Blue sky thinking? The pros and cons of the cloud revolution…
Let’s be clear. Digital transformation is a ‘fait accompli’ and any business still considering whether or not to prioritise a transformation strategy has got to act fast to avoid being left behind. But an integral part of that strategy is the move to cloud computing. As businesses, considering the way we interact with the cloud should lie at the top of our to-do list – but what type of cloud? And why?
To start with, here’s a very brief overview of the kinds of cloud solution available:
Resources such as servers and storage are operated by 3rd party providers such as Microsoft’s Azure, Amazon’s AWS, or Google’s GCP. These companies are responsible for the maintenance of all hardware, software, and relevant infrastructure, making them one of the easiest ways to take advantage of the cloud.
Public clouds offer low cost, zero maintenance, almost infinite scalability, and typically high reliability, with multiple servers offering good redundancy. Of course, being public, your business is sharing these resources with others, about which more later.
With the private cloud, computing resources are allocated purely to one organisation or business. The cloud can be either physically located on premises or hosted by a third party but – crucially – all the services are on a private network, with all hardware and software dedicated just to your business.
Due to this, it can be easier for organisations to customise resources to meet their precise requirements, useful in situations such as government and finance, where there is a need to have granular control over data and its environment.
As you’d expect, a hybrid cloud is a combination of on premises (or private cloud) server with the public cloud, allowing data to flow between bth environments.
The chief advantage to the hybrid cloud in the way it can be used to, potentially, offer a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario. Business critical operations which require granular customization can be deployed on-prem or privately, while still taking advantage of the low maintenance and scalability of the public cloud for other, less sensitive data.
So which one is right for your business?
Banks and financial institutions often claim that they want to be in the public cloud, perhaps since the concept of on-prem is regarded as relatively old-fashioned, or maybe they are under pressure to leverage the low-maintenance advantages that the public cloud has to offer.
In practice, however, there are still good reasons why the private/hybrid models are attractive, most of which relate to governance and data security. One of key advantages of the private/hybrid model lies in the ability of the bank to choose on which server they store data, critical when it comes to financial information.
So how do the advantages of the hybrid model break down:
- Control – financial operators can use a private infrastructure for sensitive data or workloads that require ultra-low latency.
- Flexibility – they can use the scalability of the public cloud as and when they need additional resources without significant further investment in hardware or software
- ROI – the ‘pay-as-you-go’ model offered by many cloud services allows for almost instant and infinite scalability, paying only for extra computing power (or storage) as needed.
- Risk mitigation – the move to the cloud doesn’t to be a potentially traumatic ‘switch-flicking moment’. Businesses can migrate their operations in a phased way.
What’s the future?
One thing is clear – the days of exclusive on premises solutions are numbered. There are simply too many limitations with this option and the expertise required to maintain speed and security requires an investment in time and human resources that banks are better using elsewhere.
So it comes down to a balancing act – that of ensuring that one of the pillars of the banking industry, namely protecting sensitive financial development – doesn’t restrict speed of business development, critical if banks are to stay competitive with fintech disruptors.
Crosskey are working with a number of industry partners to provide this ‘best of both worlds’ solution, allowing banks to focus on their core business, rather than struggling with their IT requirements. As Pekko Päivärinta (Country Manager Systems, IBM Finland) says:
“IBM and Crosskey work together to find solutions that meet the need of the end customer, especially in the financial industry where there’s a lot of legislation and corporate requirements, but at the same time needs to be a modern, agile environment, having these cloud capabilities in the hybrid world.”
So if you’d like to learn how Crosskey can help you meet all your needs – from data security, to governance, to future-proofing your business from the challenges that lie ahead – why not get in touch with us today?