The stats are alarming and of course, most organisations now take cyber security very seriously indeed. As digital and cloud services become ever more ingrained in our daily lives, what are the underlying technology challenges facing financial services organisations?
To date the financial sector has been reluctant to move away from on-premise, in-house technology platforms and systems to run their computing, data storage and cyber security protection. This is changing as market forces and advanced threats from cyberspace outstrip the commercial viability and security protection of in-house data centre operations.
Cybercriminals continue to find new ways to breach defences. Seventy-five percent of attacks now start through an email and once an account has been compromised, hackers tend not to launch an immediate attack. They bide their time, monitoring emails and company activity to maximise the impact of their breach. Channel Island businesses have seen such attacks, with simulated and malicious messages, ostensibly from colleagues, being circulated internally with dangerous consequences.
Protecting valuable and sensitive data from a security breach is an arms race between cybercriminals and technology solutions providers. It is mission critical to protect sensitive data and eliminate downtime in the event of an incident. The consequences of a malicious cyber-attack can threaten the very survival of a business.
The evolution of cloud services over recent years has seen a growing acceptance by the financial sector. The difficulties running and maintaining legacy systems, along with a demand for simpler and more agile customer services, now makes the ‘do it yourself in-house’ model both uneconomic and illadvised.
Globally, there is a technology skills shortage in cyber security and because of this, highly secure enterprise and private cloud services that meet very stringent operational requirements are increasing in popularity.
Fears of control loss and the sharing of ‘compute’ hardware with other organisations have gone away. Foundation platforms and business systems can now run on dedicated and isolated equipment in highly secure, on island-based data centres. This enables information technology (IT) departments to remotely access and securely manage applications and data on island cloud services, often in combination with managed infrastructure in the same data centres.
There is a commercial logic to managing core IT in this way. The physical hardware and networking on which cloud services run is the very latest and best available. No capital expenditure is required and businesses pay only for the services they consume. Legal and regulatory requirements are another factor, with top-tier cloud infrastructures exceeding requirements and enabling organisations to prove operational compliance.
The very latest global cyber security protection is deployed and tailored security services can layered to meet business needs using Gartner recognised, leading industry partners. Customers no longer need concern themselves about the threats from cyberspace and the lack of local expertise to protect against this.
Cloud based disaster recovery services continuously capture and track data changes and should an incident occur, automated recovery and back-up takes over, ensuring no loss of service, whilst a rewind and restore of core systems – back to any point in time before the failure – takes place.
Leading cloud services come with 24/7 back-up and support, negating the need for ‘in-house’ round the clock management and monitoring of services. IT leaders can sleep soundly in their beds knowing they have done all they can to protect their systems, intellectual property and operational performance.
Scalability is another headache that has been removed. Such datacentres have ‘bucket-loads’ of resource and capacity, enabling businesses to scale up quickly when launching new services and managing peaks in demand.
Business stability and credibility underpin financial services, and companies have been rightly nervous of making a move to cloud services too early.
It seems that enterprise and private cloud evolution has reached the point of acceptance, just as a perfect storm of malicious cyber threats, the demand for always on-services and a lack of cyber tech human resources, hits us.
The cloud’s coming of age is occurring at the very time when many legacy IT systems are about to utter their last breath. Mission critical, highly secure services are ready and waiting to pick up financial services’ workloads.