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Fiber Networks: Securing Data for America’s Financial and Banking Institutions

Corporate America is under attack. In the past few years we’ve seen major security breaches impact millions of Americans, as Target, Home Depot and various other retailers have lost consumer confidence thanks to major data breaches. Even the banking industry isn’t immune to security risk. JPMorgan, one of the largest banks in America, experienced a cyber attack that affected 76 million households and seven million small businesses, according to The New York Times.

As consumers continue to flock to electronic banking, bank IT systems grow ever more attractive to hackers experienced in unauthorized access, network attacks and various other scams that compromise sensitive financial information.

Banks and other financial institutions that continue to rely on aging copper-based networks would benefit from a complete network audit with the purpose of identifying potential network breaking points, especially for older, cobbled-together networks that are the result of multiple bank merges.

A reliable and secure alternative to copper are fiber-based networks built with a Passive Optical LAN (POL), a much more secure alternative than copper. Why? Copper emits electrical signals, which means hackers can listen in and illicitly gather data.

Think of it this way: copper is electric, which means it acts, in essence, like an antenna, allowing cross talk between wires. So transmissions relayed over copper wiring include signals that can be intercepted, and interception translates into major security losses.

In contrast, fiber transmit light and therefore doesn’t have signal emissions. And without signal emissions, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for hackers to attach listening devices. Additionally, fiber is difficult to splice and requires highly specialized knowledge and equipment. Fiber also supports 128-bit AES encryption in the downstream direction, a standard established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Going a step further, DZS’s POL solution includes advanced software access controls. We’ve developed highly secure feature sets, including support for MAC-based access control lists, which allow operators to grant access to select devices across a controlled list of connected clients. Our POL platform also supports sticky MACs, which provide yet another layer of security by locking a MAC address to a port for a set amount of time.

DZS’s POL platform offers additional benefits which will appeal to a company’s bottom line. When compared to copper, fiber-based networks:

  • Cost less to implement and maintain.
  • Require less space and fewer tech closets.
  • Can be deployed for an expected 25-year lifespan, therefore future proofing the network.

The reputations of banking and financial institutions are only as strong as their data repositories. A Passive Optical LAN provides the security measures banks need to stay ahead of hackers and protect the highly sensitive information trusted to them by millions of American citizens and small businesses.

DZS is dedicated to providing cost-effective, long-term infrastructure solutions to financial institutions. Our team can help develop a complimentary assessment of the costs and benefits of a Passive Optical LAN for your bank.