Remote access solutions have been employed by financial institutions for a subset of their employee and contractor populations for many years. Certain groups of employees did not have the option of working remotely or from home. The onset of the pandemic changed that in rapid fashion. As local restrictions and lockdowns were enacted in cities and countries across the globe, remote access became a necessity for financial institutions to conduct business and continue operations. Any capacity constraints on the remote access infrastructure had to be addressed as quickly as possible. With on-premise solutions, internet bandwidth upgrades, additional VPN appliances, web proxies, and other related infrastructure elements would need to be scoped out, purchased, and then finally deployed as an IT project, which could take months to complete. In a crisis, some corners would be cut just to meet the immediate need. However, these would need to be revisited to ensure all appropriate controls are in place, inventories are updated, etc.
The growing use of cloud-based applications (e.g., Microsoft 365, Salesforce.com) by financial institutions has made on-premise remote access solutions suboptimal in terms of traffic flows. The need to backhaul internet-destined to the data center first adds latency and impacts the remote access user experience. Mobile employees and those working from home need access to data and applications in the data center, on the internet, or in the public cloud.
Download this paper to read about a European-headquartered financial institution’s implementation of Prisma Access for 40,000 remote users, and how they were able to quickly scale this up for another 13,000 employees (or 32%) when the pandemic hit. As part of this cloud-delivered secure access service edge (SASE) approach, they were able to retire their on-premise VPN appliances and web proxies too.