Arindam Mukherjee
Arindam Mukherjee
Director- Banking,

Arindam Mukherjee, Director- Banking, CISCO talks about huge opportunities in the BFSI sector and a range of solutions they offer for the banking domain. Mukherjee also gives an insight on digital payments in a conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of Elets News Network (ENN)

Please elaborate on CISCO’s journey in the banking domain and how is it leveraging information technology in the banking ecosystem?
Cisco as a company came into prominence with the advancement of internet. Basically, Cisco used to be a network provider and transporter of the internet traffic.
After the dot com bust, whole world came back to adopt this business model. Meanwhile, most of the business models got disrupted with the advancement of internet in the business modules. Almost all the sectors of operation got affected by this; accept the two industries, which are still untouched by internet, namely- banking and healthcare. The information that we deal with in these two sectors are core to the customers-which are guarded by a virtual wall, making it not accessible to the world at large. Three to four years back bank customers used to turn up at the branch to withdraw money or to use ATM which has now been shifted to internet and mobile banking making it accessible to all with ease. The BFSI sector has evolved a lot in the recent years. Public sector banks took quite a while to understand whether they should embrace the transformation process. That is the reason is why the State Bank of India is the last one among the banks to come up with their wallets- “Buddy”. The online wallet option in a way has secured personal information we use besides storing some small amount of money virtually, which can be used for any emergency purpose.

Customers are shifting from physical cash to online transaction of any form which is definitely a paradigm shift. Lending and collection are two primary tenants of banking. Most sellers in online platform usually do not go to any banks for any financial needs because of the validated personal data available in the internet platform through which bankers can process loans to these rising entrepreneurs easily as well as monitor collection from them too. The advancement of internet and technology in banking is disrupting traditional banking system thus reducing the lengthy procedures involved for lending and hassle-free collection and customer monitoring as well. The existing fin-techs are getting clouds funded. Thus, this kind of transformation is enabling CISCO to believe our potential to explore service opportunities we can involve ourselves in the entire banking ecosystem. Thus, when the banks are opening and accepting new applications, we at Cisco make solutions to deploy these applications. We have come out with a new device called ‘Remote Advisor’ which enables users to get control of the callers screen while in video call, to make video demonstrations more effective. CISCO is highly pinning on the BFSI sector to capture the customer market, to build on an effective relationship between the service provider and the recipient. Our core objective is to establish advanced security firewall banks which are voluminous source of public information and highly volatile to be infected by external threats. We at CISCO are very uniquely positioned to help our customers with solutions of threats of such nature.

As we know, that the banking ecosystem is embedded with a lot of volatile information which if threatened by outsiders may cause havoc.

Please elaborate on any solution that CISCO is bringing in to establish the security system stronger.

We take up to architectural build support including firewall for website and emails to enhance email security and web security. They basically conduct a network behaviour analysis in the banking ecosystems. It looks at the traffic flowing in a website from IPS, firewall and anti-virus and checks the signature of malware and traces it back to its origin, to the sender-base. On a command center where hundreds of expert engineers are working on a real-time basis to monitor the web-traffic and scan out the rogue IP addresses those are potential threats in the system. These are then categorised to make a dedicated list. So banks, which are our clients and opt for our web security appliances are basically cloud connected devices. Oracle is championing the cause of security in malware attack before it reaches your perimeter. In big organisations, there are multiple layers of web security and plug-in, which the hackers always look for penetrating in the system to infect it. With network behaviour analysis, it correlates the traffic pattern to understand from where it is coming, which are the devices it is trying to infect and thus block the person with any kind of malicious intent. That’s what our threat centric solutions are catering too.

CISCO is pinning high hopes on the BFSI sector to capture the customer market to build an effective relationship between the service provider and the recipient

Digital payments are the current trend in the Indian banking ecosystem. How do you perceive the same is going to affect the industry?
Undoubtedly so, the fact can be assured with the introduction of the new payments banks in the banking ecosystem. On the other hand, payment wallets like PayTM and similar ones would be acting as a transport for the money for an individual who is placed in hinterlands miles away. With the advancement of payment banks, people can now use this money on their own way, just how we work in the normal banking ecosystem. On the other hand, the banking domain paradigm on rate of interests that financial institutions offer goes for a fix due to the rising competition in the sector.

This on the other hand will be able to make more customers by selling the financial products at one-third of the price. The proposition on this model was to firstly build on to the wallet and then eventually change into customer preference for higher value products to make up for the margin. Secondly, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) launched by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will however take at least six to eight months to actually take off in the market on total functional mode.

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