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In the ever-evolving world of financial services, staying compliant, secure and efficient is paramount. Financial institutions are under constant pressure to manage risks, adhere to regulatory requirements and ensure operational consistency. With the advent of new technologies, the complexity of managing these requirements has increased, making traditional manual processes inadequate. This is where the future of automation--automated policy as code--comes into play, offering a transformative approach to complement your governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) procedures.

What is automated policy as code?

Automated policy as code enables you to enforce rules around your Ansible automation. Policies can be applied before, during and after the execution of automated tasks without the need to manually integrate them into each automation job. By codifying policies, financial institutions can enforce standards consistently and reduce the risk of non-compliance or operational failures. For more on automating policy as code, check out Phil Griffiths’ blog Automated Policy-as-Code. Start Small. Think Big which lays out the vision for delivering automated policy as code with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform.

You will note the “start small, think big” discussion in Phil’s blog. Regulatory mandates are often complex, with many of these projects being costly, time consuming and challenging. We suggest starting with internal mandates or granular elements of larger regulatory processes (such as a security requirement) and growing from there. You can do this today using Ansible Automation Platform, and similar to how we did with Event-Driven Ansible, we will make these capabilities faster and easier to implement through new automated policy as code capabilities that are more accessible across your operation.

Why is automated policy as code crucial for financial services?

Operational Consistency:

  1. Consistency in operations is key to maintaining the integrity and reliability of financial services. Automated policy as code helps standardize processes so operations adhere to defined policies, helping to reduce the likelihood of errors and operational discrepancies, which can lead to financial loss or customer dissatisfaction.

Regulatory Compliance:

  1. Financial institutions operate in one of the most heavily regulated industries. Compliance with regulations such as GDPR, SOX, PCI-DSS and others is mandatory. Automated policy as code helps enforce these regulations consistently across all automated processes. This allows the rapid remediation of issues, helping to reduce potential risk of hefty fines and the reputational damage accompanying them.

Risk Management:

  1. Financial services deal with sensitive and critical data. Automated policies can enforce security measures such as data encryption, access controls and audit logging. For instance, policies can prevent deploying applications with known vulnerabilities or help make sure that sensitive data is never stored in an unencrypted format. By automating these checks, institutions can significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents.

Cost Efficiency:

  1. Manual policy enforcement is resource-intensive and prone to human error. Automating policy enforcement reduces the need for extensive manual oversight and allows IT teams to focus on strategic initiatives. Additionally, automated policies help control operational costs by reducing issues such as uncontrolled cloud spending or non-compliant resource configurations.

Enhanced Agility:

  1. The financial services industry is rapidly evolving, with new technologies and business models emerging regularly. Automated policy as code provides the flexibility to quickly adapt to new regulations, technologies and business needs. Policies can be updated centrally and applied across all automation workflows, so the organization remains agile and compliant in a dynamic environment.

Real-World Application

Consider a scenario where a financial institution leverages cloud services for various applications. Automated policy as code can enforce rules such as:

  • Instance Management: Restricting the types and sizes of cloud instances that can be created, preventing unnecessary costs.
  • Access Controls: Securing public access points and that any changes to access controls are logged and approved.
  • Software Deployment: Mandating that only approved and tested software versions are deployed, enhancing security and stability.

By implementing these policies, the institution can maintain a robust security posture, manage costs effectively and enable compliance with industry standards.

Getting Started

To begin with automated policy as code, financial institutions should:

  1. Identify Key Policies: Start with the most critical policies that impact security, compliance and cost management.
  2. Leverage Existing Tools: Utilize platforms like Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, which will soon help you streamline the policy as code process.
  3. Start Small, Think Big: Begin with a small, manageable scope and gradually expand as you gain confidence and expertise.

Automated policy as code is not just a technological advancement; it’s a strategic imperative for financial services looking to enhance their compliance, security and operational efficiency. By embedding policies into automation workflows, financial institutions can navigate the complexities of the modern regulatory landscape with greater confidence and agility.

Join the Conversation

Visit to explore our vision for a compliant, secure, and efficient future. Engage with our community on the Ansible Forum and share your thoughts, challenges and success stories. You can also catch a replay of Phil Griffiths discussing automated Policy as Code webinar where he delves into this exciting new area in more depth. 

Get in Touch

If you have any questions or need guidance on how Red Hat can enable your institution to build a reliable, secure and flexible application platform, reach out to us. We’re here to help you navigate this transformative journey and help your financial institution remain at the forefront of compliance and innovation.

About the author

Jeff Picozzi leads a product marketing team, focusing on critical industries and edge services. He joined Red Hat in 2019 and has over 25 years of experience connecting technology products and services to specific business outcomes respective to the financial services, telecommunications, industrial, and retail industries.

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