comply with many industry regulations and protocols, they are prone to being audited more often than other industries. Finally, in comparison to internet businesses that run 24/7, financial institutions run on relatively strict business hours; causing a large amount of activity to be completed in a short amount of time.  

Here are just some of the problems financial institutions need to deal with some of the largest problems they face today.  

  • Mitigating Security Risks-In financial institutions, maintaining security data is one of the highest priorities. As financial institutions secure sensitive data at scale, protecting that data is very important. If organizations fail to mitigate security risks, they expose themselves to possible detrimental data breaches and leaks.  
  •  Manual Processes-When processes are manual instead of automated, these leaves deployments open to failure based on human error. People aren’t perfectmistyped line of code, forgotten test, or a lack of plan B can cause software outages-leading to headaches and a crisis. 
  •  Lack of Visibility into Pipelines-When processes are completed manually, the responsibility to keep track of changes, bugs, and tests falls into the hands of the developers. This leads to disorganization in the workplace where there is no centralized location; which causes a lack of visibility into development pipelines. 
  • Silos Instead of Orchestration-In a traditional, non-DevOps, workplace, there are often silos between the development and operations teams. These teams choose to see themselves as separate and only take responsibility for their areas of work. This causes a lack of communication in the workplace and ends with people placing the blame on others when things go wrong.

Two business people dressed in suites shake hands

 

5 Ways DevOps Can Help Financial Institutions 

There are several ways that DevOps can help financial institutions succeed and maintain a competitive advantage, even with the emergence of FinTech companies. We have compiled the top 5 ways DevOps can help financial institutions.  

1. Additional Automation and Visibility into Development Pipelines 

By transitioning to a DevOps environment, organization will find that they receive more visibility and insight into their development pipelines. 

By automating repetitive tasks in the workflow, developers will have more time to get back to what they do best-writing code. When repetitive tasks are automated, the risk of human error is reduced. Additionally, automating processes can be configured to send notifications; providing visibility into builds as they go throughout the development pipelines. 

While processes will no longer be manual, companies do not have to worry about giving up control. The visibility and insight into the pipelines allows organizations to be involved in the process and interject as needed. 

2. Automate Security Permissions and Controls 

When companies are asked what the largest barriers are to quickly releasing software, 48% of respondents explained that last-minute security tests were a huge barrier in their software release. 36% of respondents state that compliance and regulatory concerns also provide a barrier in the release of their software. 

Automating testing and security permission & controls can help remove these barriers while ensuring deployments still go smoothly. Inedo’s CI/CD tool, BuildMaster, contains several verification features to help remove these barriers. Users can establish automated gates to guard against the shipping of untested software into later stages of the delivery pipeline-ensuring all software is tested before deployment. Additionally, user approvals can be required to deploy builds into testing environments or production, providing auditability and compliance for regulatory requirements.  

Automating security permissions and controls can help financial institutions remove some of their most common software barriers and have their releases out quicker, while still maintaining the necessary compliance. 

a production pipeline with one team member granting permission through a key to another team member to unlock the next stage of the software development lifecycle

3. Makes Audits Easier 

In highly-regulated industries such as the financial services industryaudits can be very complex and stressful for organizations. Many DevOps tools include security permission capabilities to ensure only authorized users have access to perform certain activities.  

In addition, security permission features also include tracking capabilities. This allows auditors to easily who signed on and off the system and when, can see who made which changes, and confirm that compliance was maintained all the way to production.  

These tracking capabilities mean logs are kept so information doesn’t need to be collected after the fact by everyone who worked on a build. Moreover, the source problems that do occur can easily be identified 

All of these security measures can help keep audits organized and as stress free as possible. 

4. Breakdown Geographical Barriers 

Financial institutions are often big entities with a large geographic reach. With so many people having a hand in software, there is a need to make the application, as well as the applications themselves, available to teams across geographically disparate areas. 

One of the main principles of DevOps is to increase the communication between development and operations teams. While hard enough when the entire teams sit in one location, this can be especially difficult when there are multiple development and operation teams across multiple locations. DevOps seeks to provide visibility and transparency to all teams so that all those involved are held accountable for the success of the software. 

There are many tools that can be used to help provide insight to teams all across the globe. For example, Inedo’s Otter tool has capabilities to provide visibility across servers. Everything can be easily managed from Otter’s web-based dashboard; allowing servers’ configurate state, change, and history to be shared with other teams. Additionally, Otter allows applications to be packaged and deployed to any environment. 

This helps ensure that large financial institutions are easily able to practice a DevOps culture.  

5. A Change in Culture 

In order to successfully improve the application lifecycle in a financial institution, a change in culture has to occur throughout the entire organization.  

Adopting DevOps as a mindset brings that change into financial institutions because it creates a meeting of the minds between Development and Operations. While organizations that have not adopted DevOps principles usually view these teams as separate, those that have enjoy strong collaboration between the two teams who choose to understand and value one another’s roles as needed.  

There are several cultural changes that are needed in order to transition to DevOps. 

teams coming together around a table shifting the culture to DevOps and collaboration

For starters, change should be enacted from the bottom up. While executive level buy-in is needed, starting small from the bottom-up shows executives what is possible. This also gives teams to encounter and solve any obstacles, rather than trying out to role out large-scale change. 

Second, the organizational buy-in should also been seen as a opportunity to continually improve. No organization is static, and what works today may not work tomorrow. DevOps is continuous by definition, and organizations much be committed and collaborative enough to commit to ongoing change. 

Finally, confidence can be inspired with automation. DevOps encourages teams to own control over responsibilities and automate repetitive tasks. Automation encourages accountability, as changes are often logged and tracked. When people feel responsible for work, they are more engaged in their jobs and the quality of their work will ultimately be better.  

Conclusion  

In order to stay competitive in the market amidst FinTech Disruptors, financial service institutions need to adopt DevOps in their organizations. While transitioning to DevOps requires an organization-wide cultural shift, not transitioning to DevOps can have dire consequences.  

DevOps will help increase communication and collaboration between development and operations teams. Additionally, DevOps will help companies ensure compliance while making auditing easier through security permission and controls. Finally, automation inspires confidence throughout the organization.  

Inedo DevOps tools maximize developer time, minimize release risk, and empower stakeholders to bring their vision to life faster. All with the people and technology you have right now. To get help streamlining your CI/CD processes, contact mgoulis.inedo.com. 

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Topics:DevOpsFinancial Services

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