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Cloud Operations: Have you considered the impact on your support and maintenance teams?

The opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce costs remain two of the primary drivers behind cloud migration. These benefits are realised from the elasticity and utility of computing infrastructure which cloud adoption affords. In addition to these benefits, cloud enables greater business agility and innovation. If banks and financial institutions are to experience the full benefits of migrating to the cloud, they must design and implement a migration and operational management model that will enable a successful outcome.

The migration journey means banks and financial institutions will be significantly less dependent on physical infrastructure. This will invariably impact the activities and capabilities required from support and maintenance teams who are responsible for maintaining and monitoring physical infrastructure. Technical Operations teams will no longer perform the traditional tasks of managing infrastructure in a data centre, such as the support and maintenance of hardware, and physical network and hardware configuration. Instead, they will be responsible for provisioning of virtual infrastructure and networks in a location they have no physical access to and in which the servers are configured and deployed through lines of code often owned and maintained by software development teams.

The adoption of cloud is best done alongside the adoption of DevOps practices and the associated tools which automate many manual tasks such as infrastructure provisioning, configuration management, release and deployment. This means that a broader cross functional and collaborative model will be needed to support the ongoing change and support of the application estate. Adoption of DevOps practices means that you are less dependent on a separate team that performs hardware configuration management and software deployment. This is increasingly being considered industry best practice for changing and running software estates.

The time to provision new infrastructure is dramatically reduced in the cloud paradigm (a new server can be set up in seconds not weeks and months) which provides the agility and flexibility required by modern enterprises in order to innovate. These benefits can come at a cost if the operation of cloud infrastructure is not carefully managed – for example, new compute capacity could be provisioned un-checked without being shut down resulting in costs spiralling out of control, unless appropriate monitoring and management processes are in place. Just imagine the wasted costs of leaving an electric heater on in your empty house for the duration of a two week holiday!

To address and mitigate the potential risks associated with cloud adoption, banks and financial institutions embarking on the migration journey must consider how it will change their internal operational processes. Additionally, consideration should also be given to the best approach to manage and govern cloud infrastructure. This requires the design and implementation of a Cloud Operating Model which sets out the new ways in which people, processes and technology will need to work together to design, develop, deploy and run applications on a cloud platform. One of the overriding objectives for the new operating model should be to manage the efficient utilisation of the new virtual infrastructure.

The migration to a virtual computing model fundamentally redefines existing operating procedures, roles and responsibilities. Compliance, Security and Audit controls will also require modification and re-development. A plan to migrate to the cloud needs to consider the impact of these changes on existing ways of working, including training, development and support for staff from a broad range of functions including Development, Technology Operations, Information Security and Audit and Control functions. The planning and investment in these activities should not be overlooked or marginalised – failure to pay attention to them could have a significant impact on your cloud initiative’s success.

The adoption of and migration to the cloud cannot be considered as purely a technology exercise, it is also a business change exercise to ensure the organization is ready. Without taking this into account the benefits of cost reduction, shorter time to market, increased agility and greater opportunities to innovate cannot be fully realised.


Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 July, 2017, 12:30Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Nice article. I review 'Compliance in the Cloud' here: 

and how RegTech can accelerate this. 

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