When is the Cloud Not the Cloud?

Mal_CullenGuest Contributor: Mal Cullen, Head of the Americas and Eagle ACCESS℠, Eagle Investment Systems

Companies in the financial services sector are increasingly moving to cloud-based systems for their software solutions and with good reason. Understandably, cloud-based solutions were initially treated with some circumspection with question marks hanging over data privacy and security.

As time has gone on, the widespread adoption and success of cloud computing in other sectors has allayed these concerns to a large extent and financial services firms that two or three years ago were reluctant to entertain web-hosted technology solutions are now keen to embrace it and the wide-ranging benefits it offers. Last year, 95% of our clients’ solutions were deployed over our private cloud and it is now very much the exception to receive requests for on-premise installations.

True cloud-based solutions can deliver numerous tangible business benefits. For example, a platform that has been developed for the cloud using intelligent open architecture, opens up the possibility of vendors providing complementary products and services – such as performance measurement tools – that can plug into the platform. Clients can therefore have access to integrated solutions, with fewer partners to manage and less complexity.

Furthermore, cloud-based solutions can be accessed, and services provided, from anywhere in the world, at any time. In addition, it also offers the possibility of variable, ‘pay-as-you-go’ style pricing structures that are popular with many clients.

Any solution should be underpinned by a robust set of transparent SLAs outlining its capabilities, availability, disaster recovery and security.

Note that I said true cloud-based solutions… The Eagle technology has been specifically enhanced and optimized to integrate into a larger cloud platform. The fact is, many software providers claim to offer hosted or cloud-based solutions when in fact they are offering either a solution that is still installed on-premise and supported remotely or one that is an on-premise solution that has been taken and housed in a data center. Neither of these approaches are truly cloud-based solutions and come with significant drawbacks.

Because they haven’t been designed from the bottom up with an intelligent open architecture, the benefits around flexible pricing and complementary product plug ins cannot be achieved. At the same time, these solutions may come with risks attached. Where servers are sitting on a network somewhere on the internet, that is perhaps managed by a third-party, keeping the solution secure is a huge challenge. As well as having industry leading security controls, we organize our clients’ data so it remains segregated or isolated meaning the data remains identifiable and easily retrievable as well as completely secure.

In addition, a true cloud provider should provide comprehensive support to clients to help make the transition from an on-premise, managed solution to their cloud-based solution. A successful implementation of a cloud solution is reliant on helping the client to adapt their processes to take full advantage of the service’s functionality and ensure maximum benefit to their business.

Listed below are seven questions to ask any cloud-based solution provider.

1. Is there an ability to provide capacity on demand and at a variable cost basis?
2. Do you have the ability to integrate with other providers under an intelligent open architecture?
3. Do you have security controls implemented around SOC1, SOC2, ISO 27001/2 or NIST and are you continuously monitoring these controls?
4. Can the solution be accessed from anywhere in the world, at any time?
5. Are systems managed and upgraded by you, remotely?
6. Will you provide a comprehensive and transparent set of SLAs?
7. Will you actively support implementation by matching the business processes with the solution’s functionality?

Unless they can answer ‘yes’ to all of them, they are not truly cloud-based.

This entry was posted in Cloud, Financial Technology, Guest Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s