Cautiously Testing the Waters of Cloud Use for Financial ServicesCautiously Testing the Waters of Cloud Use for Financial Services
Financial customers such as hedge funds may still be new territory for some cloud specialist MSPs. However, companies such as DirectAsia.com are showing that even those with heavy data sensitivity can begin to make use of the cloud.
July 1, 2014
By Michael Brown 1
We recently discussed the fact that hedge funds may be a strong potential market for managed service providers that specialize in cloud services. The advantages are clear to see but of course there are still questions as to the feasibility and secureness of cloud computing for clients with extremely sensitive data. An article at ZDNet has highlighted how one financial services company has begun to take cautious steps into the realm of cloud services.
This story could be a good case study for MSPs who are also interested in attaining new finance-based clients for cloud services. DirectAsia.com is an insurance company that aims to bypass the typical models and provide insurance directly to the customers. The following are some factors that MSPs should consider when vetting cloud services for financial companies:
Understand and comply with regulations
DirectAsia.com is no stranger to differing regulations, already operating in multiple countries in Asia.
“Henaff [CIO at DirectAsia.com] is a cloud advocate, but is moving in a cautious manner due to the challenges of compliance with financial service regulations across three countries, plus changing data privacy legislation.”
Every country has different regulations about the privacy of sensitive and personal data (such as financial records) so MSPs need to be aware of how those regulations are addressed with the chosen cloud providers. They are also rapidly changing; for example the SEC is becoming more involved in the cloud space, designing guidelines for how data must be secured.
Experiment and grow gradually when it comes to the cloud
The cloud in the financial sector is still fairly new, so it is important to ease clients into the idea and model. Changing regulations, differing protocols and general unease should have most clients a bit wary of the cloud transition, so a gradual change is important. As Henaff explains their approach:
“For critical business activity it’s a different story. Earlier this year we have selected a new host for co-location needs, basically our own private cloud, and we are in the midst of fully virtualising our infrastructure to reduce our footprint…by about 25%…both energy consumption saving and footprint reduction.”
Just because it’s not being done doesn’t mean it can’t be done
It’s also important to remember that the entire cloud industry is still very innovative. There are new uses for cloud-based file sharing, sync and storage every single day, so because something doesn’t happen, doesn’t mean it can’t. As we can see from the above example, there are certainly companies willing to test the waters, and that number will continue to grow. MSPs should be on the lookout for similar instances and use those to innovate their own new ways of introducing cloud services to financial clients.
Have you experienced any cloud usage from financial clients? If so, what approaches were helpful in making the transition? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
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