This is part two of our ten-legged journey to explore how the Cloud can enable productivity, innovation, and scalability in financial services.
Each of my ten blogs over the coming eighty days will echo the themes discussed in Reply’s ten-part webinar series,
Cloud in Financial Services, in which we’ll highlight some of the key points offered by our presenters and panel members.
In the first of the series, we benefitted from the experience of colleagues at Alpha Reply, EMVO, Imperial College, Natwest Markets, and UBS, who identified the overarching strategic considerations pertaining to Cloud adoption. If you haven’t yet read the first part, you can do so
In this blog relating to the second leg of the journey, we discuss ‘infrastructure’. If you think of IT as a house, this blog is essentially about the plumbing, the wiring, and all these infrastructural elements you never see, but without which the house crumbles.
I have summarised what I have learned from a wonderful panel of experts, including
Sara Mitchell, Head of Financial Services Solutions Architecture for Amazon Web Services in the UK;
John Finch, former global CIO of the Bank of England and Refinitiv, currently Technology Advisor to Private Equity; and my colleague,
Marco Noli, Partner at Storm Reply, a subject matter expert on Cloud computing.
In the work that we do across Europe and the UK, and in the interviews we have conducted with senior leaders in financial services about their experiences with moving to the Cloud, we have heard time and again that Cloud computing increases a firm’s agility, gives it almost infinite scalability, improves the reliability of its infrastructure, and reduces costs. However, the number one consideration in adopting the Cloud must necessarily be security — particularly in highly regulated industries like financial services.
In that context, I found the presentation of the AWS Shared Responsibility Model particularly interesting. Sara explained that, in the model, AWS and the financial institution have clearly defined roles for who is responsible for what. The financial institution is responsible for security ‘in’ the cloud, and AWS is responsible for the security ‘of’ the Cloud. What that essentially means in practice is that AWS is responsible for the infrastructure and software, and the financial institution is responsible for data, applications, user access, and the network and firewall configuration.
Figure 1: AWS’ Shared Responsibility Model for Cloud Adoption
Building on Sara’s introduction, my colleague, Marco Noli, took us through different Cloud delivery models available in the market: Public, Private, and Hybrid. This is a key infrastructure consideration. When deciding which to adopt, it helps to know the benefits and drawbacks of each.
At the risk of oversimplification:
In the words of my colleague, Marco Noli, “determining how a financial institution wants to deploy to the Cloud is a key infrastructure consideration that will impact how the financial institution will be able to leverage the Cloud to transform existing businesses and bring innovative products and services to market.”
Each financial institution will be at a different point on its journey to the Cloud, and the choices it will make should be dictated by the strategic objectives it pursues and the challenges that the institution faces. As noted in my opening lines, the construction business bears some analogy to the issue of Cloud infrastructure: Timber vs. concrete vs. steel in house construction; the relevant choice will differ greatly depending on the objectives you pursue (e.g., fire protection vs. carbon footprint).
Embracing a Cloud Infrastructure consistent with the Institution’s Strategic Objectives and key Challenges
My last guest, John Finch, began his presentation with a bang. Assuming there is the legacy of a complicated IT infrastructure, organisations have to ask themselves “what outcomes is the CIO looking for and how does the Cloud achieve this?”
When it comes to the adoption of Cloud computing in general and, more specifically, the choice of relevant infrastructure, it is vital for Board members and the C-suite to understand the principles of Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud and what they mean — not at a technical level – but in terms of implications for the Business.
Usefully, John offered seven key questions Board members and the C-Suite should consider when weighing the possibilities of Cloud adoption:
Click here to watch the recap video for Webinar #2/10
If you have any questions about any of the above, please feel free to reach out to us at Reply at
episode 3 where we’ll discuss ‘Cloud architecture’ and why it matters in our daily life…