From data centre to trading floor – how KVM can be used to secure finance industry assets

The financial services industry is a heavily regulated one where security – physical and data security – is always top of the agenda. According to the Financial Times, between May 2014 and April 2015 financial institutions in the UK were investigated 585 times for data privacy breaches, which equates to an increase of 183% from the previous year.

What this means for financial institutions, be it banks, finance houses or trading floors, is that protecting sensitive client data, as well as the company’s intellectual property from both internal and external threats is crucial.

> See also: Foiling the great 21st century heist 

Above and beyond traditional security solutions, technologies like KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) can bring an added dimension of security to operations.

Switching and extension

One of the ways in which security can be improved with KVM is to limit the physical access to servers and other critical equipment. The extension capabilities of KVM allows organisations to rack-mount PCs and servers in a single, central location that can be monitored and managed in terms of both environment and security.

In this way, organisations can add in another physical layer of security that enables security to control how people interact with company systems. In a typical server room with a temperature controlled, dust-free environment, machines can be stored away from the main working area – the trading floor, office or meeting rooms – decreasing the risk of unauthorised access to the machines and increasing performance.

In addition, removing the physical machines from workspaces and desks has ergonomic benefits. There is more space, a definite advantage for areas with little room, less heat and noise, and ultimately a more comfortable environment. And users can still access exactly what they need, with no time delay or loss of quality.

On the operational side, the switching capabilities of KVM is also a benefit. In an environment like a trading floor, for example, a user at one desk needs to switch between multiple machines, and is looking at up to eight screens at a time.

If he or she can use just one mouse and keyboard to control them and switch seamlessly from one screen to the other, new and improved levels of efficiency and productivity can be integrated into operations.

In addition, these eight screens need to display the best quality graphics so that the trader can clearly see graphs and figures at a glance, and make quick, yet informed decisions. The right, high performance KVM solution will ensure high quality video with low latency.

Latency is a critical aspect in this environment – from the decision to buy or sell a share, for example, to the push of a button, traders can’t afford any delays, even a millisecond. Again, IP-based KVM solutions can ensure there is no delay between the trading floor and the data centre as users are trading. 

The future of security

But KVM can be taken even further than that. It can also be used to control USB access on the network, locking, blocking or allow full access. KVM can be used for asset management – keeping an active list of all USB devices on an organisation’s network, where and when they are connected, and if they’re disconnected. In a simplistic example, if a keyboard on a trading desk is swopped out for another that records all keystrokes.

> See also: Legacy thinking, not systems, is the biggest threat to the financial industry

The KVM solution would recognise that the nature of the device has changed and raise a red flag. Security key cards can also be implemented to add individual permission to each accessed terminal, linked to the entrance security system this can also correlate between those on and off.

The use of KVM technology – IP-based high performance KVM – is not new in the financial services industry. It is used in a number of varied applications, delivering significant benefits to users. As the market evolves and needs change, particularly around security, KVM’s role will also change.

From restricting access to physical machines, to making the workspace of traders more efficient, improved ergonomics the application of KVM technology in this industry will continue to add value.

Sourced from Jamie Shepperd, group marketing manager, Adder Technology

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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