Getting more financial service providers in the cloud

13 Jul

By: Markus Witcomb

Desktop Virtualisation

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Financial services cloud computing has received great demand since the industry and technologies were successfully combined. The Financial Services Industry has not only been an early adopter of remote desktop and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), it has been a significant driver of the development of this technology.

Low TCO, Increase Security

Besides the pressure that all industries are facing to lower TCO by leveraging virtualized and “cloudy” services, the industry as a whole is required to meet strict regulatory compliance mandates. Yet, when many organizations began implementing VDI onsite, they quickly discovered how expensive it is and how complex it is to manage.

In addition, banks are under more pressure than ever before to be competitive, especially after the global financial crisis that reared its head in 2008, and organizations could benefit from having their IT teams work on more and more strategic projects rather than the tedious duties of managing desktops and the infrastructure to support the overall end-user computing environment.

Security and compliance are a foremost concern for the financial services industry, which is among the most heavily regulated of any. In the US, for instance, banks not only have to comply with federal regulations, but rules that each state also imposes.

On top of that, there are several levels of security and compliance, and multiple agencies within each branch of government that banks have to contend with. For instance, banks need to comply with: privacy, anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism, consumer protection and deposit insurance rules and regulations, to name only a few.

Anyplace, Any Device

In addition, every industry needs to deal with mobility and the proliferation of devices today. Employees are becoming increasingly demanding, and want to work from whatever device they choose and from wherever they are on the network. In order to recruit and retain the best-of-breed employees, organizations need to enable their employees to work from home and potentially from personally-owned devices.

Those devices are not only vulnerable to loss or theft, but to data loss from local system failures. If that sensitive data were hosted centrally, as in a virtualized environment, it would not reside on the device and be less vulnerable.

As mentioned earlier, banks have been among the earliest adopters of virtualization, and specifically VDI. Because of this, banks were also among the first to discover how expensive VDI can be to deploy, scale and manage. In particular, the I/O-intensive technology hammers on SAN systems, requiring businesses to buy more and more expensive storage to make the environment viable.

Besides the capital expenditure costs, IT administrators found themselves scrambling to put out I/O fires constantly, which kept them from working on more strategic projects that could positively impact the bottom line. This also made it hard for IT teams to make the business case to management to fund VDI projects in the first place.

The Solution

The DaaS market has been around for almost a decade, but has really only started to make traction in the last few years. Much of the resistance to DaaS adoption stemmed from the fact that most providers were still focusing on delivering VDI, which was still expensive and difficult to manage – even from a specialized service provider.

And, true VDI doesn’t make sense in as many use cases as once thought. However, most of the major DaaS platforms, including VMware Horizon DaaS (which is based on the acquisition of one of the DaaS pioneers, Desktone) have added more delivery options to their platforms, including applications-as-a-service, making DaaS more affordable overall.

Benefits: Lower Costs & Increased Reliability

By outsourcing desktop management to a third party, financial services organisations can:

  • lower costs through predictable subscription-based pricing
  • relieve IT administrators of tedious management tasks, including;
    • automatic updates
    • patching Operating Systems
    • patching applications
  • enable mobility
  • ensure that security and compliance are upheld, because sensitive data is hosted centrally in a secure and redundant data center.

Moreover, DaaS can help financial services manage and maintain workers in remote branch offices. For now, many DaaS customers are doing hybrid deployments, both on-premises and from the cloud. As the market matures, we can expect to see more and more desktops and critical business applications pushed to DaaS service providers. In fact, analyst firm 451 Research claims that the DaaS market is currently a $2bn one that grew at a rate of 30% last year.

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