Five killer reasons why financial services need packaged cloud
By Catherine McFarland • 21 Aug 2014
After a slow start, cloud adoption in financial services firms is rapidly increasing. Technology analysts at Gartner believe that more than 60 percent of banks will process the majority of their transactions in the cloud by 2016. Accountancy firms are also choosing cloud. Why the change? Proven security, and industry-specific packaged cloud.
1. Packaged cloud for financial services
A previous lack of understanding of the key pain points experienced in the financial industry, has now been addressed. Financial industry specialist cloud providers have entered the market. They’re offering technologies and services that are fully focused on the financial industry.
Now, however, we’re on the cusp of the advent of packaged cloud. It’s a real game-changer. This is where a cloud services provider – or broker - vets and selects the best cloud technology for financial services. They then package them with 24/7 support and a single monthly bill.
2. Business continuity and security
FCA regulations require financial services firms to comply with specific security, data protection and disaster recovery rules. Cloud has been proven to be more secure than onsite IT when it comes to, for example, business continuity and disaster recovery. Why? In the event of an on-premises incident, such as fire, flood or even a simple power outage, onsite servers are exposed and systems and data can be lost.
With a good cloud technology solution, your servers are backed up, and mirrored in at least two military grade data centres outside London. (We recommend tier-three minimum and servers with RAID 10 disk arrays for the highest levels of redundancy and performance.)
Suitable vendors are ISO 27001 accredited, which is a reliable assurance that they’ll have adequate and proportionate security controls in place to protect your data.
Data encryption is also key. A good vendor will typically use a 128 or 256 bit AES encryption. If appropriate, data is also encrypted in storage, depending on your application.
There is no reason for you to have any less trust in data security in the cloud. Your data is one of your most important assets. Make sure a potential vendor addresses these questions:
- What is their security architecture and policy?
- Are they ISO 27001 accredited?
- How comprehensive is their Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
- Do they understand your data retention, protection and compliance needs?
- Where does your data physically live? Can they guarantee it will remain private?
And when it comes to getting the business back up and running after an incident, it doesn’t have to be an issue as far as your clients are concerned. With a virtual office, your phones, emails, CRM and financial systems are all in the cloud, so you can continue business as usual – clients need not know anything about it. And you can continue to access, backup and collaborate on projects.
3. Integration with financial systems and apps
Smart packaged cloud can integrate with all financial systems and applications. This is still highly unusual because of the initial development work involved, but it’s possible to integrate right across the board - with Bloomberg desktop, Thomson Reuters, and all accountancy packages such as CCH, Quickbooks, Sage and Sun.
For example, at Cloud Direct, we’ve worked with London & Continental Railways to integrate their systems with Thomson Reuters. For asset management firm Pactum, we integrated their desktops with Bloomberg Open API. With our hosted desktop, they can now link their list of trades in Excel to Bloomberg, so they can see their portfolios in real time - and don’t lose any functionality.
4. Cost savings
The low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) that comes with cloud services is evident. You no longer have to invest in manpower or hardware upfront – your systems and data are in the cloud. How frustrating is it to have to invest in hardware and processing capabilities that you may not use from one month to the next? The hassle of system upgrades and security patching is gone and – if anything does go wrong – you have 24/7 support, 365 days a year. And financial planning and management becomes so much easier with a single monthly bill.
5. Increased mobility
You can access cloud services from anywhere, at any time and from any mobile device. I’ve already mentioned how this works during a disaster, but on an everyday basis, it means people are free to work remotely and can operate and collaborate just as quickly and securely as they would in the office.
Find out why accountancy firm, McParland Williams, calls choosing Cloud Direct “one of the best technology investment decisions we have ever made.”
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