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Rabobank Counters Growing Ransomware Crisis with Cloudian Object Storage

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A change for now the future

Cloudian® has announced that Rabobank, a multinational banking and financial services company, has deployed Cloudian object storage as part of its multi-layered protection solution against ransomware attacks.

In conjunction with Veeam backup software, Cloudian’s S3 Object Lock solution enables Rabobank to make backup data copies immutable and, therefore, impervious to encryption or deletion by cybercriminals. This data immutability—validated in U.S. government certification testing*—ensures quick, reliable recovery in the event of a ransomware attack.

Founded 125 years ago, Rabobank is a cooperative bank headquartered in the Netherlands that offers private and commercial customers a wide variety of financial products in areas, including real estate, mortgage, and leasing solutions. The bank is a global leader in food and agriculture financing as well as sustainability-orientated banking, with 43,000 employees across 38 countries.

In mid-2020, Rabobank deployed the first step in its layered protection against ransomware attacks. The bank had become concerned that traditional backup target storage solutions were vulnerable to this growing threat and set out to methodically build robust defense and recovery across the full stack. This led to the company ultimately looking for a scale-out object storage solution with data immutability.

Rabobank stores in excess of 10.5 PB of backup data from its European entities, a figure growing 25% annually. Key requirements for this backup pool included scalability in both capacity and performance. Capacity scalability was essential to accommodate growing data volumes. Performance was important to meet backup RTO and RPO objectives as the Veeam data being processed would create significant input/output load that would grow over time. Scalable processing power was also important to manage data immutability for the two billion-plus objects that would routinely be created and later deleted as backups naturally expired.

“For this reason we focused in quickly on the Cloudian scale-out solution. With its peer-to-peer architecture, each addition of a new Cloudian node increases the system’s performance and processing power,” said Colin Chatelier, manager of Storage Services Europe, Rabobank. “We also conducted a proof-of-concept, empirically and functionally comparing Cloudian to other solutions using production backups and were impressed with the results. In contrast to others that took weeks to set up, the Cloudian system was up and running in a day. It integrated seamlessly with Veeam, performance was as good as or better than the others and security ticked all the boxes.”

Rabobank deployed Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage with S3 Object Lock at their two European data centers. In addition to providing data immutability, HyperStore locks down privileged (root) access to the systems that host the data so that no one can compromise that immutability. Implementing on Cloudian appliances was seen as a distinct advantage as it technically separated the “fail-safe copy” from the standard infrastructure, which might already be compromised in the event of a successful ransomware attack. HyperStore also protects data with encryption in flight and at rest, integrated firewall, RBAC/IAM and SAML access controls, and certification with the most rigorous regulatory requirements, including Common Criteria, FIPS and SEC Rule 17a-4(f).

“The biggest benefit has been peace of mind,” said Chatelier. “We’ve commissioned penetration testing and haven’t been able to break into the Cloudian cluster, nor affect the data immutability. It’s also implemented within our automated backup workflow, so it’s easy to manage. When issues do arise, as happens with any solution, Cloudian has been extremely responsive, including delivering new reporting and security features we’ve requested.”

The Cloudian solution is part of a broader ransomware protection framework Chatelier is spearheading. He and his team have built a “clean room” for managing data restoration and malware removal, leveraging VMware and Cisco technologies.

“We know there will always be a suggestion to use the public cloud for ransomware protection,” said Chatelier. “While public cloud backups are well-suited for cloud-based data, they are not ideal for on-prem data. Recovering from the cloud back to on-prem for these volumes in the time and manner that we need simply wouldn’t be possible. Furthermore, building a clean room in the public cloud for the purpose of recovering your on-prem systems has an obvious flaw—your ability to even reach the cloud may already be compromised by the attack.”

Moving forward, Rabobank expects to expand the Cloudian solution in Oceania and the Americas.

“Immutable backups are a company’s last-chance insurance policy,” said Chatelier. “If we invoke them, then they simply must succeed, so trust and partnership with our key vendors is priceless. At this time more than all others, we need our vendors to be true partners, to be there if we need them, and Cloudian has demonstrated this through the level of commitment and flexibility it has shown from the PoC to implementation.”

* Cohasset Associates Compliance Assessment, Jan. 2020

 

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Union Bank of India goes live with RuPay Credit Card on UPI with Kiya.ai as a technology partner

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Nitesh Ranjan, ED Union Bank of India with Rajesh Mirjankar, Managing Director & CEO, Kiya.ai at the launch

 

Kiya.ai, one of the most innovative digital solutions providers in India, announced that Union Bank of India was among the first banks to launch NPCI’s UPI linked to Rupay Credit Card and UPI Lite on the unified payments interface (UPI) platform with Kiya.ai as their technology partner in this achievement.

The announcement comes after the RBI Governor Shri Shaktikanta Das and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) launched RuPay credit card on UPI, UPI Lite and Cross Border payments for BBPS at Global Fintech Fest 2022.

Until now, UPI allowed the linking of bank accounts by mapping an account linked with a mobile number and an savings / current account. Earlier in June 2022, the RBI allowed the linking of credit cards with UPI, stating that RuPay credit cards would be initially linked with UPI “to provide additional convenience to users and enhance the scope of digital payments”.

Rajesh Mirjankar, Managing Director & CEO, Kiya.ai, “We are extremely delighted to partner with Union Bank of India in this pilot project of linking RuPay Credit card on UPI. Kiya.ai has partnered with Union Bank of India for various digital payment initiatives including UPI, UPI Lite, UPI linkage to credit card, and sandbox for API banking.  The linking of credit card to UPI will significantly enhance high-volume transactions while also increasing average amount per transaction given the ease of using credit facility on UPI. This is a game-changing initiative as it will ensure safe and contactless transactions, reducing the risk of credit card frauds too.”

Mr. Nitesh Ranjan, ED Union Bank of India said, “We are pleased to embrace the decision taken by the Reserve Bank of India and NPCI to enable Rupay credit cards through UPI. Union Bank of India is proud to be a part of this launch. This is a game changer as one would be able to use a credit card for doing payments using UPI. We are excited to partner with Kiya.ai on this journey, and together, we can provide a smooth user experience to customers and make India even more digitally advanced.”

As part of the pilot project, NPCI will integrate the UPI AutoPay feature with credit card transactions to reduce the risk of defaults on credit card payments.

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UK leaves Europe trailing in its embrace of digital banking

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  • People in the UK have embraced digital and online banking in a way that those across the rest of Europe have not, new research by CRIF finds
  • UK consumers are now twice as likely to prefer to apply for financial products and services online via website or in-app, compared to people in other parts of Europe
  • More than half of Europeans still prefer to apply for new financial products in-person
  • The research comes during the cost of living crisis where people in the UK are increasingly looking for greater support from their financial providers

UK consumers are significantly ahead of their European counterparts in their embrace of digital forms of banking, new data shows.

The research, commissioned by Europe’s leading provider of consumer and business credit information – CRIF – surveyed thousands of people in countries across the continent including France, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Slovakia, and the UK, to better understand their attitudes towards financial services.

The findings show that people in the UK are nearly twice as likely as other Europeans to prefer applying for financial products and services online via website or app, including through online chat or video call functions (59% vs 33%)

It also finds that over half (53%) of Europeans still prefer to apply for new financial products – such as current accounts, credit cards or loans – in-person at a local bank branch. In comparison, in the UK only around one in five (23%) would now prefer to go in-person, showing consumers’ embrace of a digital-first approach to banking.

The data underlines the advancements and innovations that the UK’s financial services and fintech sectors have made when compared to other sectors across Europe. The UK continues to be Europe’s most attractive location for international investment into financial services*, with the UK’s fintech sector securing more than $9bn of investment in the first half of 2022, ahead of Germany, Europe’s second biggest fintech destination, with $2.4bn.**

Sara Costantini, CRIF’s Regional Director for the UK & Ireland, said:

“In a digitally dominated world, the way in which we go about our daily lives has changed. And nowhere more so than in banking and financial services. Our research shows that the UK leads the way in Europe when it comes to embracing digital and online methods, but there is still more we can do to utilise digital technologies to help more UK consumers to manage their finances.

“While some are reluctant to share data as they are worried about fraud and security, we should work to allay these fears. Technologies such as open banking are not only safe but can lay the foundations for increased financial support during the current economic crisis.

“Financial providers must do more to educate their customers about the benefits of online and other digital forms of banking to not only help them during the cost of living crisis, but also to drive widespread financial wellbeing and inclusion for all.”

While the UK’s embrace of digital financial services in comparison to the rest of Europe is positive, the research identifies several key challenges to furthering this progress and providing consumers with better services at a time when the cost of living is putting considerable pressure on people’s finances.

Despite growing demand in the UK for more tailored financial products and services – with 34% saying banks should doing more here to meet people’s specific needs at this time – nearly one in five (18%) are still concerned that they would be sold products which aren’t right for them.

When the issue of data is raised, over two-thirds of UK consumers (67%) express concerns that sharing financial data leaves them more open to fraud, underlining the need to educate and reassure customers that innovations like open banking have high security standards and enables a range of consumer benefits.

However, despite this hesitance, more UK consumers are acknowledging the benefits that sharing more of their financial information with providers can bring. CRIF’s research finds around a third of people in the UK would be prepared to share more financial information if it helped providers to better assess their financial situation and improve their ability to borrow (35%) or increase their credit limit (31%). The fact that there are more than 6 million active users of open banking services in the UK reflects this change*** and makes the country the leading adopter of open banking in Europe. ****

The research also shows that younger generations (18-34s) in the UK are significantly more willing to share their data with financial providers, with 53% saying they’d be comfortable doing so if it enabled them to qualify for higher levels of borrowing.

These findings are part of wider research by CRIF into the cost of living crisis in Europe, and its impact on consumer attitudes towards banking and financial services. The full report, Banking on Banks, will be published later this month.

 

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