Jan 7, 2014

Three ways financial firms can benefit from data center services

Ansley Kilgore

Companies in the financial services sector seeking to benefit from data center services typically have trouble finding IT Infrastructure that fits their needs. Strict regulations and compliance rules within the finance industry make it difficult to address security, business continuity and customization concerns, and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to cloud offerings. Is it possible to move data and applications into the cloud or to a third-party facility while still meeting the compliance requirements of the finance industry?

Financial firms demand airtight security, compliance and efficiency. These organizations must be able to protect customers’ sensitive data and proprietary company information. To address these concerns, data center providers offer enhanced security measures, including vulnerability scanning, network and web application firewalls, log management and threat detection, anti-virus and anti-DDoS services among others. Firms can also protect customer data with comprehensive security measures, including 24/7 on-site personnel, lockable cages and cabinets and closed-circuit television systems. Other advanced security and protection features include biometric scanners and sophisticated threat monitoring systems to ensure that sensitive data is secure 100% of the time.

Data centers that conform to SOC2 standards ensure that security and operational procedures are regularly reviewed and tested. Facilities must be reviewed by an independent certified auditor to validate that their controls and processes meet stringent criteria regarding security, availability, process integrity, privacy and confidentiality. Additionally, some data centers undergo annual audits by a Payment Card Industry (PCI) Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) to ensure that they meet PCI Data Security Standards (DSS). This can reduce compliance costs, increase security and decrease the time it takes firms that outsource to these facilities to obtain their own Reports on Compliance (ROC).

Business Continuity
Financial services firms require fast and reliable connectivity and to support latency-sensitive applications for activities such as payment processing, market data delivery and online trading. Latent connectivity can be problematic for firms located in major financial centers such as the New York Metro area, and this increases the importance of route optimization technologies such as Managed Internet Route OptimizerTM (MIRO) and content delivery services. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) that clearly outlines provider responsibilities regarding guaranteed uptime is essential for financial services firms that can’t afford any downtime. Data centers designed with concurrent maintainability provide complete infrastructure redundancy, which allows scheduled and emergency maintenance to take place without affecting the entire system.

For high performance applications, provisioning speed and billing flexibility are critical. Data center providers that offer seamless and secure networking to dedicated bare-metal servers are well-suited to meet agility and cost-efficiency requirements.

Financial services firms require significant control and customization of their IT infrastructure to comply with industry regulations. This can require firms to maintain more direct control over their infrastructure by using a hybrid cloud approach. Public, private or hybrid cloud solutions allow you to choose the right infrastructure for your workload, providing increased flexibility to grow and scale. Data centers with hybrid capabilities offer seamless integration between physical and virtual clouds, while providing visibility and control over your environment.

Financial institutions should select a data center provider with the ability to support a wide range of options – from colocation and managed hosting to public or private cloud, as well as managed security services to meet the strictest security and compliance requirements.

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Ansley Kilgore

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