When we think about the financial services industry, terms like cutting edge and innovative don’t usually come to mind. Although these companies are always looking for ways to better service their customers and improve their customer experience, they can also be somewhat risk adverse when it comes to implementing new technologies – and for very good reason.
The financial services industry is one of the top targets for malicious actors. And it’s easy to see why. In fact, it’s the same reason why banks are popular targets for robberies – they hold and manage the wealth of a arge population of people. Some of the largest banks manage trillions (yes trillions…with a “t”) in assets. And malicious actors are often out for financial gain.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]It’s a simple equation – a malicious actor is looking for money, so they attack the companies and organizations that hold and manage the money.
As an industry, being a constant target for cyberattacks can both wear on you, and influence your behavior. Financial services companies know that they’re facing a difficult and constantly evolving threat landscape, so they approach new technologies that could potentially increase their exposure and open them up to new security challenges with much trepidation and caution.
And this is why utilizing the cloud for network infrastructure has been all but a pipedream for financial services companies in the past. There were too many red flags and cautionary tales (whether tall tales or not) about the cloud being less secure than traditional, physical datacenters to take a chance.But, according to a publication that knows the financial services industry pretty well – the Wall Street Journal – that all could be about to change. According to a recent article, the WSJ claims that cloud adoption could increase in the next few years across the financial services industry. Per the article:
“Use of public cloud by big global banks is “very small,” but discussions with IT executives suggest adoption could grow significantly in 2017…Some bank IT executives told researchers they could go from zero use of an infrastructure-as-a-service model today to as much as 30% within three years.”
- The sirens call of cloud benefits – The potential for savings utilizing a “pay for what you use” cloud model for network infrastructure is becoming increasingly alluring for banks and other financial services companies, who are invariably watching as enterprises in other market segments save significant dollars by hosting applications and other workloads in the cloud. And the decreased speed to provision, self-service and other benefits of cloud adoption are simply becoming too enticing to ignore.
- Increased availability of security tools – The large cloud providers, including Amazon’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure, are beginning to offer more tools to their users. Included in these new tool sets are an increased number of security tools designed to help the enterprise keep their cloud assets – and the data stored in them – secure. Unfortunately, these tools tend to be vendor proprietary, which means they simply won’t work across disparate clouds from different cloud vendors. In today’s hybrid cloud and multi-cloud world, this becomes a problem. Which brings us to our final reason…
- The emergence of cloud automation and cloud management – Gartner recently projected that the market for cloud automation and cloud management technologies (which Gartner calls dynamic optimization technology) to more than double in the next decade. Much of this growth is a result of large enterprises – like those in the financial services industry – looking to improve the management, transparency and security of their multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.These cloud automation and cloud management solutions are cloud vendor agnostic, and can work across multiple clouds. And they help assuage cloud security field by employing bot armies that effectively ensure that any cloud resource that is spun up meets with a set of security and compliance rules. This makes it possible to allow self-service across the enterprise and across multiple cloud vendors without opening the door to shadow IT and serious security side-effects.
It’s not surprising that the IT decision makers at large financial services companies – including the Deutsch Bank executive quoted in the WSJ article – are looking more longingly at the cloud. The benefits and cost savings are there, and the public cloud is more secure than people originally claimed. When you add in the emergence of security tools from the cloud vendor themselves, and the third-party, vendor agnostic cloud management and cloud automation solutions gaining traction in the market, the door is being kicked open for wider, more secure cloud usage across the entire financial services industry.