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7 Key Considerations for Evaluating Cloud Platforms

By Olivia Munro | Thursday, September 5th, 2019

In the financial services industry, the use of cloud services is now widely accepted for firms of all sizes. Now, startups are almost always selecting a cloud-based infrastructure rather than building out an on-premise IT environment. Meanwhile, established firms are migrating to the cloud when it comes time to do a technology refresh or an office move. Investors have become more comfortable with cloud services, assuming they are delivered by a reputable managed service provider.

To set the stage, whether firms are looking to outsource to the cloud or just starting out, it is crucial to understand the differences in the public, private, and hybrid cloud.

Public Cloud:

  • Particularly, for smaller and more agile firms, the scalability, flexibility and ease of deployment with the public cloud are persuasive drivers

  • Examples of public cloud solutions include Microsoft, Amazon and Google

  • They’re often percieved to be lower cost than other cloud models

Private Cloud:

  • Private cloud has historically been the go-to for financial services firms, however adoption of managed public cloud solutions is growing

  • The private cloud is typically managed by a managed service provider, in many cases, one that understands your business environment

  • Some of the drivers that typically motivate firms to leverage private cloud include performance, security and resiliency for enterprise functionality

Hybrid: combination of the two

  • A hybrid cloud solution is a combination of the public and private or in-house platforms

So, which cloud platform is right for my firm?

The answer: it depends! We’ve long said when it comes to the public vs. private vs. hybrid debate, there’s a time and a place for each. But again, that decision typically comes down to if a firm is more security driven or perhaps requires more flexibility and less control. Continue reading for 7 factors you should consider when evaluating which cloud platform is right for your organization:

  • Service and Support: In the investment industry, it is critical that issues are resolved quickly to avoid any unnecessary downtime or contribute to any latency when the firm is trying to make trades or complete transactions according to the markets. You want your IT provider to know who you are, respond quickly to your call and deliver the one-on-one support users expect.

  • Availability and Uptime: For an alternative investment firm, availability is always a chief consideration. When crucial elements – or the entirety of your IT infrastructure – are hosted elsewhere, you need guaranteed uptime and predictable service levels. In service level agreements, cloud providers should clearly define the contracted levels of uptime they guarantee to provide.

  • Proximity and Location: Depending on your firm’s strategy as well as trading and execution goals, you may require certain proximity to data centers supported by either a public or private cloud provider. It’s also worth considering the quality of service required by your firm as your data travels across these networks. Many investment management firms prefer the comfort and security of private network connectivity, which many private and hybrid managed service providers offer, but few public clouds do.

  • Security Layers: Private cloud and hybrid cloud managed service providers can get the competitive edge when it comes to security. Particularly for compliance-driven businesses or those subject to strict regulations or investor demands, there are still countless vulnerabilities and exposures that public clouds often fail to address. Advancing security features such as multi-factor authentication, targeted attack protection and managed phishing simulations are gaining traction among private and hybrid cloud users who benefit from their providers’ extensive managed security services.

  • Compliance: Insider threats are often the greatest risk exposure for investment firms, and these firms face intense and growing scrutiny from compliance regulators and auditors. But there’s more to risk management than simply securing enterprise databases. Managed Service Providers, however, typically offer any number of tools ideal for compliance purposes – such as file auditing and access controls. With these applications, your organization can analyze, secure, manage, and migrate volumes of structured and unstructured data such as spreadsheets, word processing documents, presentations, audio and video files, emails, and text. And that means whichever cloud environment is the best fit for your firm, you’ll in a far better position to ensure – and prove – proper data security, governance and compliance.

  • Cost: At first glance, public clouds can appear to present a cost-effective alternative to private (or hybrid) clouds. But firms should look for the numbers behind the upfront expenses for a truer picture of the total cost.

For a deep-dive on the 7 key considerations when evaluating which cloud platform is right for your firm, check out our whitepaper HERE.

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