Aug 19 2020

How Banks Should Consider Scope, Scale and Security When Moving to the Cloud

Banks are embracing the cloud. But how do they ensure new deployments meet evolving industry expectations?

Banks are moving to the cloud. But with historical reluctance comes understandable hesitation for complete conversion: They must prioritize cloud controls that address key concerns around handling scope, managing scale and implementing security.

Current economic conditions are now pushing many banks to make cloud-first frameworks a priority — but how do they ensure that new deployments deliver on expectations without compromising current operations? 

The Cloud Landscape for Banks Is Changing

While banks have often put off cloud adoption in favor of on-premises priorities, the current negative interest rate and regulatory environment has resulted in major announcements to strike major cloud deals in the past few months.

In July, for example, Deutsche Bank and Google unveiled a 10-year agreement in which the Germany-based financial services firm will consume cloud services from Google that help  “redefine how the bank develops and offers its financial services,” Deutsche Bank states. Meanwhile, HSBC has just inked a deal with Amazon for its public cloud business operations, while National Australia Bank plans to move “1,000 apps in 1,000 days” into Azure’s public cloud offering.

Also under discussion is the adoption of open-source software. While that would have been unthinkable in financial services even five years ago, banks are now trying to determine what they can do with more open-source technologies as increasing cost pressure pushes them to look for cloud-native solutions.

What Banks Should Consider Before Moving to the Cloud

While big announcements underscore the growing potential of public, private and multicloud frameworks, several levels of decision-making are critical in the lead-up to cloud adoption at scale in financial services.

First is the emerging requirement for on-demand compute capabilities, especially as they relate to risk. The U.S. Federal Reserve and EU retailers now demand banks perform a “stress test” multiple times a year. As a result, enhanced regulatory resourcing and the underpinning of other apps that require scaling but aren’t used regularly are where banks initially interact with the cloud.

Next, big banks need to solve the compute power part of the equation with robust and reliable resource access on demand. This first took the form of hybrid environments designed to leverage the benefits of private cloud control and public cloud power; now, this is transitioning to multicloud because banks don’t want to be stuck with one vendor. In the same way they choose at least two OEMs for the data center, financial firms now do the same for the cloud. 

But financial services firms also recognize that not everything should go to the public cloud. Complex, mission-critical apps can’t lift and shift, and security concerns also play a role. In this case, banks may opt for private cloud solutions that give teams the feel of the cloud with the ability to provision on demand — but without compromising security.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Is your bank branch reopening? Here's a checklist to make sure you're prepared.

Best Practices for Cloud Transitions in Banking

Banks that move to the cloud most successfully follow several best practices:

  • Containerize critical apps: Containerization for critical apps enables banks to deploy those applications anywhere. This is an essential step as banks adopt both hybrid and multicloud solutions. Development teams can’t afford to spend time and effort recreating and recoding apps for differing cloud frameworks; containerization ensures apps are ready to work on demand, regardless of their IT environment.
  • Adopt DevOps deployments: More banks are adopting formal DevOps teams to move from waterfall to agile development environments. This is especially critical for compliance and security applications; as regulations continually evolve, banks need agile teams capable of maintaining and updating apps in the cloud and on demand.
  • Find knowledgeable partners: The right partnerships can empower cloud deployments. For example, CDW’s security service organization assessment identifies specific products for data centers or clouds. We can also help customers move toward more automation with both workshops and one-to-one advice.
  • Leverage the right technology: Having the right technology stack underpins any successful cloud shift in the financial services industry, but there are a dizzying array of technology companies to choose from. CDW can help organizations determine which specific partners are right for them. Two in particular that many financial services firms have found success with are Palo Alto Networks, which helps banks ensure critical data is protected; and Diamanti, which offers bare-metal acceleration for teams that are doing Kubernetes and container-based applications.

Banks are embracing public, private and multicloud deployments. But making the move demands frameworks that prepare financial firms to meet the evolving demands of cloud scope, scale and security.

This article is part of BizTech's EquITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #FinanceTech hashtag.

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