‘Cloud’ used to be a scary word in banking — but as the services offered by Amazon, IBM and others grow more sophisticated, both bankers and regulators are learning to love the cloud.
Banks have generally been reluctant to move important information from in-house environments to the cloud, but that could soon change. On April 13, security and compliance firm NICE Actimize announced an anti-money laundering (AML) solution for Amazon Web Services, which could embolden banks to move more services to the cloud. This would mean a key compliance task was taking place outside the bank’s walls.
NICE Actimize presented its cloud-based AML solutions at the AWS Financial Services Cloud Symposium in New York a day after its announcement, on April 14.
“By adopting AWS, NICE Actimize is taking a leadership role in how the financial services industry can leverage the cloud to stay ahead of complex regulatory environments,” said Cenk Ipeker, Head of NICE Actimize’s Cloud. “Mid-sized banks need a solution that is quick to adapt, easy to use, and proven for compliance.“
In a press release, Ipeker enumerated four areas where he believes the solution can help banks: onboarding, operational efficiency, security and stability, and product scale. More generally, it should help banks feel safer about the migration of services and data to the cloud, to the trust of third parties, in other words. This is part of the reason why blockchain and cloud go hand-in-hand — blockchain holds the promise of trustless transactions, but blockchain is not on the immediate road map of midsize banks, while cloud most likely is.
Julie Conroy, research director for Aite Group’s retail banking practice, noted that cloud-banking was not a one-size-fits-all space. Banks might be dealing with multiple layers of vendors when they move services to the cloud, and the heightened scrutiny of vendor management from the OCC could make that a daunting proposition. Still, Conroy said, the cloud is attractive, particularly for smaller institutions. “It allows access to more robust solutions, and at a more affordable price,” she told Bank Innovation.
Large companies are in the same boat. As IT costs spiral, cloud services, which update automatically and consume fewer resources, become increasingly attractive. The Wall Street Journal noted that 41.6% of processes at large corporations are expected to be running in the public cloud within the next five years, up from 16.2% today.
Still, the risk involved means banks are generally reluctant to put only publicly available data in the cloud. NICE Actimize’s solution goes far beyond that.
“You have to send highly sensitive data to do AML, not just PII (personally identifying information), but transactional data,” Conroy said.
Ipeker from NICE Actimize noted that smaller banks are already dependent on the cloud. “In many cases, a SaaS [software as a service] cloud will be the only choice for banks demanding better solutions,” he told Bank Innovation. He also noted that cloud services are often more secure than banks’ own systems could be. “The operations that are focused on delivering services in the cloud space are investing and devoting more resources than a small bank could.”Like This Post