Europe Fintech

European Banks Form Coalition to Boost Public Cloud Adoption in the Finance Industry

As financial services giants from across Europe have joined together to form the European Cloud User Coalition (ECUC)  to accelerate the adoption of off-premise services in the financial services industry. The financial services institutions that have already signed up include Allied Irish Banks, ING Group, Deutsche Börse, Euroclear and Unicredit.

The group plans to establish a series of security standards and best practices when considering the use if public cloud technologies by the European financial services community. Progress of cloud adoption has boomed over the past few years despite previous cautions and high regulation.

Kerem Tomak, chief analytics officer and initiative lead at ECUC founding member ING, said: “This coalition enables ING to adopt a hybrid cloud setup for analytics and artificial intelligence that brings us up to par with the fintechs and BigTechs of this world. It allows us to improve our digital capabilities and offer customers better, faster and more personalised experiences.

“Key components for making cloud technology work for banks are security, data privacy (GDPR) and EU guidelines from regulatory bodies like the European Banking Authority and the European Banking Federation. Data sovereignty and cybersecurity requirements are important aspects that need to be addressed.”

The ECUC will be focusing on getting other European financial institutions to join the group in the immediate future and plans to publish a paper examining the challenges firms face when using public cloud services – hoping to benefit the industry long term.

Simon Pamplin, technical director at Silver Peak commented: “This move towards public cloud by Europe’s largest banks marks a positive change for the financial services industry, its customers, and the technology companies which will help facilitate the transition. Greater competition amid tech companies will, after all, incentivise optimisation and spur innovation for financial cloud solutions. However, in the world of finance, security must always come first. In both guaranteeing the security of networks and customer data and optimising cloud performance, banks must look towards network transformation.

“The use of public cloud naturally increases the attack surface of a financial organisation, and banks will need to re-architect their network security models for public cloud-hosted applications. Fortunately, a new generation of advanced networking solutions in the form of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) offers the security framework that will be necessary to shift from private to public cloud. To make this transition safely, it is imperative that banks employ solutions that can encrypt communications between endpoints within the WAN fabric and between branch locations and public cloud instances, as well as segment critical banking data and customer information across the branch, WAN and cloud. Not only will this hamper intruders accessing the network, but it will silo threat actors if a breach does occur, limiting the damage. Vitally, an SD-WAN can also centralise security policy orchestration and automatically direct application traffic accordingly, allowing for rapidly-deployable, uniform security policy enforcement across the network.

“While there are many benefits of the financial sector transitioning into the public cloud, a bank’s credibility is only as strong as its security. Financial organisations must ensure that their networks have the advanced network security measures in place to realise the full transformational promise of the cloud.”

Author

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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