Nov 17, 2016

Nov 17, 2016

Outsourcing IT in the Financial Industry

A cornerstone of modern banking is the availability of banking services on a 24/7 basis such as online banking and ATMs. Failure to provide such facilities, particularly due to negligence, can have dire consequences for any financial institution.

In 2012, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, including NatWest and Ulster Bank, suffered a system outage due to a corrupted software upgrade, affecting more than 6.5 million customers in the UK over several weeks. Money did not flow into accounts after being deposited, payrolls were delayed, credit ratings downgraded, utility bills were not met.

Two years later in 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority fined RBS £42m, and the Prudential Regulation Authority fined the bank £14m, citing “a very poor legacy of IT resilience and inadequate management of IT risks”. Surprisingly, the FCA itself suffered a widespread IT outage in September 2016 after a physical incident in a data centre.

It cannot be reiterated enough that IT for finance has become a critical component in every facet of the industry. An IT system failure can result not only in downtime for business, but also in data loss or worse, a data breach.

For financial companies looking to improve their IT infrastructure through outsourcing, partnering with an experienced IT provider is a great way of getting the ball rolling quickly, but why outsource in the first place and not keep everything safe internally?  Outsourcing provides flexibility for companies that are growing at a fast pace, as well as increased resiliency through having your systems hosted on redundant infrastructure that can withstand both physical as well as digital accidents or attacks.

However, outsourcing does not mean that control over one’s IT systems is lost, as it can be either partial or full. For example, in some cases, companies choose to keep their most critical systems within their premises while housing their still-important ancillary systems with the IT partner, whereas others outsource their IT systems completely. In any case, the company still has full control over its infrastructure, with some of the added benefits being that they can easily scale up or down as well as avoid having to hire additional staff as they expand their IT needs expand.

Data loss is more common than one would expect, and suffering such a loss within the financial sector, can have severe consequences, arguably more so than any other industry. Most data losses stem from a lack of discipline when it comes to backing up. Maintaining a regular backup schedule, regularly wwwing backup and restore functions, spreading backups across various locations and encrypting the backups are just some of the must-dos to avoid data loss as well as mitigate data breaches. Of course, all this requires time and resources, so delegating backups to an IT partner can help companies save time, money as well as ensuring the backups are stored in safe environments.

We at BMIT, Malta’s largest multi-site data centre, can put your mind at ease. During the past four years we have evolved from a co-location provider to an IT-as-a-Service provider. We offer a variety of IT services which provide our customers with the flexibility to choose to what degree they want to be involved in procuring, deploying and managing their IT systems and how much of this they want to delegate to us.

In addition to hosting IT systems within our multiple data centres, we can also manage them for our clients thanks to our 24x7 support team. In cases where the operator has their own IT team, BMIT’s role is usually to supplement their efforts and assist them in their support function. We have other clients who opt to outsource all IT support, in which case the role shifts to one ensuring a round-the-clock upkeep of their systems, as well as providing best-practice advice.

With a trusted and experienced IT partner such as BMIT, businesses can keep up with innovations that help them stay abreast of the market and their competitors. We are already working with a large number of local financial operators to deliver optimal solutions on the business continuity and disaster recovery side, which includes secure backups at our data centres and the management of the business continuity process.

So do you think your company can gain an edge in the financial sector from any of the mentioned advantages and with an exclusive 40Gbps network? Contact BMIT today; we’d love to help your business move forward and save costs in the long run.

This article was featured in Money Magazine's Finance Issue (Nov 2016)

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