Navigating Cyber Threats: The Rise of SSFN

Intercloud.Sep 04, 2023

Although the speed, scale and cost savings that cloud offers are so critical for the financial industry as banks navigate uncertain times, decision makers remain wary about cloud security. And, so they should be. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks increased consistently in the third quarter of 2022, according to a report issued by Kaspersky. Consider this: global losses from Internet frauds reached a total of $18.7 billion in 2021. A prominent Swiss bank was subject to a slew of cyber attacks, many of which lacked particular intent and were frequently the consequence of user error. This bank logged a startling 6,799,832 instances of harmful activity on the Internet each quarter.

Cybersecurity calls for immediate action and while most Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) believe in “secure cloud” as a concept, 32% say that security isn’t even part of the cloud discussion, according to Accenture’s 2023 cybersecurity report. The report further indicates that leaders worry about the complexity of secure cloud, the lack of internal skills to implement and maintain a proper cloud security framework, and poor security governance and compliance processes.

So what are the options available for banks to be the best at security?

In the rapidly changing landscape of finance, the launch of the Secure Swiss Finance Network (SSFN) means a new era of secure, resilient data exchange. SSFN is a controlled and secure network launched by the Swiss National Bank and SIX Group designed to provide a secure, robust, and reliable network for financial transactions.

Primary goal of SSFN was to interconnect banks and finance establishments on the Swiss territory. Next phase will be to replace the existing IPNet system on a broader geographical coverage. SSFN represents a significant shift in the banking communication system. Authorized participants operating in the Swiss financial center can safely connect with one another and with the infrastructures of the financial markets thanks to the SSFN, a network that is monitored and secured. By doing this, communication with the payment systems such as SIC should be more secure and stable. The SSFN's launch ought to contribute significantly to the fight against cyber threats.

Unlike Finance IPNet, SSFN supports direct peer-to-peer communication and works hidden from the internet, reducing cyber dangers and adding an extra degree of security. Its innovative SCION technology provides a level of resilience and stability unmatched by existing systems, which are critical attributes for the banking industry. Furthermore, the system's capacity to immediately switch to alternate network paths in the case of a disruption adds to its reliability. As cyber threats become increasingly sophisticated, implementing an immensely secure and resilient network like the SSFN is not just an option for financial institutions – it's essential.

The network is based on the SCION technology, thanks to which a new level of security, performance and functionality in data exchange processes is achieved. One of the main security features of SCION is the ability to create Isolation Domains (ISDs) to build fully controlled, isolated and secured networks. Only trusted sources (for the SSFN, these sources are SIX and the Swiss National Bank), will own the root certificates and manage the network. In the Swiss ISD, the number of security attacks decreased dramatically from 6,799,832 to 1,553 in a prominent Swiss Bank. Notably, the majority of these were non-malicious, stemming from user errors. Moreover, the global SCION ecosystem in Switzerland faced significantly fewer malicious attacks, only 726, all of them being tests, in comparison to the staggering 122,069 real attacks on the Internet, which were impossible to track down. This stark contrast underscores the pressing need for security solutions like SSFN in the financial sector, underpinned by SCION technology.

What is its impact & why should banks care about it?

International financial institutions who do not transition to SSFN will suffer constraints on their ability to conduct transactions within Switzerland. SSFN not only provides better security measures, but also reliable and flexible services, which are critical to delivering a consistent client experience.

Banks store enormous volumes of sensitive consumer data, such as personal information, financial transactions, and account information. A data breach can have serious consequences, including financial losses, legal penalties, and reputational harm. Banks may ensure that customer data stays encrypted and secure by using the Secure Swiss Financial Network and SCION Technology, lowering the danger of illegal access or data breaches. Furthermore, hackers can cause considerable financial losses for banks, not just from stolen funds but also from incident response, regulatory fines, and remediation operations. It is also worth noting that cyber threats are always evolving, and hackers are constantly adapting their approaches. Banks must invest in future-proof security solutions to remain ahead of bad actors.

Additionally, the ability for stakeholders to communicate directly with one another might encourage greater cooperation and develop a more tied financial community. Adhering to the SSFN transition demonstrates a bank's dedication to upholding the greatest security requirements.

The next phase of banking

The switch from IPNet to SSFN represents a significant advancement for the banking industry. It ushers in a new era of banking in which modern technologies like SSFN are employed to make banking transactions more safe, efficient, and smooth.

Security is crucial in the banking industry, and the use of SSFN increases it. As seen by far fewer occurrences of malicious behaviors on the SCION network, SSFN has the ability to dramatically minimize cyber threats by delivering enhanced security measures. Banks will serve their customers with more than just financial services in this day and age; they will also provide them with confidence and peace of mind, knowing that their transactions are secure.

The next era of banking will not be without difficulties. Banks must redesign their systems to be compatible with SSFN, which may take a significant amount of time and money.

How can InterCloud help?

Fortunately, innovative solutions are emerging to facilitate this transition, with InterCloud leading the charge. Through a partnership with SCION technology provider Anapaya Systems, InterCloud gives companies a fast, efficient, and highly available means to connect to their cloud environments. Through the collaboration, InterCloud's clients may now use the Software-defined Cloud Connectivity technology, combined with SCION Internet, to access their cloud environments (180+ locations). "By working with Anapaya, we’re proud to give our customers access to their cloud environments with SCION - the latest networking innovation that combines the security and reliability of private networks with the flexibility of the Internet," remarks Jérôme Dilouya, Cofounder and CEO of InterCloud. Thanks to this partnership, financial institutions may easily transition to SSFN, which also ensures dependable and secure access to their cloud environments. With InterCloud's solution, businesses may take advantage of the dependability and flexibility of a private network. They remain connected, compliant, and secure as a result.

As a global "hub," InterCloud bridges the gap between on-premises customer sites and cloud environments by providing fully managed connectivity services. Through this position, InterCloud is able to provide a comprehensive solution with a wide range of services that are specifically designed to meet the demands of customers. The core function of InterCloud is to pre-connect all the main cloud providers to their Fabric, facilitating the selection of an appropriate infrastructure. The Software-Defined Cloud Interconnect (SDCI) provided by InterCloud makes it easy to set up connectivity solutions. The platform offers a combination of managed routing services, including network flow segmentation from cloud to on-premises or cloud to cloud, as well as highly robust architectures. 

SCION’s unique benefits:

  • Any-to-any connectivity between certified participants and financial service providers in secured and closed network

  • Commonly agreed and supervised governance among service providers and participants

  • Potential savings through bundling of various individual connections

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