Developing any kind of application, regardless of the industry in which it will be used, can be a complicated matter. There’s the target audience and existing competition to consider, the competition, the platform to be used, the UX/UI design, the features to be included, the architecture and technologies to be used, and more.

Incorporating elements to keep the app and any data it processes secure is always a must. And it’s often a challenge given the ever-expanding threat landscape and increasing sophistication of cyber threats. Things can get even more complex in industries such as financial services, particularly in terms of app security and compliance.

The Gap Between Security and Compliance

The financial services industry is a well-known target for cyber thieves. It’s also among the most heavily regulated industries. It’s not enough for app developers to incorporate security and data privacy into an app’s architecture or the underlying infrastructure.

They must also implement controls and/or components that can help financial services organizations meet the variety of unique security, regulatory, and compliance obligations they face on a global scale. Among them: PCI-DSS, SEC Rule 17-a-4(f), Reg SCI, EU Data Protection Directive, FedRAMP, GDPR, FIPS 140-2, and NIST 800-171.

While typical app security methods may overlap with compliance requirements, that’s not always the case. As such, app developers must ensure any gaps between the two are filled. They can’t assume meeting specific compliance requirements will ensure an app is secure. That’s particularly true since compliance standards are usually considered minimum requirements.

Nor can they feel confident that incorporating strong security mechanisms in an app will meet specific regulatory requirements. Failing to address both security essentials and compliance requirements can result in breaches, costly fines and penalties, downtime, and other damaging effects.

AWS Support for Security and Compliance

One thing that can help developers working in the financial services industry is to use AWS services. First, AWS provides what is considered by many to be the most secure cloud computing environment available.

The data centers and networks that power it are designed to protect customers’ information, identities, apps, and devices. Not surprisingly, it’s the only commercial cloud that has had its service offerings and associated supply chain verified as secure enough to handle top-secret workloads.

In addition, AWS supports more security standards and compliance certifications than any other cloud provider. That includes PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, FedRAMP, GDPR, FIPS 140-2, and NIST 800-171. Customers can leverage AWS’ security standards and compliance certifications to help lessen their operational burden to meet security and compliance requirements.

They also can use any number of AWS’ wide range of services and resources, including those listed on the AWS website.

Of course, AWS also has plenty of experience in working with financial services organizations, including banks, capital markets, fintech startups, insurance companies, and payments. You can learn more about its experience and use cases at these links:

Banking       Capital Markets      FinTech Startups    Insurance    Payments

The ClearScale Side of the Equation

AWS has an abundance of resources to meet both the security and compliance requirements of the financial services industry. The problem is that not all app developers are well-versed in identifying and using them. Nor do they all have sufficient expertise in app security or knowledge of industry-specific compliance requirements. This is where ClearScale can make a difference.

As an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, our experience in working with AWS has been thoroughly vetted. We also continue to stay on top of the latest AWS services, including in the area of cloud security services.

To meet security and compliance requirements, ClearScale always addresses key issues such as infrastructure security, application security, web-server security, secure code, API security, authentication system, data encryption, and testing.

DevSecOps, an approach that integrates security as a shared responsibility among all project teams throughout the entire app development lifecycle, is business as usual at ClearScale. We also regularly employ security best practices for microservices and containers.

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ClearScale Case Studies Tell the Story

A brief perusal of ClearScale’s case studies attests to the depth and breadth of its app development experience. That includes work in highly regulated industries, such as financial services, healthcare, retail, and utilities, where compliance requirements are critical considerations in any app development project. And if it’s security expertise you’re looking for, you’ll find real-world examples here.

One, in particular, to read about is ClearScale’s work for an organization that needed separate architecture designs for a SaaS offering to meet the requirements of two compliance groups: PCI DSS/HIPAA and GDPR/Cyber Essentials.

The ClearScale solution included the use of Kubernetes, an open-source system that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. The Rancher management tool was used to deliver Kubernetes-as-a-Service. With Kubernetes and Rancher, the customer gained the ability to run multiple services and tenants on the same machine.

All hosts, pods, and connectivity within the Kubernetes cluster are managed with the Rancher orchestration tool, which also connects the Windows and Linux hosts on Amazon Virtual Machines. All Kubernetes images are managed by using HELM charts. These collections of files describe a related set of Kubernetes resources, enabling ClearScale to dynamically configure each pod.

Throughout the designing and building of this system, ClearScale gave security top priority. All connections are made over TLS/SSL authentication and data encryption protocols configured on all individual services. Access is controlled and restricted using Kubernetes namespaces plus Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), providing separation between tenants. Additional security is achieved through a host-based intrusion detection OSSEC, with agents installed on all individual Docker images.

That’s just one of the many examples of how ClearScale leverages a variety of tools and technologies, including those from AWS, to meet its customers’ security and compliance requirements, as well as their business requirements.

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