Financial Institutions Embrace Cloud to Drive Digital Transformation

Pinkesh Kotecha

The global shift towards cloud computing has become an undeniable force reshaping the technological landscape, with organisations across industries increasingly harnessing its power to drive innovation and efficiency. According to an EY report, a 78% of organisations are actively implementing cloud strategies, recognising its potential to modernise technology stacks and infuse intelligence into business operations.

However, while cloud adoption has been widespread across various sectors, the financial services industry has historically lagged behind due to stringent regulations, complex legacy systems, and concerns over data security. In the past, banks and financial institutions have trodden cautiously when it comes to migrating sensitive financial data to the cloud. The sector’s hesitance stemmed from a variety of factors, including regulatory frameworks that were not conducive to cloud adoption and the inherent complexities of existing legacy systems. Although, as times evolve, so do attitudes towards cloud technology. As regulatory frameworks evolve and the clear advantages of cloud computing – including scalability, agility, and cost-efficiency – become more evident, financial institutions are swiftly embracing the cloud at an unprecedented rate.

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Embracing Cloud Infrastructure
Financial institutions are undergoing a profound transformation, driven by the relentless march of technology and the imperative to meet evolving customer expectations. Even the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has taken strides to establish a cloud facility and a repository for capturing information on fintechs firms to enhance security, integrity and privacy of financial sector data and bring transparency on fintechs in the country. According to an IDC report, a staggering 80% of corporate banks in India are slated to migrate their operations to the cloud by 2024, underscoring the industry’s growing reliance on cloud technology.

Below are some reasons on why Cloud is the most preferred hack for financial institutions in this digital realm:

Embracing Customer-Centricity: The shift towards cloud technology is emblematic of financial institutions’ renewed focus on customer-centricity and agility in a rapidly evolving landscape. Digital transformation initiatives within the BFSI sector have shown remarkable results, with customer conversion and retention rates increasing by 3-5 times, according to a McKinsey report.

Scalability: With the advent of 5G and the prospect of 6G, coupled with changing network strategies and the growing demand for virtual network services, financial institutions are increasingly turning to cloud solutions to bolster their capabilities. Cloud technology enables these institutions to harness the power of real-time data analytics, facilitating personalised customer experiences and responsive decision-making.

Diversity in Cloud Software Solutions: To meet the diverse needs of financial institutions, cloud technology offers a spectrum of solutions tailored to specific requirements. From on premise clouds providing localised control and compliance to hybrid clouds offering a seamless blend of on premise infrastructure and public cloud services, institutions have a plethora of options at their disposal. Additionally, multi-cloud environments allow institutions to leverage the strengths of various cloud providers, mitigating risks associated with vendor lock-in and enhancing flexibility.

Edge Computing: Cloud technology plays a pivotal role in enabling banks to leverage the benefits of edge computing, which involves processing data closer to the source, such as at branch locations or ATMs. By leveraging cloud infrastructure, financial institutions can seamlessly integrate edge computing capabilities into their operations, unlocking new opportunities for real-time data processing and analysis. This allows banks to deliver enhanced customer experiences, optimise operational efficiency, and gain valuable insights from the vast amounts of data generated at the edge.

Fortifying Challenges with Cloud-Native Capabilities
Amid the increasing demand for Cloud infrastructure, one of the primary concerns for financial institutions when adopting cloud computing is ensuring the highest levels of security and compliance. Dealing with sensitive data places banks at greater risk of data leaks and cyber-attacks. IBM reports the global average cost of a data breach has increased to 6.4 percent, translating to $3.86 million. The loss/theft of a single record comes up to $148. However, leading cloud service providers have invested heavily in robust security measures, often exceeding the capabilities of traditional on-premises systems.

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Another hurdle is the substantial investment many large banks have made in scaling their legacy systems and developing bespoke applications. The prospect of restructuring these systems to migrate to the cloud presents a daunting challenge, particularly for cautious institutions. In response, some banks are exploring strategies to modernise their infrastructure, such as rewriting core functionalities like deposits, payments, and loans into micro services. By abstracting these functions from their legacy systems, banks can pave the way for a smoother transition to the cloud, albeit with considerable effort and resources required.

Way Forward
To navigate the complexities of cloud adoption and overcome cybersecurity challenges, financial institutions must forge strategic partnerships with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) providers. These partnerships offer expertise and support, providing financial institutions with a comprehensive approach to cloud adoption. ICT providers equipped with around-the-clock support can assist banks in every stage of the migration process, from initial planning and assessment to implementation and ongoing management. Moreover, these partnerships extend beyond cloud adoption to encompass cybersecurity measures and scalability solutions. By partnering with third-party players, financial institutions can navigate the challenges of cloud migration with confidence, ensuring a seamless transition to a more agile and secure operational framework.

Views expressed by Pinkesh Kotecha, CMD, Ishan Technologies

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