Finding the ROI in Database Monitoring for Financial Services
November 04, 2020

Jamie Wallis

COVID-19 has forced almost every industry to rethink their everyday business strategies. As IT teams and core personnel continue working remotely for the foreseeable future, critical industries accustomed to in-person interactions like financial services will need to implement the necessary tools and services to ensure sensitive data remains safe, and in compliance with strict privacy laws. Unlike some sectors, however, the financial services sector is getting it right, stepping up to ensure their database management never falls behind.

According to data from Redgate's 2020 State of Database Monitoring in Financial Services, 66% of respondents report using a third-party monitoring tool to maintain a close watch on the sensitive data this industry manages, giving it the ability to react instantly when a problem does occur. It's a significant increase from other sectors like government or manufacturing, which typically sit at around 39%. And as remote workplaces endure, and cloud adoption grows, database monitoring will play a crucial role in helping IT teams spot and resolve problems quickly, while meeting customer demands and ensuring database compliance.

Failed Deployments Become a Thing of the Past

Server estates are large for the financial services sector, and they're only getting bigger. Survey results show the biggest increase was estates with over 1,000 instances. And although more than 60% of those in financial services deploy database updates once a week or more, compared to 43% across other sectors, almost 50% of respondents detect failed deployments within 10 minutes. Along with detecting failures faster, financial services respondents also recover from them faster with nearly a third saying that they can also recover in 10 minutes or less.

So what's at play? By implementing database monitoring to consistently keep track of changes to their database, regardless of whether estate sizes grow, teams are remote, or updates are released each week, the financial sector is able to detect and recover from issues much faster than other sectors. In fact, only 2% of failures reportedly take longer than a day to recover from, compared to 6% across other sectors. It may not sound like much, but it could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars lost on a database error. Ultimately, it's also freeing up the time of IT teams to focus on value-added tasks, and keeping customers happy in an industry that depends on real-time solutions.

Remote Teams and Human Error

It's tough being a database professional, and especially so for those in financial services. Database management teams are tasked with performance optimization and backups, but additional responsibilities like user permissions management, performing deployments, availability checking, patching and auditing are all between 8 and 11 percentage points higher compared to other sectors. But it's not just the database administrator (DBA) who has access to the data. While the DBA does have the most access, other IT professionals, developers and even some management all have access, which likely speaks to the need to maintain a robust, reliable infrastructure.

This can also lead to the occasional error. Human error is the cause of 27% of issues in financial services. Although ad-hoc user access is largely contained (at only 10% for financial services compared to 19% across other sectors), this will be a space to watch as remote work continues into 2021. It also indicates a need for an effective monitoring solution that can alert database teams of immediate issues and track long-term trends, so the same mistakes don't repeat themselves.

Cloud Explosion

It's no secret that every industry is relying heavily on the cloud in 2020, but since companies couldn't possibly predict a continued need to work remotely well into 2021, reliance on cloud services is only going to get higher. For financial services, as with so many other sectors, there has been a general, ongoing shift to hybrid estates, mixing both on-premises and cloud usage. The demands on the industry certainly make for a fast-paced development landscape, but despite the sector being ahead of the curve in many ways, it's a relative latecomer when it comes to cloud adoption. Of those surveyed, 20% also note that migrating to and integrating with the cloud will be one of the biggest challenges in 2021.

Much of the financial services sector has been slow to change, relying on legacy systems already in place. Alongside the traditional difficulties of managing large estates that contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) are the heightened security concerns and compliance regulations businesses must follow. As the sector now looks to advance its own digital transformation efforts, and manage fast growing server estates, perhaps the continued remote work environment will be the right push the industry needs to finally make the move to cloud.

The Not-So-Hidden ROI

Financial services is finding its stride with database monitoring. As remote work increases, and the need for stringent compliance and security standards remains the same, database monitoring will play a key role in helping IT teams maintain their data and not lose precious time and money trying to resolve issues.

The move to the cloud also complements remote monitoring. With the right monitoring solution in place, the financial services industry can still get all the answers they need about the health of their growing estates, whether their databases are hosted on-premises, in the cloud or a mixture of both. It's clear that the industry is taking the right steps — ensuring their databases are maintained and errors are spotted and resolved quickly. It's certainly an approach that other industries should follow.

Jamie Wallis is Product Marketing Manager at Redgate
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