So You’re In Banking? What Cloud Security Strategy Do You Bank On?

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Like so many industries, cloud computing and cloud security solutions are rapidly changing consumer banking. Not so long ago, ATMs were the “big thing” in banking. We could drive right up to a money machine, press of a few buttons, and money magically appeared! The magic has only increased—increasing the need for solid cloud security strategies— as we access our accounts remotely, 24/7, from a variety of devices via cloud technologies. We deposit checks just by taking a picture of them. We can pay bills and in many cases, even accept credit card payments from our phones. The increase in demand for accessibility has placed an enormous strain on banking IT departments across the country, forcing computing and security innovation to be the norm.

A recent study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) showed an increase in migration to cloud computing, with 71 percent of financial service executives planning investments in the technology in 2013 (virtual computers, storage, network equipment, etc.). The study revealed that banks are quickly beginning to see the benefits of having a standardized IT infrastructure, in no small part due to the ease of implementing cloud computing solutions.

Because innovation is driven by consumer demand, it is in a financial institution’s best interest to stay up-to-date with the latest technology standards. So what can financial services do to harness the power and effectiveness of the cloud?

  1. Develop a cloud security strategy. According to an American Banker article discussing the trend, a PwC study conducted in 2012 revealed only 28 percent of financial institutions have a cloud security strategy. Whether the financial institution is a small-town bank or large national firm, security is a mandatory standard of government compliance—not to mention a must for the industry—and should not be taken lightly.

  2. Determine your cloud access needs. Public or hybrid clouds can be used to test or develop applications that do not contain sensitive customer data, such as website hosting or any operating system. These setups are beneficial to financial institutions because of the innate ability to offload IT support and save money, as public/hybrid cloud services are generally less expensive due to multiple customers sharing the space.

    Private clouds, then, should be reserved for sensitive customer data, avoiding security threats and complying with government regulations. Private cloud infrastructure is fully dedicated, including firewalls for security. Because of the secure nature of private cloud environments, banks realize the cloud’s benefits without fear of vulnerability.

  3. Practice “Cloudimization.”

    Once you’ve implemented a cloud solution, make sure your cloud continues to work for you by optimizing the way you use the cloud and increasing your cloud efficiency.

A comprehensive and reliable cloud security strategy will ensure banks remain competitive, as more and more customers require flexibility with 24x7 self-serve banking. If you’re in banking, or part of any financial institution and are in the process of adopting the cloud, or you need assistance reevaluating your current cloud strategy, contact a trusted Windstream Hosted Solutions advisor. Don’t bank on anything less.