The cloud journey so far
A decade ago when cloud technologies first came into the spotlight, sceptics were quick to point out the risks of adopting cloud services: lack of data security, potential issues caused by migrating legacy systems, data-lags caused by disparate hosting locations and many more.
Today, our discussions both with enterprise technology leaders and cloud hosting providers are much more positive about the opportunities offered by the shift to cloud solutions. A Deloitte white paper entitled “Cloud banking: More than just a CIO conversation” confirms this trend and explores six above and below-the-line benefits of leveraging cloud technologies, including better integration of business units through sharing data; improved IT security; increased resilience of operations and helping to drive innovation across the enterprise.
View from the top
FeedStock’s Lead Engineer, Matteo Centenaro, remembers the time when the on-prem versus cloud discussion was justified but says that the question has now moved on to “which cloud provider is the correct one to choose?” Today, cloud-native businesses have the competitive advantage over their on-premise peers. The flexibility and scalability that cloud hosting provides positions these businesses to handle regulatory or operational changes, embrace all data-driven business practices and decrease the costs and risks attached to hosting environment outages and maintenance. Matteo questions whether we will look back in five years’ time and regret specialising with one of the large cloud service providers, be it Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud. Will the legacy issues facing on-prem enterprises today repeat themselves for companies who become dependent on one cloud provider? And if so, how should businesses mitigate that risk?
Financial Services emerging cloud trends
What we are seeing, based on discussions we’ve had with clients, prospective clients and cloud service providers is that appetite for cloud adoption is inversely proportional to an organisation’s scale and reliance on legacy systems.
Small to medium sized Investment Managers and Investment Banks tend to lean towards full-cloud deployment and opt for the fully FeedStock-managed service. These organisations need to make things happen quickly, they need faster go-live timeframes and want the assurance that they have the foundations in place to make changes to the services rapidly and effectively in future. The smaller organisations also have both, less of a reliance on legacy on-premise email or database services and also less manpower behind their technology solutions to manage the ongoing maintenance of on-premise software solutions.
Conversely, larger enterprises have both a greater reliance on legacy technologies, but also greater and more complex compliance, legal and regulatory requirements and frameworks. Often, enterprise clients are dealing with over 30 years’ worth of technology debt, and they have the corresponding workforce in place to manage their software solutions in an on-premise capacity. Finding a hosting solution that delivers the flexibility and scalability of modern, cloud-based SaaS products whilst also integrating seamlessly with legacy technology often requires custom-built, hybrid hosting solutions. Enterprise software providers now leverage software container technologies to enable the deployment of individual components into their clients’ on-premise environments.
The question surrounding data security
In spite of the largest enterprises having legacy systems that are hosted on-premise, the last five years has seen the adoption of cloud hosting solutions increase dramatically. As Matteo points out, there is a reason why AWS, Microsoft and Google Cloud have such a monopoly in the market and that is because they have the leading minds in the cloud industry designing and building their services. Technology leaders across large and small enterprises agree that data privacy and security is in the safe hands of the experts when they choose to host their systems on cloud.
The modern, cross-cloud technology provider
As previously referenced, the question has moved away from “cloud versus on-premise” towards “which cloud service provider is the right one to choose”. Mitigating the risk posed by overdependency on one cloud provider involves maintaining the agile, flexible attitude to change management that the transformation to cloud services requires. The migration of legacy systems to an enterprise-level cloud solution can be daunting; however, enterprises can approach the transformation incrementally. Hybrid and multi-cloud solutions enable large corporates to choose deployment options that suit their specific needs, maturity and compliance requirements. Successful implementation of enterprise software requires the design, build and deployment of system architecture and hosting solutions which suit the specific needs of each enterprise and support them in their transition to a cloud environment.
Matteo Centenaro, FeedStock Lead Engineer, August 2020
Deloitte, Cloud banking: More than just a CIO conversation, 2019