August 2016

CIOs Take Banks Up VIA Technology Ladder

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Anup_Purohit

Anup Purohit

With fast adoption of technology in the banking sector, the role of technology officers is becoming a challenging one in terms of right selection of technologies to suit both the banks and the customers, says Anup Purohit, Chief Information Officer, Yes Bank. Besides, CIOs/CTOs also need to be on the alert round-the-clock to ensure that their institutions don’t lag behind others, technologically, Purohit tells Harshal Desai of Elets News Network (ENN)

What is the role of A CIO in a typical modern banking system?
Nowadays, the role of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is quite diverse. They have to get the best of the technologies and, at the same time, understand the business very well, and then marry them together in a manner that finally adds value for the customers. By doing so, they ensure positive results, which benefit both the end-users as well as the businesses.
It is indeed a demanding and challenging role. We – as CIOs or CTOs – always sit in a hot chair and have to be always alert 24/7 and ensure that we – if not ahead of the trends – at least don’t lag behind in our business.

How do you rate the implementation process of advanced technologies in Indian financial institutions?
If you compare the technologies in India with the technologies which are being implemented in western countries, you can definitely observe that we are coming at par with them fast. Be it Blockchain Technology, usage of Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics or a Service-oriented Architecture (SOA). It is taking a little time, bu–t we can’t say we are not developing. The skill sets and technology is available in abundance in Indian market. IoT is one of the mechanisms which are yet to be adopted on a larger scale within the banking sector; however, Blockchain Technology, Watson and other cognitive technologies have gained lot of prominence in the last few years. There is a huge scope for these technologies.

Is the use of too many technologies adding to the complexities?
There are hundreds of technologies which we use to streamline our operations across various functions. It is a fact that too many technologies add to the complexities, but that is the challenge that we as CIOs or CTOs face. We have to maintain a balance while selecting best of the breed technologies and getting too many technologies.

Will you please talk about a few initiatives undertaken by Yes Bank in this context?
We are taking several initiatives to automate the internal business processes. Yes Bank is the first to launch an API Banking platform in India. For business process as ubiquitous as the funds transfer process between two different entities and across multiple systems, API provides a secure layer to provide reliable access to banking systems and business processes. Yes Bank has successfully implemented API Banking solution across leading e-commerce, logistics, brokerage and other BFSI platforms. We have moved onto the SOA architecture to make our process pretty agile. Adopting newer technologies might be a challenge, but if you have the right mix of skill sets, you can certainly get the best out of it.

Is the launch of wallets by various financial institutions a threat to the Bankers?
The industry is quite big and there are several opportunities for different players to co-exist. I do not think wallets are a threat to the banking sector; in fact they can never be, as they will have to depend on banks.

What are your thoughts on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)?
Unified payment system is a revolution in the modern payment mechanism. It has to be made secure. All the banks along with NPCI contribute their best efforts to secure the entire system. I believe we will keep evolving in terms of security measures for such processes. With such universal payment interface, the significance of wallets is going to diminish. Yes Bank has recently deployed our SafeNet Network HSM to secure mobile payment transactions for millions of our customers under Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

Yes Bank is the first to launch an API Banking platform in India. We have successfully implemented API Banking solution across leading e-commerce, logistics, brokerage and other BFSI platforms

How crucial is the challenge of cyber attacks and data breaches? How do you address security threats within Yes Bank?
The more digital we go, the more such challenge we face. Websites, mobile apps and other internet facing systems are prone to cyber attacks. We need to be cautious and prepared to respond to these attacks. Preventing measures also need to be strong. A huge amount of effort and focus from all the regulators is required.
We need to ensure that there are minimal gateways in the bank and these are checked and controlled effectively. Once these gateways are taken care of, security will be strengthened immensely. At Yes Bank, we have ensured that there are only two entry and exit points – in DC and DR. We have controlled end-user points with controlled access – there is no CD Drive and USB access to the users. We have put in the data leakage prevention software. Besides, Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) solutions, multiple firewalls, sandwich firewall mechanism, data power for ensuring secure flow of information, etc., are some of the other devices we have implemented within the Bank. So we have put in the solutions to secure entire enterprise security architecture in place. Further, we have crisis management team which is in regular touch with regulators and Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). We exchange data with them for security purpose and manage the entire operations pretty well. We are very well geared to manage cyber attacks.

What is that ‘one unique thing’ about Yes Bank?
We focus majorly on winning mindshare of customers. We focus on knowledge banking. We do lots of research on different domains and offer customised solutions to our customers. We want to occupy large amount of space in our customers’ mind, so that they approach us for all their banking needs. We strongly believe in mindshare. 

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