Financial Services Moving to the Hybrid Cloud

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Increasingly, the financial services industry is migrating to the cloud for their content storage needs. Cloud storage occurs in physical storage and can be stored in private, public or hybrid facilities. But before we get detail in the nuances and strategic approaches to moving financial cloud services for any organization, let’s go over the key differences between the three cloud types:

Private cloud 

An entire cloud solution is dedicated solely to an organization’s data storage needs. Organizations may store their content via on-premise servers or offsite through a third-party cloud service provider. Private cloud storage gives users greater control over their data, as close as you can get to traditional on-premise data centers. 

For example, you get to be more hands-on with private cloud protocols, configurability and metrics. It also affords organizations with closer monitoring to meet even the greatest confidentiality and compliance requirements. 

Public cloud 

Storage services are provided via the internet. Typically, public cloud storage is scalable, prescription based, and comes with a range of service level agreements (SLAs) and resources. While the public cloud storage provider is responsible for managing and securing data on the cloud, an organization is responsible for securing their content in that cloud. Public cloud users benefit from elasticity, in that storage capacity and SLAs adapt to workload demands — best case scenario automatically. The downside is that public cloud storage may be cost prohibitive for large-scale usage. Clients don’t have as much access to data visibility or control.

Hybrid cloud 

This is a mix of public and private cloud storage, hybrid clouds provide an extra layer of elasticity to account for spikes in-network data transmissions. Hybrid cloud’s integration of on-premise and offsite storage can be configured to ensure compliance with business and technical requirements — including security, cost and efficiency. IT managers may instill security controls so that sensitive data, i.e. of private SaaS customers, is kept in the private clouds, while less priority data is kept on the public cloud.

Some limitations to the hybrid cloud exist. Strong integrations with compatibility are required to make hybrid cloud work. Hybrid cloud may also be cost prohibitive, e.g. infrastructure management.

How to Move Financial Services to a Hybrid Cloud

Flexibility, scalability and high reliability make the hybrid cloud an ideal platform for financial services data storage. Here we will look at ways to migrate to a hybrid financial services cloud, with a real-world application example. 

Plan out your cloud finance strategy 

Cloud migration is no simple feat and requires planning, awareness building and stakeholder engagement. Be aware of the risks involved when moving to the cloud. Take an inventory of all of your content and conduct analysis to prioritize financial services cloud migration activities. Know what cloud providers are right for your enterprise: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure Cloud Services and Google Cloud are some of the top providers.

Map out your DevSecOps vulnerabilities with threat modeling 

Your enterprise will benefit from threat modeling, a way to diagram all existing security threats and build security requirements to mitigate them. Threat modeling is mapped out on process flow diagrams and lends itself to scalability. Get the right team in place to participate in the threat modeling project, from IT security to operations to business owners.

Figure out your starting point 

Will you migrate the smaller, more manageable applications to the cloud first, then move to the larger, more critical parts? This is not always so. Case in point, when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) began migrating to AWS for cloud computing, they migrated the most critical system first. “We moved our most mission critical, data-intensive services first,” said Steve Randrich, CIO of FINRA. Figure out what strategy is right for you.

Know what tools are available 

Make sure that the tools you select are compatible with one another. This will help with integrations and to yield consistent data for more complete analysis. FINRA utilizes the following software applications for their financial services cloud:

 

  • Computing: SFrom EC2 virtual machines, Elastic Container Service and Lambda Networking: Virtual Private Cloud, Route 53 and Direct Connect
  • Data services: DynamoDB, Relational Database Service (RDS), Simple Storage Service (S3), Glacier and Elastic Block Storage (EBS)
  • Security: Key Management Service (KMS), Identity and Access Management (IAM); App features: Simple Que Service (SQS) and Simple Notification Service (SNS), et al.

Ensure data integrity 

From even the tiniest bits, your data needs to be in clean shape to adhere to privacy requirements mandated by state, federal and international law. Mitigate risk by using the correct file transfer tools and follow best practices to ensure data files do not get corrupted. Lean on your cloud service provider to help you with business process validation. Your cloud computing in financial services strategy will also need to have post-migration management in place. Make sure to obtain input from your cloud provider on that structure.

Randrich attests that the cybersecurity capabilities of the cloud is superior to previous platforms. According to FINRA, organizations reduced time and resources expenditures by leveraging the cloud’s ability to process and store data on a major scale. This was with an improvement in interactive queries that is 400x greater than its previous, proprietary platform. FINRA handles quick moving market events such as “flash-crashes” automatically, and can take data offline in an instant.

ThreatModeler Helps you to Understand Your Cybersecurity Posture

ThreatModeler empowers IT managers to secure an enterprise’s software development life cycle by identifying and continuously monitoring for threats across all systems and applications — including devices in the operational IT stack. To learn more about why ThreatModeler’s automated solution is an excellent choice for your organization’s SecOps, request a free evaluation of the ThreatModeler platform or contact us to speak with an application threat modeling expert today.

 

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