Part of good service is making sure all banking transactions are secure and that customer data is kept private. There’s far more to secure banking than that. As a financial institution, there are myriad compliance regulations and severe penalties if any of these are violated.
Just as cash and personal items are kept under lock and key in the vault, data must be fully protected by the bank’s firewalls and other security tools.
A firewall is only as good as its configuration, management and the extent to which collected data is properly analyzed and turned into effective action. Much of that data is contained in firewalls logs which are complex and unwieldy – so much so that they are often ignored.
BANKWEST OF KANSAS vice president and CTO Tanya L. Gill was tired of all this difficulty. “Reviewing firewall logs is a daunting task. We had to find something that would compile the data in an easier and quicker way to see what was happening on our network,” Gill explained. The bank’s router did provide some ability to compile logs “but we didn’t feel we were getting the most of what we needed it to do,” Gill said.
The answer was GFI EventsManager®, a network event monitoring tool that can analyze data from a range of devices such as firewalls, and can analyze and prioritize these events so IT can take proper action.
BANKWEST made the GFI EventsManager decision some six years ago. “At the time, we did a review of various ways to consolidate the logs. Ease of use and price were big factors in our decision. GFI seemed to fit our needs and has proven very useful,” Gill said. ” We wanted something easy to learn, configure and use. And pricing was important. But ultimately it had to get us what we needed to monitor our network.”
The reduction in man hours is one huge benefit of GFI EventsManager, and leads to what Gills calls “big savings”. Gill elaborates. “The savings in hours spent the ‘old’ way of reviewing logs, or attempting to, has saved us in labor costs.”
Protection and peace of mind are an even bigger benefit. “Compliance and legal issues are very important in the financial industry when protecting our network. We need to safeguard our customer information and assets. This is one way we can accomplish this. There are other factors, but GFI EventsManager is one of the tools we use,” Gill explained. By protecting the network and monitoring network activity, BANKWEST is able to both “avoid and prevent potential losses”, Gill added.
Working with GFI
While Gill was pleased with the price and efficacy of GFI EventsManager, she also liked how relatively easy it was to set up and use. “It was some time ago, but as I recall the implementation was relatively easy. It was time consuming at first to set up what should be in the logs and what could be ignored as just informational data. But once that is done, there isn’t much more to do except some occasional ‘tweaking’,” she said.
When you first start collecting and viewing firewall logs, it is indeed “daunting”. That all changes with use and configuration. “Immediately following the implementation (there was a) massive amount of data being logged and reported. But, when we got the configurations completed to filter off the informational items – the “noise” – it is a very manageable task to review daily,” Gill noted.
There is another advantage to monitoring the network – making sure end-user activities are appropriate. “Using the software and reviewing the output, we can block specific IPs that otherwise we may not have noticed. We can monitor who might be going to “restricted” websites and counsel them. I have contacted a couple of companies because of what looked like a potential attack because they were pinging our address. There are other useful bits we watch,” Gill said.
Working with GFI Software has been a positive experience. “We have been pretty satisfied with GFI. I commend their support staff. When I have needed assistance, they respond quickly and are a lot of help,” Gill concluded.
For more information about GFI EventsManager visit our product discovery page.
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