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The Complete ISP Checklist for Financial Institutions

  • by Shawn Eftink
  • Apr 24, 2019

Fast, dependable and secure internet service is a necessity for every business. But for financial institutions, simply deploying dedicated high-speed access from a typical Internet Service Provider (ISP) and calling it a day is not possible.

Why? Because there are a bevy of IT guidelines and regulations that financial institutions must adhere to, including Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) compliance. So, when shopping for the best ISP for your financial institution, you need to make sure it has built-in layers of security, redundancy, monitoring and other elements not included with standard ISPs.

This checklist will help you ask all the right questions to make sure you find a secure internet solution that’s the perfect fit for your institution.

Infrastructure/Availability

  • Does the ISP have a big enough infrastructure to handle all your institution’s needs?
  • What kind of redundancy is built into the solution?
  • If there is a failure somewhere in the network, will there be significant downtime?
  • Will the infrastructure be able to scale and keep up as your institution grows?

Security

  • What types of security options does the ISP offer out of the box?
  • How's the firewall service?
  • Is there content filtering?
  • How robust is the Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)?
  • Is Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection available?
  • Is there network-based malware protection?

Support

  • How often is someone from tech support available to help you?
  • At audit time, when regulators ask for certain pieces of information, will the ISP be able to retrieve specific pieces of information?

Monitoring/Traffic

  • Are there specialized Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) teams constantly monitoring the infrastructure for threats and other issues?
  • Is there someone dedicated to maintaining the latest threat intelligence?
  • How is traffic across the network monitored?
  • Can traffic be recorded and retroactively studied to learn more about potential threats?

Communications

  • How well does the ISP handle VoIP telecommunications services?

Penetration Testing

Finding a reputable, secure ISP for your financial institution is an important process with a lot of moving parts. Incorporating this checklist into your search will make sure you get everything your institution needs while leaving nothing you want on the table.

Shawn Eftink is a product manager for CSI's Managed Services Division, which includes CSINet, CSI’s secure internet solution. He has more than 20 years of industry experience and holds Information Technology Infrastructure Library and Certified ScrumMaster certifications.