BloxOne™ DDI for Retail Banking
The highly competitive retail banking space is in the midst of disruption. The macrotrends are clear: the rise of mobile banking capabilities, services and applications increasingly moving to the cloud, and emerging “challenger bank” and payments alternatives to traditional brand-name banks. These are all driving swift, significant change in the industry. At the same time, hard economic realities – a sustained decade+ run of low interest rates, the limited growth potential of conventional checking and banking services – mean incumbent banking brands must act on multiple fronts in order to stay relevant and profitable.
Going forward, these trends are reshaping business priorities, placing urgent emphasis on IT infrastructure broadly, and network infrastructure in particular. Ensuring reliable network performance and agility, digital security, and the ability to quickly iterate new products and services have never been more crucial to the business. To achieve these objectives, banks need to take advantage of the many advantages of cloud computing. To the extent incumbent banks have embraced the cloud, however, it’s primarily been through their customer-facing presence – mobile apps, and the ability to support transactions remotely. Where retail banks have lagged many other industries is in taking advantage of cloud opportunities to optimize operations, drive down costs, and open up opportunities for using data to create better customer experiences.
An inevitable effect of the mobile / digital revolution is that that banks are reassessing the role of the branch office – a macrotrend in and of itself. To cite a stat from the Bank of America: the company closed more than 1,700 branches between 2008 and 2018, a drop of 28%.1 Will the branch office disappear entirely? No, there are simply too many reasons for maintaining a physical presence where face-to-face meetings can happen – real estate transaction closings, safe deposit boxes, cash drop-offs for local retailers, etc. A reimagining or modernization of the branch office, however, is very much underway; Santander, for instance, is transforming their branches to bank cafes.
What’s also clear is that the branch offices that remain will need to be more tightly integrated into banks’ cloud infrastructure. Branch offices have long relied on conventional MPLS VPN networking, and all network and cloud interactions depend on core network services including DNS, DHCP and IPAM – collectively known as DDI. This type of network infrastructure, however, can’t provide the rock-solid uptime reliability and smooth cloud access necessary for full-scale digital / mobile banking. Going forward, bank’s will need to upgrade the network infrastructure underpinning their branch offices. Specifically, this will require banks to boost network connectivity with SD-WAN technologies that enable branch offices to connect directly to the Internet. Likewise, adoption of cloud-based DDI that connects users to the nearest point of entry in the cloud will become necessary to optimize user experience and workflows.
The Branch Office Challenge
The questions around how banks choose to handle DDI loom so large because, crucially, branches must have the capability to deploy networking solutions that provide the flexibility to implement through virtualized cloud technologies. Managing DDI services can either be done locally onsite with dedicated hardware and administration, or it can be handled back at the core data center. For large regional or national banks that maintain hundreds or thousands of branch offices, managing DDI requires substantial investment in IT infrastructure and resources. The choices for DDI have long been: a) manage it locally with hardware servers and dedicated administrators on premises, or b) manage it remotely at the headquarters data center. Many banks today take a mixed approach – with larger branch operations centers using dedicated on-premises DDI infrastructure, and smaller local branch locations relying on DDI back at the data center.
How this latter approach works with traditional hub and spoke network configuration is that DDI hardware is deployed within the core data center, and traffic from branch offices is then backhauled to that data center. This methodology, however, adds latency and degrades the user experience – especially when users in branch offices rely heavily on SaaS apps such as Salesforce, Office 365, or Google Suite. Backhauling can save banks substantially from having to install and maintain advanced – and expensive – dedicated DDI equipment at branch offices, but the tradeoff in performance can become untenable.
BloxOne DDI – Toward a More Agile Branch Office
Extend the Full Benefits of the Cloud to All Users & Locations
BloxOne DDI is the industry’s first solution that enables banks to centrally manage DDI from the cloud across hundreds to thousands of remote sites with unprecedented cost efficiency. It vastly simplifies networking for branch locations by moving DDI control and management to the cloud and requiring only a lightweight physical or virtual appliance on premises. BloxOne is transformative: it’s built on the principle that cloud applications require cloud DDI. Unlike traditional network architectures, BloxOne DDI optimizes user experience and workflows by always connecting users to the nearest point of entry in the cloud. With BloxOne DDI, users in your branch offices will benefit from an improved cloud experience in several ways:
- Increased reliability and performance of cloud-based SaaS applications such as Office 365 and Google Suite.
- Continuous uptime for all cloud applications, even if your WAN connection to headquarters goes down.
- Optimized security and productivity through next level network simplicity.
BloxOne: Simplifies Networking Management for Administrators
Since it’s cloud-based, BloxOne centralizes and automates core network services and cloud workload management, meaning network administrators can manage more users in less time and do so more cost effectively. BloxOne offers flexible deployment options too: it is available through subscription for virtual machines or on-premises commodity devices, delivering significant savings through lower hardware costs. BloxOne is easily scalable, and fully capable of expanding service to support growth. From the IT management point of view, BloxOne delivers positive returns on a variety of levels:
- Eliminates support calls from remote and branch office workers.
- Frees up network operations staff resources.
- Advances your multicloud and digital transformation efforts.
Banks all over the world have relied on Infoblox technologies to power, optimize and secure their networks for many years. As digital, mobile and disruptive business models continue to reshape the traditional retail banking sector, incumbents and innovators alike are now looking to Infoblox for the advanced SD-WAN, cloud-native DDI and security solutions they need to compete and succeed in the tumultuous new business environment. Specifically, Infoblox provides solutions to the critical networking challenges facing banks today.