Should You Be In The Cloud?
Lately, we’ve been demystifying some popular buzzwords that you hear in the business and education world. First it was Data. This week we’re taking on another one: The Cloud. It’s everywhere. Everything is in the cloud. So what is it and why should you care?
The Cloud is kind of like the internet itself. A de-centralized network of computers and servers where data can be stored and accessed from anywhere. Think of it like the difference between a home safe and a safety deposit box. With a local server, all your valuable data is stored in your office like your very own personal safe. In the cloud, your data is in an off-site security vault, like a safety deposit box, except that you can access it from home or the office just the same.
If that sounds like the best of both worlds, it is. That’s why today’s market leaders have already embraced the power, flexibility, and security of the Cloud. But we’re seeing a growing gap between those new startups who embrace the fast-paced evolution of technology and other local, or more seasoned legacy financial service institutions that play it slow. Businesses that have lagged in their willingness to leverage the power of the Cloud are falling behind. We’re here to help with that and we hope this post will help reassure you and convince you to pivot and start taking advantage of all the Cloud has to offer.
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Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your Data?
As we discussed in our last post, data is only valuable if you collect, organize, and leverage it to your benefit. Fortunately, all businesses have some amount of data, whether that’s about their products and services, their internal operations, or their customers. The problem is that most of those businesses aren’t doing much with it. According to West Monroe, a Chicago-based business consulting firm, “only about a third said their organizations are employing data science or analytics to drive insights or operational decisions.” That means that almost 70% of businesses are leaving that data on the back bench when it could be helping them compete, grow, and better serve their customers or clients.
The Financial Services sector is doing the best job with leveraging the power of data, but they aren’t getting the most out of it because most are not using the power and speed of the Cloud. Less than 1 in 5 people from the finance world have most of their data saved in the cloud which means they’re at a competitive disadvantage. And most of those people represent the regional and mid-market organizations. According to West Monroe, as bigger institutions consolidate and new tech-driven startups gain a foothold, it’s the middle size, regional banks and credit unions who will get left behind as technology becomes increasingly important.
Do You Embrace Change?
The great shift in data storage is already happening. Financial institutions are moving from in-house server rooms to robust cloud-based solutions. This gives them more flexibility and cost control, as well as access to greater processing and analysis speeds. Even the biggest institutions out there, like Bank of America, are shifting their strategy to leverage the power of the Cloud. Does your financial organization have a plan to incorporate cloud-based solutions into your business strategy? It’s understandable that security risks are top of mind. They are for everyone. But every year, continued innovation brings more safety, privacy, and control to the Cloud. Every year, more of your competitors are taking the leap. And they’re not doing it just to do it. They’re doing it because it works and it’s benefiting them. If you’re not going to embrace change, you’ll be left behind.
Why The Cloud Is Important
It’s time to answer the main question: Why is the Cloud important? The Cloud is a powerful new asset in a financial organization’s competitive toolbelt. The benefits and opportunities created by cloud-based solutions are many, but we’ll pick three to make our point:
The market is always changing. Just look at the last year. We’ve gone from an economy firing on all cylinders, with record low unemployment, rising wages, and raising interest rates, to a death spiral of mass-layoffs, 0% interest rates and stock market panic. Now we’re back to a stock market and GDP boom with growing hopes for a normal economic environment next year. If that’s not volatility, we don’t know what is. The Cloud offers the agility and flexibility to meet the shifting challenges of those fast-changing environments. Without cloud-based solutions, you’d need to constantly change your physical resources to meet each market’s unique challenges. With the Cloud, you have the capability to scale up or down your resources at a moment’s notice to provide the solutions you need when you need them.
Technology can be expensive. It’s expensive to buy, operate, maintain, and update. Then, when the next round of innovation becomes available, you have to keep up with the Jones’ and invest all over again, usually in lump sums. Cloud-based solutions are like a permanent subscription to the latest and greatest technology. There’s less capital investment up front and more flexibility to scale as you need it, which gives you more control. Need to run a data analysis project? Scale up without having to buy everything up front. Focusing on other priorities? Scale down without letting all of those expensive resources sit idle. With the Cloud, you control the cost depending on your needs.
Computers have become unbelievably powerful. The first room-sized computer had less power than today’s average wristwatch. But when you look at the computing solutions an average Credit Union or regional bank can purchase to install in their office compared to the super-computer-powered cloud-based solutions offered by giants like Amazon and Google, you find the same level of discrepancy. The power available through cloud-based solutions is incredible. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Take advantage of what’s already out there.
Debunking Security Myths About The Cloud
There are a lot of misconceptions about the Cloud, most of which are centered around it not being safe. Let’s look at a few of these myths:
- The Cloud isn’t secure: While Cloud-based computing companies may seem like a target, the fact that multiple companies are storing their data in the same environment makes it harder for criminals to go after one company or another. There’s security in a herd.
- Data would be safer on location: The physical security provisions employed by cloud-based solution providers are far superior to what most organizations could achieve in their own office. This also implies that organizations are making the proper, ongoing investments and audits of their physical security to make on-premise data inaccessible.
- Maintaining security is too hard: This doesn’t apply to cloud-based solutions any more than in-house solutions. All data needs constant security attention and tight compliance metrics.
Taking The First Step Toward The Cloud
Macro Connect’s team of experienced IT professionals can help your financial institution or organization leverage the power of Cloud-based data solutions. The power, flexibility, and cost-efficiency of the Cloud should make it an attractive resource to help give you a competitive advantage. Together we can discuss the features that will most help you and, hopefully, calm any fears about the security of your valuable data. To get started, reach out and schedule a strategy appointment with one of our Client Solutions experts today!