RegData & MongoDB: Streamline Data Control and Compliance

Paul Claret


While navigating the requirements of keeping data secure in highly regulated markets, organizations can find themselves entangled in a web of costly and complex IT systems. Whether it's the GDPR safeguarding European personal data or the Monetary Authority of Singapore's guidelines on outsourcing and cloud computing, the greater the number of regulations organizations are subjected to, particularly across multiple geographical locations, the more intricate their IT infrastructure becomes, and organizations today face the challenge of adapting immediately or facing the consequences.

In addition to regulations, customer expectations have become a major driver for innovation and modernization. In the financial sector, for example, customers demand a fast and convenient user experience with real-time access to transaction info, a fully digitized mobile-first experience with mobile banking, and personalization and accessibility for their specific needs. While these sorts of expectations have become the norm, they conflict with the complex infrastructures of modern financial institutions. Many financial institutions are saddled with legacy infrastructure that holds them back from adapting quickly to changing market conditions. Established financial institutions must find a way to modernize, or they risk losing market share to nimble challenger banks with cost-effective solutions.

The banking market today is increasingly populated with nimble fintech companies powered by smaller and more straightforward IT systems, which makes it easier for them to pivot quickly. In contrast, established institutions often operate across borders, meaning they must adhere to a greater number of regulations. Modernizing these complex systems requires the simultaneous introduction of new, disruptive technology without violating any regulatory constraints, akin to driving a car while changing a tire. The primary focus for established banks is safeguarding existing systems to ensure compliance with regulatory constraints while prioritizing customer satisfaction and maintaining smooth operations as usual.

RegData: Compliance without risk

Multi-cloud application security platform, RegData embraces this challenge head-on. RegData has expertise across a number of highly regulated markets, from healthcare to public services, human resources, banking, and finance. The company’s mission is clear—delivering a robust, auditable, and confidential data protection platform within their comprehensive RegData Protection Suite (RPS), built on MongoDB.

RegData provides its customers with more than 120 protection techniques, including 60 anonymization techniques, as well as custom techniques (protection of IBANs, SSNs, emails, etc), giving them total control over how sensitive data is managed within each organization. For example, by working with RegData, financial institutions can configure their infrastructure to specific regulations, by masking, encrypting, tokenizing, anonymizing, or pseudonymizing data into compliance. With RPS, company-wide reports can be automatically generated for the regulating authorities (i.e., ACPR, ECB, EU-GDPR, FINMA, etc.).

To illustrate the impact of RPS, and to debunk some common misconceptions, let’s explore before and after scenarios. Figure 1 shows the decentralized management of access control. Some data sources employ features such as Field Level Encryption (FLE) to shield data, restricting access to individuals with the appropriate key. Additionally, certain applications implement Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) to regulate data access within the application. Some even come with an Active Directory (AD) interface to try and centralize the configuration.

Figure 1: Simplified architecture with no centralized access control

However, each of these only addresses parts of the challenge related to encrypting the actual data and managing single-system access. Neither FLE nor RBAC can protect data that isn’t on their data source or application. Even centralizing efforts like the AD interface excludes older legacy systems that might not have interfacing functionalities. The result in all of these cases is a mosaic of different configurations in which silos stay silos, and modernization is risky and slow because the data may or may not be protected.

RegData, with its RPS solution, can integrate with a plethora of different data sources as well as provide control regardless of how data is accessed, be it via the web, APIs, files, emails, or others. This allows organizations to configure RPS at a company level. All applications including silos can and should interface with RPS to protect all of the data with a single global configuration.

Another important aspect of RPS is its functions with tokenization, allowing organizations to decide which columns or fields from a given data source should be encrypted according to specific standards and govern the access to corresponding tokens. Thanks to tokenization, RPS can track who accesses what data and when they access it at a company level, regardless of the data source or the application. This is easy enough to articulate but quite difficult to execute at a data level. To efficiently manage diverse data sources, fine-grained authorization, and implement different protection techniques, RegData builds RPS on top of MongoDB's flexible and document-oriented database.

The road to modernization

As noted, to fully leverage RegData’s RPS, all data sources should go through the RPS. RPS works like a data filter, putting in all of the information and extracting protected data on the other side, to modernize and innovate. Just integrating RegData means being able to make previously siloed data available by masking, encrypting, or anonymizing it before sending it out to other applications and systems. Together, RegData and MongoDB form a robust and proven solution for protecting data and modernizing operations within highly regulated industries.

The illustration below shows the architecture of a private bank utilizing RPS. Data can only be seen in plain text to database admins when the request comes from the company’s headquarters. This ensures compliance with regulations, while still being able to query and search for data outside the headquarters. This bank goes a step further by migrating their Customer Relationship Management (CRM), core banking, Portfolio Management System (PMS), customer reporting, advisory, tax reporting, and other digital apps into the public cloud. This is achieved while still being compliant and able to automatically generate submittable audit reports to regulating authorities.

Figure 2: Private bank business care

Another possible modernization scheme—given RegData’s functionalities—is a hybrid cloud Operational Data Layer (ODL), using MongoDB Atlas. This architectural pattern acts as a bridge between consuming applications and legacy solutions. It centrally integrates and organizes siloed enterprise data, rendering it easily available. Its purpose is to offload legacy systems by providing alternative access to information for consuming applications, thereby breaking down data silos, decreasing latency, allowing scalability, flexibility, and availability, and ultimately optimizing operational efficiency and facilitating modernization. RegData integrates, protects, and makes data available, while MongoDB Atlas provides its inherent scalability, flexibility, and availability to empower developers to offload legacy systems.

Figure 3: Example of ODL with both RegData and MongoDB

In conclusion, in a world where finding the right solutions can be difficult, RegData provides a strategic solution for financial institutions to securely modernize. By combining RegData's regulatory protection and modern cloud platforms such as MongoDB Atlas, the collaboration takes on the modernizing challenge of highly regulated sectors.

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