Financial firms increasingly embracing cloud computing

While cloud computing solutions have experienced tremendous growth and expansion in the past few years, these gains have not been universal. A number of sectors have remained skeptical of the technology, with security concerns frequently the primary reason behind this hesitation.

One such sector is the financial services industry. However, as several reports recently highlighted, this is gradually changing. While still lagging behind other sectors, financial services firms are slowly moving more of their operations into cloud environments.

Financial clouds
This trend can be seen in a recent survey, commissioned by Fujitsu, of 176 U.K. and Ireland-based banks and insurance firms. While the focus of this survey was organizations' attitudes toward IT security, participants were also asked about their relationship with cloud computing solutions. Among these respondents, 16 percent stated that they had implemented cloud architectures across their organizations this year. This is a relatively low figure, but it represents a significant increase relative to 2012, when a similar survey found that only 9 percent of these types of firms had implemented cloud architectures.

Furthermore, the number of financial organizations that have not yet implemented the cloud in any capacity dropped below 50 percent. Among those that do not currently use the cloud in some way, enthusiasm for the technology was quite high. Only one-fifth of those surveyed suggested that the cloud held no value for their companies.

Anne MacRae, head of financial services for Fujitsu UK, suggested that financial firms should embrace cloud solutions and other modern technologies to upgrade their capabilities and gain key competitive advantages in the industry.

"Technologies like cloud and mobile can be transformative, and security strategies should be embraced, which allow financial services firms to capitalize on their potential," MacRae said. "By getting ahead of the curve and enabling business models fit for changing economic and consumer pressures, financial services organization will not only survive, but thrive."

Continuing progress
This survey is not the first to indicate that the financial sector's attitudes toward cloud computing are evolving. Late last year, Ovum research determined that cloud adoption is growing steadily in this area.

"The capital markets are set to increase investment in cloud services, continuing the trend of technology adoption in the industry," Ovum stated. "New research from the global analysts indicates that due to improvements in cloud security and a wider variety of applications, investment in cloud, by both the buy side and the sell side, is set for further growth."

Rik Turner, a senior analyst of financial services technology for Ovum, indicated that the global financial crisis continues to exert a major influence on financial firms, forcing companies, and particularly smaller firms, to work with smaller IT budgets. This makes cloud computing the ideal solution for many firms, providing opportunities that would be unavailable through legacy computing solutions.

As time goes on and the cloud's advantages become more apparent, this trend is unlikely to decelerate.

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