The greatest drawback for Cloud Computing and its uptake in the financial sector, is not the fact that vendors are driving the market rather than genuine demand – though this is true – but rather that Cloud Computing is unproven (Finance sector not convinced by cloud, Computer Weekly, 20 October 2009). Continuous IT 'up time', and delivery to demanding performance measurements, is crucial in the finance sector – but these essential emphases are easily lost by commoditised ‘one size fits all’ service delivery models.
There are currently too many questions with the infant Cloud Computing concept, such as its stability, the access to and location of data, compliance – all very important and prohibitive concerns for a traditionally conservative sector such as finance. Even standard outsourcing arrangements can come across similar roadblocks, making the seemingly abstract Cloud Computing model all the more likely to be met with scepticism.
Cloud Computing certainly has its place, for all the reasons we have been shown in the last months, just not yet. Control of processes and data is a ‘must-have’, especially for the finance sector – which is why external collaboration has historically been rare for these organisations – but once such controls can be evidenced, the financial sector uptake of cloud computing may well rise.
Nonetheless, for the time being banks and insurance companies would be well-advised to research and appreciate the requirements and precise ramifications of cloud computing, both financially, technically and operationally, so that when it is a proven concept, they can take immediate advantage.