Transforming Retail Banking Security


Established in 1980, AL-MAWARID Bank is a Lebanese retail bank with a strong record of growth. The bank’s success is partly due to its dedication to delivering innovative, world-class products and services. For example, AL-MAWARID was the first bank to introduce mobile banking in Lebanon.

Six years ago, the bank worked with local IT solution provider ICC Group to enhance the flexibility of its IT infrastructure through virtualization. With the exception of its mainframe-based core banking system, the bank’s entire IT infrastructure—including its virtual desktop infrastructure—runs on VMware solutions.

Bolstering Security with Micro-Segmentation

Recently, the bank began searching for ways to enhance data center security. Like all financial services organizations, AL-MAWARID Bank must ensure the tightest security to protect customer information and enterprise networks. Breaches could result in huge financial losses, regulatory fines, and a severely damaged reputation.

To bolster security, the bank decided to introduce micro-segmentation in its IT environment. Micro-segmentation secures individual workloads rather than relying exclusively on perimeter security to protect data and networks. Even if a threat gets past the perimeter, micro-segmentation prevents that threat from moving laterally within the environment.

The bank selected the VMware NSX® network virtualization platform as a way to implement micro-segmentation without adding management complexity. The platform’s distributed firewalling and automated security policy capabilities can boost data protection and support compliance with the rigorous regulatory framework of the Lebanese banking sector, as well as international laws. “The introduction of micro-segmentation with VMware NSX to our bank is transformative,” says Ghassan Jumblat, IT head at AL-MAWARID Bank. “It’s transforming our approach to security as well as how we meet regulatory and compliance requirements.”

Improving Business Continuity, Enhancing Agility

The new solution will help improve the bank’s application continuity capabilities. The virtualized data center network spans to the bank’s active-passive disaster recovery site, providing the bank with the freedom to securely move virtual machines (VMs), data, and applications across its private cloud. “The VMs move across the data center with their network policy and their security policy, which makes it secure, automated, and straightforward,” says Jumblat.

In addition, the advanced IT automation capabilities of NSX will enable the bank to respond faster to business requests. As a result, the business can become much more agile and bring products and service innovations to market faster. “Our investment in NSX will help us sustain our growth momentum by capitalizing on our strategy to use technology to stay ahead of the competition,” Jumblat says.

Want to learn more about how AL-MAWARID Bank improves time to market while boosting security? Watch the video above.


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