CRM, app development and email most popular for financial services clouds

Source: Cloud Security Alliance

Many financial firms are slowly putting more stock in the cloud. That’s a key finding from a new Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) survey, titled How Cloud is Being Used in the Financial Sector.

The survey targeted executives from banking, insurance and investment firms around the world. While the survey found that cloud computing is becoming more and more prevalent throughout the financial sector, many respondents indicated having less than 50 percent of a solidified, concerted cloud strategy with controls and security being a main concern.

“The results of this report are insightful into understanding how the financial services industry is progressing in terms of cloud adoption and how cloud providers can best serve their interests and needs,” said Jim Reavis, CEO of the CSA. “We hope that cloud providers and financial institutions can use this as guidance to help accelerate the adoption of secure cloud services in the financial industry.”

According to the findings, 61 percent of respondents admitted that a cloud strategy was in the formative stages within their organization, with 39 to 47 percent planning to use a mix of in-house IT, private, and public clouds, and 18 percent planning to use private clouds. None of the respondents have plans to be hosted mostly in a public cloud. The results of the survey also showed that the higher the electronic channel transaction base among a firm’s customers, the less strict the cloud policy with only three percent of these types of organizations indicating having a strict cloud policy in place.

“The responses overall showed a very active market for cloud services in the financial services sector,” said Dr. Chenxi Wang, Vice President, Cloud Security and Strategy, CipherCloud. “Cloud has made solid in-roads in this industry with many firms looking to harnessing the power of cloud. There’s plenty of room for growth, particularly for providers who can fill the void for the auditing and data protection controls that are at the top of respondents’ cloud wish list.”

The How Cloud is Being Used in the Financial Sector report includes responses from more than 100 professionals varying in company size and industries from the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. Sponsored by CipherCloud, the leader in cloud information protection, the survey was conducted by the CSA Financial Services Working Group, as a first step in building a situation map to show how different cloud solutions are deployed in the financial sector. The objective of this study is to understand the needs to accelerate the adoption of secure cloud services in the financial industry by analyzing the financial industry’s main concerns regarding delivery and management of cloud services.

Financial services firms are also eager to see increased transparency and better auditing controls (80 percent) from their cloud providers, even more so than better data encryption (57 percent). In understanding why companies are moving to the cloud, respondents indicated that flexible infrastructure capacity was at top of their list (68 percent), followed closely by the need for reduced time for provisioning (63 percent). The top services and features being adopted when moving to the cloud include CRM (46 percent), application development (45 percent), and email (41 percent), rather than backend services (20 percent) or virtual desks (14 percent).

Finally, in looking at compliance regulation requirements when moving to the cloud, at the top of the list was data protection (75 percent) corporate governance (68 percent) PCI-DSS (54 percent) and national regulations (47 percent).

The survey also looked to gain insight into how finance, government, insurance, and security decision-makers take action in their organizations, from consolidating and standardizing on the most secure cloud services, to knowing what policies will have the most impact, to understanding where to focus when educating users.

As a follow up to the survey, the CSA Financial Services Working Group plans to identify 2015 deliverables to address the concerns and opportunities for cloud computing best practices within the financial services industry. The Financial Services Working Group is led by Juan Francisco Losa, Head of Innovation, Engineering and Software Development It Risk, Fraud & Security at BBVA, and Mario Maawad, Security Manager at CaixaBank.

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