Over the last decade, cloud services has at times been dismissed as unsuitable for highly regulated industries, often being labelled of higher risk or costly. In earlier years, industry regulators issued warnings about the increased risk profiles cloud computing posed to businesses while expressing scepticism about the ability of entities to use the cloud for certain functions safely.
Many business leaders, including CIOs, considered the cloud too expensive, troublesome and/or dangerous, and approached cloud computing with trepidation.
Fast-forward to 2022. It is a very different situation. The perception of cloud computing has significantly changed, even though there remains a certain degree of wariness about the ongoing risks of cloud technologies in some segments.
Overall, industry is more optimistic, open and accepting of the advantages of cloud computing – which is excellent news for all, as the need for ongoing digitalisation isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.
Market and regulatory forces are driving a shift to the cloud
Not only has the pandemic accelerated digitalisation, so too has the continued regulatory pressure from financial regulators, forcing financial institutions to prioritise modernising their platforms by using cloud services to meet those requirements. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or CPS 234 compliance requirements are often difficult, complex and cumbersome to manage in legacy systems. Yet, with cloud platforms, these control points are significantly easier to meet and report on to ensure continued compliance.
Further, the fast-expanding security threat landscape is also driving more companies to the cloud. Cybersecurity is an ever-increasing burden on organisations as the threat actors are getting smarter, are often state-funded, and target financial institutions. Unfortunately, very few organisations have the firepower to maintain their security posture sufficiently to defend against these ever more sophisticated threats.
Hyper-scale cloud providers such as Microsoft – which spends billions of dollars a year on cybersecurity – employ thousands of people to detect, defend and protect their platforms from these malicious actors.
And then there is the explosion of neo-banks and other alternative service providers entering the market. These continue to apply pressure to the “older” institutions to leverage cloud services to keep pace and ensure that they adapt and stay relevant to their customers.
You could say that for all these reasons, the cloud is no longer as intimidating a proposition – it is a lifeline for the modern financial institution.
The face of cloud services in 2022
Today, public cloud services, particularly hyper-scale cloud providers, give end-users significantly better tools and controls over their data with a much lower risk profile than before.
Cloud technologies help organisations better manage risk and ensure they can meet their compliance regulations while lowering their overhead costs. To put it simply, using public cloud technologies enables you to manage your risks better, smarter, faster, cheaper and more easily.
With the rapid advancement of cloud technologies, the tooling available in the cloud is well-advanced compared to their equivalents hosted in traditional IT systems. Vulnerability management, protection against configuration drift, automated threat response, self-healing systems – the list goes on.
Such advanced tools and capabilities are made available to organisations of all sizes when they go to the public cloud, adding to the appeal of shifting key workloads to cloud-based services.
On top of that, cloud technologies are significantly more comprehensive and integrated today than traditional offerings. They feature security, compliance, auditing and analytics tools designed to meet regulatory requirements, removing the need for companies to spend millions of dollars building and integrating systems to provide a high level of assurance around their IT compliance requirements.
How to optimise your cloud strategy
Cloud platforms democratise access to advanced computing technologies, allowing organisations of any size to build their own computing stack. This makes it attractive to many IT organisations to forge their own path in deploying these services for their business.
However, this strategy comes with financial and operational risk from well-intentioned but poorly planned and executed deployments. As with any new or advanced technology, the overall success of the initiative can usually be traced back to the level of planning, and experience of the team tasked with the execution.
Public cloud services technologies feature tools that facilitate deployment, but you still need specialists who understand your unique business, compliance and regulatory requirements. This will give you the assurance that your systems are properly managed, maintained and optimised.
In addition, public cloud services technology providers are releasing thousands of features every year. Keeping on top of all the changes and new functionality is a full-time job for a dedicated team on its own!
Partners who know what they are doing and live and breathe this daily can help companies get even more value from their cloud technologies while keeping the costs optimised and ensuring data protection and compliance.
At TAS, we have invested significantly to build fully automated, compliant and secured Infrastructure as Code landing zones to meet the requirements of highly regulated industries. We’ve leveraged cloud services technologies not just for the IaaS and PaaS services that support our clients’ business systems, but also to provide the security, compliance and reporting functionality these industries require.
By removing the human element and using automated tools, we can ensure our clients’ cloud environments are not only deployed and maintained in a compliant manner, but also reduce the overhead of reporting against industry compliance frameworks by automating evidence of the required controls.
Partnerships pave the way forward
We have developed several partnerships to provide our clients with innovative solutions that help them transition to the cloud and optimise their cloud performance. For example, last November, we announced a collaboration with Biza.io, one of Australia’s fastest-growing fintech providers of Australian Consumer Data Right (CDR) compliance.
TAS hosts the Banking System of Record for a number of Biza.io customers and allows clients to use the Biza Holder as a Service (HaaS) platform securely through the TAS managed Azure product. In addition, TAS is instrumental in facilitating the connectivity between the Biza.io solution and the clients’ TAS-hosted banking platform.
Collaborations like these ensure our clients are compliant with mandated regulations and can even extend their offerings, leverage other third-party platforms, and ultimately grow their customer base and market offerings.
Regulations can be complex with challenging compliance and reporting requirements, so you must surround yourself with the right partners. They can help you put cloud technologies to work effectively, in a way that drives better outcomes such as enhanced data security and compliance, greater business efficiency and overall higher performance.
In summary, cloud technologies have advanced significantly over the last decade. No longer seen as high-risk, there is more acceptance of their role and how they can help financial institutions move forward in the new world. If you haven’t started your cloud journey, 2022 is the year to start! To borrow Dr Seuss’s words, “You’re off to great places. Today is your day. The cloud is waiting so get on your way.”
Learn how you can start your cloud services journey with TAS today.