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Financial Services Are Finding a Safe Home in the Cloud Featured

Financial Services Are Finding a Safe Home in the Cloud "Modern office building with reflection in windows of the building"

Banks and other financial institutions demand a high degree of security, compliance, and performance to protect their information technology (IT) resources. In many cases, the demand for security has been addressed with in-house legacy systems relying on mainframe computing power. But the growth of e-commerce and cryptocurrencies has led some financial services decision-makers to look for alternative solutions.

While cloud providers have been offering dedicated business services for years, there has been a dearth of solutions that target the needs of the financial services industry. That changed in 2020 with the announcement of the IBM Cloud for Financial Services. In March of 2021, Microsoft announced that they were also launching a Cloud for Financial Services offering. Let’s see how these offerings address the security, compliance, and performance requirements of a very demanding group of clients. 

IBM Cloud for Financial Services

IBM’s offering is designed to allow financial institutions to use a transparent public cloud ecosystem to deliver innovative and personalized services to their customers.

Partnering with more than 50 independent software vendor (ISV) and software as a service (SaaS) organizations, the exacting security, resiliency, and compliance needs of the financial services community can be met. Here are some highlights of IBM’s offering. 

  • Customers gain access to extensive financial services industry expertise backed by IBM Promontory, a global leader in regulatory compliance consulting. 
  • The IBM Cloud Security and Compliance Center platform provides a dashboard from which customers can monitor their security and compliance standing to identify areas that need to be strengthened.  
  • IBM Cloud Security protects data at rest, in motion, and in use. 
  • IBM OpenPages with Watson simplifies the management of regulatory compliance using a unified governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solution powered by artificial intelligence (AI). 
  • IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Crypto Services offer data encryption provided with a dedicated cloud hardware security module. Customers maintain full control and access to the encryption keys.

Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services

Microsoft is entering the cloud financial services market intending to provide clients with the ability to enhance their customers’ experience, modernize systems, and manage risk. Following are some of the specific ways Microsoft’s offering plans to address the needs of the financial services industry. 

  • The service strives to improve the online banking experience through personalized interactions to facilitate customer loyalty and profitability. Institutions can gain a complete picture of customer financial, behavioral, and demographic data. The tools can suggest appropriate actions tailored to individual customers. 
  • Self-service tools are offered through banking portals and mobile apps, giving customers more control over their financial transactions and decisions. 
  • Automation of the lending process will enable the activity to be streamlined while reducing errors. 
  • Through the use of powerful analytics and data modeling, greater insight into the regulatory and compliance aspects of financial services can be gained, minimizing the institution’s level of risk. 

If history is an indicator of things to come, we can expect to see more cloud providers offering services that speak to the needs of the financial services industry. The expectation is that more financial institutions will take advantage of secure and dedicated cloud services to avoid being left behind as the industry continues to evolve. 

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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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