As a firm migrates financial services applications to the cloud, systems integration becomes of paramount importance. When some applications remain on-premises while others are housed in the cloud, data must seamlessly and securely be transferred bi-directionally, and in a timeframe consistent with operational requirements. Some of the integration techniques used when all applications are within the same environment will no longer be possible, necessitating the creation of new interfaces with which in-house technology resources may be unfamiliar. Additionally, care must be taken to encrypt all data being transmitted over public networks to ensure compliance with privacy and security standards.
Although security in the cloud was of concern in the past, many of the major cloud providers now have a more robust security infrastructure, monitoring, and response capability than exists in-house at the financial services firms themselves. Access to the core applications can be secured through VPN connections and whitelisted IP addresses, with all data encrypted throughout. The methods and controls available within the cloud provider’s security framework need to be evaluated and the specific means of securing access to the systems and data.
Firms migrating core applications to the cloud must also be prepared for major changes to their current technology support models. A component of the cost-savings associated with a cloud deployment is related to a reduction in a firm’s own IT support personnel. The care and maintenance of the cloud infrastructure – and, depending on how it is implemented, much of the application support itself – is provided by cloud resources. Not only will the size of the technology support group be reduced, but different skills will be required to direct the cloud resources and fully leverage the cloud’s capabilities.
Moving to the cloud requires changes that can be disruptive and difficult across the organization. It is crucial to begin any major change with full alignment at the executive level, first and foremost. It is also essential for the rest of the organization to understand why the change is happening, why it is necessary, and the benefits – for the company, for the customer, and for the individual employee. Earning buy-in from employees will help make the transition both smoother in the short term and more successful in the long run, allowing the firm to reap the desired benefits as quickly as possible. To increase the effectiveness of the firm’s move to the cloud, consider creating and deploying a change management strategy that consists of defining, communicating, enabling, and sustaining the change.
The care and maintenance of the cloud infrastructure – and, depending on how it is implemented, much of the application support itself – is provided by cloud resources.
Given the disruptive paradigm shift in migrating a financial services firms’ core systems from on premises to the cloud, it is prudent to have a trusted partner and advisor involved from the inception. Perficient has consultants with experience in all aspects of cloud-based financial systems deployments. Our expertise in cloud hosting can help you select the right vendor environment and craft a migration plan that maximizes value while minimizing risk. With deep expertise in system integration and application security, we can engage from concept and architecture through testing, implementation, transition, and production go-live.
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