By Karen Brown
The concept of security intertwines with the banking industry at its very core. After all, what is a bank if not a place that promises to keep its customers’ money and information safe?
So, maybe it is only natural that some decision-makers in the banking industry are reticent to consider moving payments to the public cloud. While many bank executives are confident the private cloud is secure, they continue to balk at moving their core systems—or “crown jewels” as one of our clients calls them—to the public cloud.
However, banks that fail to consider moving their data centers to the public cloud are missing out. First, they could end up left behind by their competition. Of the 264 banking executives we interviewed face-to-face as part of our 2021 CGI Voice of Our Clients program, 60% said they are planning to migrate at least 21% of their applications to the cloud over the next 2 years.
The promise of the cloud for banks includes a long list of advantages, including:
- Resource elasticity
- Reduced capacity planning
- Improved resiliency
- Increased efficiency
- Lower costs
Now is actually a great time for forward-looking banks to consider the public cloud as a way to become even more agile and sustainable while lowering costs. The adoption of real-time, 24/7 payments already is a reality for many banks, and this trend continues to advance globally. Moving payments to the public cloud securely and seamlessly is not only feasible but transformative, if done the right way.
Here are three factors to consider before moving payments to the public cloud.
- Select a multi-cloud-native and cloud-agnostic payments platform
Selecting the platform is the first step. Moving your core payments infrastructure to the public cloud requires a fit-for-purpose, multi-cloud-native, cloud-independent solution that is ready to make the most of the cloud’s benefits.
Look for a payments platform that provides interoperability to avoid tying your organization down to a specific cloud platform—a mistake that virtually guarantees technical debt down the road. In addition, make sure the platform is engineered to deliver the orchestration and real-time, 24-hour processing required for success.
- Find a partner with extensive cloud infrastructure and deployment experience
As good as your payments platform may be, it will fall short without the right experience for deploying it. Team up with a partner that has proven cloud infrastructure expertise along with experience in implementing related cloud processes. In addition, choose a partner with knowledge about minimizing risks, costs and business disruption during deployment.
It’s also important to find a partner with professionals who are trained and certified in process implementation specifically for banking institutions, and those who are experienced in monitoring and troubleshooting the platform once it is deployed. These services should be thoroughly documented and auditable for when banking regulators come calling.
- Implement advanced security controls with a strong risk management approach
Success factor number three brings us back to where we started. Banking payments can happen securely in the public cloud—but the right kind of security is critical. Leaders in the public cloud space already have substantial cybersecurity features built into their platforms. However, the job of further hardening a specific environment, like one where financial transactions take place, falls to your organization and the team managing your public cloud deployment.
Cloud security controls, like NIST 800 and regulatory customer security controls, are critical for making payments secure and require set up by someone who knows how to apply them with maximum efficiency. Ultimately, we recommend investment in a set of security tools that balances the goals of limiting risk, avoiding disruption and minimizing cost.
Anything with the word “public” in it is going to get a good, long (and, sometimes, skeptical) look from security-minded banking leaders. However, the number of banks that have made the leap successfully is growing, and I predict that—within a year or so—public cloud deployment of payments infrastructure will be the norm. As a result, digital leaders in the banking space who are in front of that trend will be the first to enjoy its advantages.
At CGI, we reimagined and reengineered our payments platform, CGI All Payments, to support both public and private cloud deployments. To learn more about it, read our paper on moving payments to the public cloud or visit our CGI All Payments page on cgi.com. In addition, feel free to reach out to me for further discussion.