Worldwide, financial services organisations are turning to the cloud as the means to transform outdated legacy systems and commit to disruptive technologies. The size of the public cloud market is expected to top $354 billion by end of 2022, a significant jump from the less than $197 billion of 2018. But instead of going the all-or-nothing route, the hybrid cloud is positioned to provide companies with a more secure way of leveraging their data. Yunus Scheepers, CTO at SilverBridge, discusses these security benefits at a time when Microsoft Azure data centres in the country are attracting attention from financial services organisations as a safer alternative to what their current on-premise offerings can provide.
A hybrid cloud environment also provides risk-averse financial services executives with the option to keep certain workloads internal or in private hosted environments as opposed to migrating everything to the public cloud. One of the critical areas that has been limiting cloud adoption has been concerns about data sovereignty. With legislative requirements calling for certain personal customer data to be stored within the borders of the country, many organisations have been wary of starting their cloud journeys. However, the arrival of Microsoft Azure data centres has addressed those concerns ensuring all related compliance requirements are taken care of.
“The cloud does provide an opportunity to automate what has become a tedious, manual, and expensive exercise. For example, leveraging the high-performance computing capabilities of a Microsoft Azure data centre will provide financial institutions with a wealth of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation capabilities to address many compliance concerns. And all this is developed within a highly secure environment,” says Scheepers.
By centring financial service processes and data analysis requirements in cybersecurity, cloud vendors ensure the mechanisms are in place to safeguard critical insurance and banking assets. In fact, the market for cloud security solutions in the banking sector is set for a compound annual growth rate of more than 33% from 2019 to 2024.
Furthermore, it has found that the cost reduction, scalability, and efficiency provided by cloud computing is driving the market. Due to the constant decline in the absolute cost of IT equipment, many financial institutions have changed other production factors with IT. The essential idea of cloud computing is to deliver IT services such as computer infrastructure or storage as a utility thus making these services ultimately more flexible and cost-efficient.
“The modernisation of financial services infrastructure through a cloud-based approach also aids in delivering an improved customer experience. This is focused on delivering more personalised experiences by leveraging the data analysis capabilities of cloud environments. But to accomplish this, the traditional view that on-premise environments are more secure than those provided for in the cloud, must change.”
For its part, Microsoft fends off seven trillion cyber threats daily and allocates more than $1 billion each year to cybersecurity. Its Azure cloud environment runs in 192 countries using more than 100 data centres and one million physical servers to deliver more than 200 cloud services. The typical cybersecurity budget of a financial services organisation cannot compare to these resources.
Another critical advantage that cloud security services provides over on-premise solutions is that it is continually updated with no user intervention required. IT teams can therefore focus on other strategic deliverables leaving the cloud vendor responsible for security.
“Microsoft’s investment in securing the cloud is indicative of its importance to the organisation and the steps it takes in ensuring that the data hosted on the Azure servers are protected at all costs. This should give comfort to those in the financial services industry who believe that their on-premise environment is adequate for all their security needs,” concludes Scheepers.