Cloud Computing and Fintech: Choosing a Cloud Services Provider

The benefit of Moving to Cloud

Cloud computing is the use of a remote server for storing, managing, and processing data over the internet (Bildosola et al., 2015). The main services that are provided through cloud computing include servers, databases, networking, storage, and software services. Moving to cloud services will benefit Fintech services in the following ways:

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Advanced-Data Management

Cloud-based services improve data management (Tham, 2018). Cloud services are useful when the amount of financial data is exceeding the normal amount. It allows the Fintech companies to store data and manage their financial data in a more secure and trusted service. Through advanced data management, Fintech can integrate new applications and technologies much easier in the future.

Reduced Operational Costs

The traditional method of creating and operating a bank was expensive (Sharma et al., 2017). Costs incurred in constructing data centers and servers. In addition, the costs of recruitment and training of personnel in these centers were high. Through cloud services, banks do not have to invest huge amounts of their revenues in hardware or the personnel to maintain it. The low costs have created a potential for new market entrants that were deterred from entering the banking sector by these costs. Through cloud computing services, banking institutions can invest in a secure, dedicated cloud service provider that does not require additional costs of personnel to maintain it. Due to a reduction in costs, the financial institutions will increase their revenue. It will also help them to focus more on driving more money for the business.

Improve Customer Service

In the past, the financial services industry was known to be slow in responding to the evolving customer requirements (Tham, 2018). This has improved due to cloud computing services, which have also helped Fintech companies to develop and launch their new products much faster and easier increasing client satisfaction. Cloud computing services have led to the reduction of financial fraud. This has offered the clients a trusted platform to conduct all their banking activities.

Agile Innovation

Financial institutions aim at innovation through increasing their productivity, agility, and efficiency (Meikang Qiu, 2017). Cloud computing allows banks to secure better insights into their clients. Through computing, services banks seek to develop systems that are highly customized to meet the needs of their clients. Through this, banks have increased their demographics that is crucial to their growth and profitability. This allows them to deliver their products to the market speedily and fashionably.

Technical Challenges that Fintech Face in Offering the New Service

Data and Security Privacy

The risks of cloud computing are the biggest concern in Fintech (Sharma et al., 2017). Banks in particular deal with sensitive data that is at greater risk of data leaks and cyber-attacks. Data breaches and theft have been plaguing Fintech. Giant Fintech companies such as JP Morgan have faced data breaches. With any technology, security becomes a crucial requirement for the protection of users’ private and valuable information. However, data security incidents can be prevented. Fintech must emphasize the threats and vulnerability detection in all areas of the cloud.

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Reporting and Compliance

Reporting and compliance are other technical issues that Fintech faces in offering the new service (Restoy, 2019). It has become challenging for Fintech to navigate the dynamic nature of regulations and reporting standards. With the changes in compliance regulations and computing standards, Fintech is forced to be alert to avoid experiencing problems related to non-compliance.

Lost Productivity

Lost productivity and competitive edge are some of the business challenges that Fintech faces in offering the service (Restoy, 2019). Most financial institutions do not have the expertise or the financial capabilities to adopt cloud solutions. Some banks have not decided fully on moving to cloud computing. Through running the traditional data management systems, the financial institutions lose on the productivity that is brought by the cloud application. Through cloud migration, banks end up losing much time from server downtime.

Business Challenges that Fintech Face in Offering the New Service

Cost Management and Containment

The high costs involved in cloud computing are another significant challenge (Alhadawi et al., 2017). Cloud computing saves costs, however, the scalable and on-demand nature of cloud computing services makes it difficult for businesses to determine the financial associated expenditures.

Lack of Resources

Another business challenge that Fintech faces is the lack of resources and expertise to manage cloud technologies (Sanchez, 2017). As the financial sector grows, there are more workloads due to data management. Additionally, cloud computing technologies continue advancing rapidly. These changes have made it difficult for many businesses to keep up. As a result, there is an increased need for expertise and personnel who will keep up with the advancing tools. To solve this challenge, Fintech could hire and train more IT and development staff. Given the information presented by the three members of staff, Kwo should choose Google cloud computing services. This is because the Google database configuration was more flexible and easy to customize.

Comparison and Contrast of Microsoft Azure, Google, and Amazon Web Services

Microsoft Azure

Data migration

The presenter explained that Microsoft Azure is the best in data migration for many existing applications. In some service providers, data migration causes a lot of downtimes which can result in low productivity for the customers which can lead to reduced profits (Mijwil, 2018). It leads to a series of challenges for businesses with large amounts of data. Microsoft provides a platform that allows smooth migration.

Costs

The presenter described that Microsoft was more expensive than the other two service providers (Mijwil, 2018). In selecting the best cloud service provider, it is important to ensure that it saves costs. As most businesses are profit-based, Microsoft Azure can pose a business challenge of increased costs. However, Microsoft Azure provides its customers a pricing plan that helps them to plan their payments. This becomes easy for enterprises to manage their costs well.

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Advanced-Data Management

With the large amounts of data that the business is expecting, Azure provider meets their computing and storage requirements unlike other service providers (Mijwil, 2018). In addition, it has an in-memory database that will boost the performance of its proprietary algorithms.

Google

Storage Requirements

Google does not meet its computing and storage requirements. To meet the company’s computing and storage requirements, they had to increase the Google SQL database (Sitti, 2016). This is a technical limitation for the company as well as a business challenge. The additional SQL database will pose a challenge to the business as it will require to meet the costs.

Configuration

Google offers technical benefits in its database configuration (Sitti, 2016). The database configuration is flexible and easy to customize. Through customization, it will help the business to meet the clients’ expectations. This would be classified as a business benefit.

Costs

The cost of the provider was lower than Microsoft but the same as Amazon (Tham, 2018). However, it would be difficult to calculate the long-term savings. It could pose a business challenge in terms of costs and profitability.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Flexibility in Configuration

The Amazon service provider has instances organized into nodes that will help Kwo and his team to expand or contract their configuration (Kandemirli, 2018).

Costs

There is an element of additional costs as the team had to purchase a third-party tool to load test data into the Amazon Web Services (Kandemirli, 2018). These additional costs may not work well with the business side of the company. However, on the technical side, the third-party tool integrated well with the company’s existing extraction packages.

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Technical and Business Implications of their Similarities and Differences

Technical Implications

A variety of software generations for the performance of similar tasks causes the presence of different products in the market (Bildosola et al., 2015). The clients will therefore have a wide range of products to choose from. The presence of different software also pushes for the improvement of the existing ones, hence more stable software in the long run.

Business Implications

The existence of the same software for a similar role pushes for product diversification and improvement (Bildosola et al., 2015). The fight to occupy the market creates a perfectly competitive business environment. The companies, therefore, keep working on their software updates.

Specific Risks for Each Provider due to Cloud Computing

Many benefits are associated with having the cloud services as the cloud platform for the company. The flexibility and agility of the platform improve the performance of the company (Meikang Qiu, 2017). The company becomes more innovative, responsive to customer needs, and ready to change. However, some challenges and risks are associated with using the platform. The following are some of the risks that are associated with Google, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon web services.

Risks in Google Cloud Services

Data Breaching

Data breaching is the intentional or unintentional release of confidential data or information to untrusted sources (Sitti, 2016). Data breaching can also be called data leak or information leakage. In 2018, Google experienced one of the largest data breaches with over one million users’ data compromised. The Google engineers identified a software leakage from their Google+API that is used in social media networks. The data breach was a major scandal that led to the shutting down of the software in April of 2019.

Insufficient Identity, Credential, and Access Management

This is another major risk of using the google cloud platform among other platforms (Sitti, 2016). The illegal access to private information is due to weak data encryption systems. Access to data can lead to malicious actors pretending to be legitimate users and therefore end up reading, modifying, or deleting the data. The unauthorized users can also hijack the data in transit and release malware that will appear to come from the business.

Account hijacking is another serious risk that is associated with the Google platform. The most common methods are the use of malicious software that collects the username and passwords of the bank data (Sitti, 2016). In 2018, hackers used the google platform to hijack data that gave them access to banks and financial institutions in the UK and the US. The hackers used malicious software that targeted banks and financial institutions. the malicious payload was stored in the Google cloud storage domain. The hijackers bypassed the security control of the google services by hosting their payloads using commonly used domains.

Risks in Amazon Platform

Security and Data Protection

One of the biggest issues facing AWS is data security and protection (Kandemirli, 2018). There are security policies laid down for Amazon web services but the service has some challenges in securing its data. When a business tries to troubleshoot or gain better visibility, the traffic of data stops leading to security blind spots. To create network policies that will single-handedly manage the data, the company will require to create separate solutions. This adds complexity and risk to the use of the cloud service instead of making it easier and safer.

Data Loss

Amazon web services have experienced a massive data loss in the past. The data loss was a result of a power outage at the Amazon AWS facility (Kandemirli, 2018). The loss of data showed that the system is vulnerable to such risks. After the power was restored, EBS and EC2 volumes lost data that could not be recovered due to hardware damage. It is therefore important that if the business chooses AWS as their provider, they should ensure that they perform backups regardless of where their data is stored.

Risks on Microsoft Azure

Shared Technology

There are key security risks of cloud services that can be identified in providers such as Microsoft Azure (Mijwil, 2018). They are data breaches, malicious insiders, data loss, and shared technology. The Azure public cloud is more vulnerable to attackers. Attackers infiltrate the cloud and release the data of customers that are using the service to insecure environments. The Azure cloud service is at the risk of technology vulnerability as it has many customers hence making it a target.

Data Loss

Just like any most cloud service, Microsoft Azure is susceptible to data loss (Mijwil, 2018). Data loss occurs mainly to accidental deletion of the data by the cloud provider or the customer or an attacker deletes or modifies it. In some cases, data can be lost through natural disasters that destroy the hardware. Data loss can be mitigated through having backups.

Data Breach

Data breach is another common risk in the Azure platform. A data breach occurs when attackers gain access to the data and remove it from the cloud storage (Mijwil, 2018). To mitigate this risk, Azure has developed security control systems and monitoring tools the customers to protect their data while using the service.

If this platform is selected, two ways can be used to launch the service. One is through uploading the application to the platform staging areas and the second is through using the Azure portal to swap staging production (Mijwil, 2018). Monitoring and managing the Azure can be done by the Azure cloud services. The cloud service provides monitoring services.

Suggestions for Launching, Running and Managing the Proposed New Service

Launching

The following process should be followed: – architecture design and development, alpha testing, soft launch, final launch, and post-launch (Meikang Qiu, 2017). Fintech should ensure that the new service is tailored to match the demands of the target segments, which are the suppliers and clients. The company should ascertain that the product can solve the identified business problem. For this to be achieved, a pilot program for the rollout should be launched.

Running

Fintech should ensure a timely update of their way of operation such that the technological changes do not render their services obsolete (Meikang Qiu, 2017). Clients’ references should also be collected continuously so that the system can have update client details at any given time. The new service should also be improved in terms of the operation capacity.

Managing

Fintech should consult with other providers of data services as a support strategy (Meikang Qiu, 2017). The company should involve investors and industry experts for setting up a stable and ever-improving channel. Fintech should target the global market, for the improvement of financial returns from the new service.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Provider Evaluation Process

The advantage of using training for evaluating the provider is the company can evaluate the costs of training their own IT staff and having them trained by the provider (Alhadawi et al., 2017). If training by the provider is cheaper, the company will opt for it. However, if it is more expensive, the company will source other ways in which the staff can be trained. The disadvantage of using this approach is that the company could disregard a good provider just because they lack training and support services.

Selecting a provider with good customer support will ensure continuous improvement for the business (Bildosola et al., 2015). Customer support is very crucial for any business. A service provider with good customer support will ensure that the customers have an established process for continually improving and modifying the service. Outsourcing customer service from the provider will make the business lose some control over their customers. The business loses control of how the customers are monitored and managed.

Security is an important aspect of cloud computing. Using this approach will make sure that the customer’s data is safe and secure through using the provider (Meikang Qiu, 2017). However, it is difficult to determine the least vulnerable as all the cloud services are susceptible to data loss and security.

Using data and system availability is also an important aspect in determining the right cloud service provider (Meikang Qiu, 2017). The data and system availability approach ensures that all the data that the customers need to function is always accessible when and where it is required. The data should also be accessible even when disruption occurs. The challenge of this approach is the technical issues that leave the customer with no choice when they need to access the data.

The Useful Steps That Were Taken

One of the useful steps that were taken by the team was to research the service providers (Sharma et al., 2017). The team gathered data from the providers’ websites to learn about their basic offerings. I do not see any problem as they followed the right approaches to settle down on the right service provider.

The Identified Problems

Fintech is likely to experience financial limitations during the first face of rolling out the program (Bildosola et al., 2015). The change of mode of operations is associated with exorbitant costs, and this is due to software development and roll-out. The clients may also take time to familiarize themselves with the new system. Clients’ details may also be subject to leakage due to cyber-attack.

References

Alhadawi, H., Hasan, M., & Kadhum, L. (2017). A review of challenges and security risks of cloud computing. University Malaysia Pahang. Web.

Bildosola, I., Belver, R., & Cilleruelo, E. (2015). Design and implementation of a cloud computing adoption decision tool: Generating a cloud road. PLOS, 17(3), 1-20. Web.

Kandemirli, B. (2018). Amazon.com’s digital strategies: Amazon.com case study. The University of Manchester. Web.

Meikang Qiu, K. G. (2017). Mobile cloud computing. Mobile cloud computing, 61-78. Web.

Mijwil, M. (2018). Microsoft Azure what is it and where does Microsoft bet with its Cloud? Baghdad College of Economics Sciences University. Web.

Restoy, F. (2019). Regulating fintech: What is going on, and where are the challenges? Web.

Sanchez, P. (2017). Mobile Information Systems. Web.

Sharma, M., Husain, S., & Ali, S. (2017). Cloud computing risks and recommendations for security. Web.

Sitti, R. (2016). The ins and outs of Google Inc.; A strategic analysis. Web.

Tham, P. G. (2018). Chapter 5. The importance of cloud computing. Fintech, 49-70. Web.

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