Swedbank Secures a Global Financial Network with Exabeam

Helping Swedbank Secure a Global Financial Network

Published
November 17, 2020

Author
Gerhard Jacobs

Based in the Nordic-Baltic region, Swedbank with more than 7.3 million private customers, along with 546,000 corporate customers is one of the largest international banks. Protecting all those accounts can be a challenge, especially with operations spread across the globe.

After shopping around for a solution that was up to today’s cybersecurity challenges, Swedbank chose Exabeam. The Exabeam Security Management Platform gave Swedbank’s team the tools necessary to make quick, thorough investigations.

Swedbank’s challenges

Financial institutions face increased pressure to safeguard data, with regulations in place designed to protect consumers. A data breach can be devastating to a financial services provider like Swedbank, not only for the loss of trust, but also for the fines and penalties associated with non-compliance.

But as attacks have become more sophisticated, institutions face increasing demand to keep up. The technologies that worked well even a couple of years ago are no longer enough. Swedbank needed a solution that could not only respond to today’s challenges, but that would also be able to handle the techniques cyberattackers will use in the years to come.

“What prompted us to lifecycle our existing tool was the increased maturity of the adversaries out there, as well as their ability to hide within different technologies.” — Jan Willekens, APO Cyber Defense Center & Cyber Security Incident Manager, Swedbank

Efficiency is another issue plaguing financial institutions. If an issue occurs, the team at Swedbank needs technologies that will allow them to respond quickly. They also had to be able to put policies in place quickly, rather than waiting around for the next rollout.

Although Swedbank had existing cybersecurity software, it was a first-generation configuration management solution. It worked great at one time, but it was having a tough time keeping up with current developments. They needed a solution that could expand to meet modern challenges, while also supporting the use cases they wanted to deploy.

The Exabeam solution

As they considered various vendors, Swedbank was specifically looking for a solution that they could customize to meet their own needs. A top priority was a security platform that would let their data scientists write custom behavior analytics rules, as well as building custom behavior analytics modules within the tool. That narrowed the options down considerably, since many solutions didn’t allow that.

In addition to customizability, Swedbank needed software that offered help with PCI compliance, which is crucial for financial institutions. As with other lenders, Swedbank must maintain constant compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which specifically requires protection of credit card data. This data is massive, so it was important to find a provider that could manage that while also helping the Swedbank team conduct quick searches.

In addition to checking all of these boxes and more, Exabeam also had a competitive pricing structure. Exabeam uses a budget-friendly pricing model that keeps the cost predictable even as technology changes.

More effective cybersecurity monitoring

Immediately after implementing Exabeam, Swedbank began to notice the difference. The cybersecurity team at Swedbank now has the tools necessary to go through large volumes of use cases at once, which helps them single out anomalies, such as rogue devices on the network.

In short, Exabeam’s technology equipped Swedbank with the tools necessary to catch more bad guys. Instead of spending hours scouring logs, the team can quickly conduct searches and trace timelines to determine exactly what’s happening. Team morale is up, not only because they have more success stories, but also because they spend less time on tedious tasks and more on investigating discrepancies.

Establishing a baseline for normal behavior

As with many companies now using Exabeam, Swedbank has discovered one of the biggest benefits is having a baseline. Exabeam operates in the background, using machine learning to learn typical behavior from all users and systems on the network. This learning creates a baseline that makes it easier to detect when something abnormal occurs.

With an international presence and millions of customers, it’s important that Swedbank has a platform that can manage incoming activities while also ensuring payment data remains safe.

One thing that impressed Swedbank most was Exabeam’s ability to differentiate between a real user or device and a threat. Exabeam can even detect multiple identities of the same user on a network. Best of all, it does this with such precision that it doesn’t get in the way of transactions from legitimate users and devices.

We have detailed Swedbank’s experience in a case study. To read the full case study, “Equipping Swedbank With the Tools to Carry Out Faster, More Complex Investigations,” click here.

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