Case Study

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Maintaining the Upkeep of IT Security and Confidentiality: A Bank’s Journey through Overcoming its IT Challenges

Traditional Islamic banking principles are committed to establishing a welfare-oriented banking system that meets the needs of low income and underprivileged citizens.

It supports the establishment of an economic system based on social emancipation and equitable distribution of wealth, encouraging the economic progress of socially deprived people. It also works to create employment opportunities and the development of agriculture and rural communities.

Whilst creating employment opportunities and developing agriculture in rural communities, the aim of traditional Islamic banks is to, support the establishment of a unique economic system. This economic system is based on social emancipation and an equitable distribution of wealth so that socially deprived people experience economic progress. This is done through the development and the creation of employment opportunities in agricultural and rural communities.

The Al-Arafah Islami Bank Limited (AAIBL) was established in 1995 and is headquartered in Dhaka in Bangladesh. This bank operates on the traditional Islamic principles and they face many key challenges. For the successful operation of any bank, they have to ensure that the vital pillars of IT security and confidentiality are ceaselessly infallible.

The AAIBL has an enormous responsibility to ensure that its IT security and confidentiality is being upheld, due to the fact that it has a customer base that is expansive and wide-ranging. It has customers from 199 branches throughout Bangladesh, ranging from busy city environments to remote rural communities.

The Challenges that has Compromised the Reputation of the Bank

The AAIBL has, for many years faced many pertinent challenges that are both internal and external. The external challenges include having to operate in an environment with weak national infrastructure, making them prone to cyberattacks that could compromise the IT security and confidentiality of the organisation. The internal challenges include having lack of a central management or policies that govern the individual use of PCs and other devices.

This has regrettably caused many virus, worm and Trojan attacks on both the local head office network and across the branch network. This resulted in the inconvenient, time-consuming and expensive task of having to transport the affected PCs from remote, rural branches back to Dhaka to be cleaned and repaired.

In particular, the uncontrolled access to virus-laden web pages and the widespread use of unauthorised USB devices resulted in numerous large scale and debilitating infections. At their most severe, these problems could result in the complete shutdown of branches, with core banking software ceasing to operate. This could be extremely inimical as it could affect customer’s transactions, doing irrevocable damage to the organisation’s reputation. These issues were also preventing AAIBL’s efforts to establish online banking services.

Mr. D. M. Jahangir Rabbani, Senior Principal Officer, ICT Division, said that whilst these events were now routine to the organisation, it was vital that they find a solution to the problems since it was causing severe disruptions to their consumers and creating a bad reputation for the organisation.

The Solution from Kaspersky Lab that Brought AAIB Back to their Feet Again

The bank selected Kaspersky Lab and its award-winning Dhaka-based partner, Officextracts, for the performance of its software. The systems put in place by Kaspersky included virus detection and management.  Kaspersky Lab’s world class, multi-layered anti-malware protection for AAIB’s systems, servers and more than 1,000 individual users was combined with firewall, application, device and web control, mobile security, device and systems management capabilities.

The solution has provided a comprehensive remedy for the bank’s longstanding and damaging virus problems. Network traffic is now running smoothly and centralised controls on the use of devices such as USBs, CDs and DVDs is preventing local infections out in the branch network.

Websites and applications presenting dangers to the bank are being identified and blocked centrally by the IT team from head office, managing threat and risk levels and significantly reducing bandwidth consumption. It can manage the system, monitor endpoint security, review threat and risk levels and generate reports for executives, all from the Kaspersky Lab central console.

The results are significant for both the bank and its customers. Core banking services are streamlined and operating smoothly for customers resulting in efficiency of operations allowing staff to focus on activities that can improve customer satisfaction. The IT team can now focus on enhancing and innovating so that their colleagues and customers can benefit from them.

Said Mr. Rabbani that as a bank their operations must be secure and confidential at all times. While they have resolved their security issues thanks to Kaspersky Lab, they have to continue to be resilient and control central access to web pages, applications and devices.

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