Avenue Bank builds a business — and a security discipline — from the ground up
Published on 11 Mar 2023
Avenue Bank is constructing a digital business bank focusing on next-generation cash flow solutions for Australian small and medium-sized businesses. Its purpose is to put cash back into the hands of Australian companies by assisting them in discovering new, flexible methods to release funds. In the latter half of 2022, Avenue Bank will start formally.
With a focus on product creation, Avenue Bank hopes to fill a significant need in the Australian banking industry. Brittany Kettlewell, Avenue Bank's Senior Growth, Brand & Marketing Manager, explains, "We noticed that conventional banks and financial services were not serving companies in Australia, particularly in terms of the products provided." We will be a bank of the 21st century for Australian enterprises.
Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Dr. Kevin Tham, adds, "There hasn't been a great deal of product innovation in Australian banking; therefore, this has been Avenue Bank's priority."
Priority number one has been building a comprehensive security protocol as Avenue Bank prepares for its debut. Tham's team is responsible for the organization's end-to-end security. It works closely with the Head of Engineering, Nic Parfait's team, to ensure the appropriate security measures are integrated into its environment. Setting up their platform and connecting with their suppliers' services, including the customer relationship management (CRM) system and the Know Your Customer (KYC) system, has been a top priority for Parfait. The Avenue Bank core platform is being built on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Parfait says, "We're cloud-native, so my team is responsible for everything from designing microservices and infrastructure to connecting the numerous systems."
Tham states, "We have a remarkable chance in establishing Avenue Bank." This adventure has also been a professional first for Tham. Tham continues, "I've spent my whole career traveling from organization to organization to repair things, and now I have the opportunity to construct things in a manner that prevents us from having to address problems later on." Collaboration across teams has been essential to the development process so far. "With large institutions, engineering, and security are completely separate," adds Tham. Yet since Avenue Bank wants to do things differently, Tham and Parfait have pulled their teams together to "provide the environment in lockstep."
The security and engineering teams share an innovation-driven, security-focused mindset. "From an engineering standpoint, our objective is to be safe from day one and to construct securely from the beginning," explains Parfait. Our early identification and resolution of difficulties greatly facilitate my team's work.
Tham adds, "Since we're building from scratch and don't have the legacy systems that traditional financial institutions do, we're able to build best-in-class infrastructure right from the start, which is why partnerships like Lacework are so appealing." Initially, Avenue Bank brought on a Lacework partner to help develop their security strategy, with the objectives of gaining visibility into their environment, constructing security guardrails, and shifting left. With this partner, they gained knowledge of Lacework.
Immediately after finding Lacework, Tham and Parfait conducted a demonstration. Tham states, "Lacework performed everything the other instruments did, but on overdrive." "Using the platform was like having another person always sitting there and informing us about the problems. Then it delved even further into the behavioral side of things, which blew my mind. Parfait says, "We were quite pleased by the Lacework demo's potential. We were eager to see whether it lived up to its promise: the unobtrusive setup, the simple dashboards, and the simplicity of use." With this impressive initial impression, Avenue Bank proceeded with a proof of concept.
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