Embracing the Cloud - SaaS and Security

Many industries are rapidly embracing cloud computing as its benefits are becoming more widely known. However, some businesses - in the finance industry in particular - are still concerned about the security credentials of the technology. Below, we discuss the concerns and reasons to turn to cloud-based services for treasury management automation.

It’s natural for businesses to ask themselves the following questions when considering cloud computing adoption:

• Will my data be safe if I adopt a cloud solution?
• Who will be able to see my data?
• Will I be able to control access to my data?
• Will my applications and data be always available, any time I need access?

Most IT departments are sure they can answer these questions due to their growing exposure and interest in the cloud technologies in general. A recent report from Everest Group and Cloud Connect found that 57 per cent of the 346 company executives questioned had already adopted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions through the cloud – demonstrating that it is no longer a minority who has embraced the new technology, but in fact, the norm. 

So why are businesses so keen to jump on the cloud computing bandwagon? Quite simply, the benefits are clear to the businesses:

Cost savings and efficiency - This is a major selling point for many business and particularly for smaller firms with less capital available for large investments into hardware and IT support. Opting for a SaaS solution means little or no initial outlay to buy hardware and implementation. The services are provided over the internet on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis and can therefore open up services to firms that would not previously have been able to afford them.

Without the need for major IT support investment, costs normally incurred through data storage, resources, file translation fees etc. are all but eliminated. Most or all of these IT related costs can be avoided altogether with the use of an automated, SaaS solution.

Operating efficiencies - Despite these cost benefits, SaaS providers are fast realizing that users are actually more interested in other benefits offered through the use of cloud computing, such as the operational efficiencies. The Everest/Cloud Connect survey cited earlier also found that the top reasons for the adoption of cloud services outlined were the reduction of time to market for products and the flexibility offered to infrastructure capacity. 

Because cloud services can be implemented and utilized rapidly, users find that they can bring products to market much more quickly than with in-house systems. They can also opt to increase or reduce the infrastructure available to them at any time – offering scalability that is almost limitless.

Freeing up time and expertise - Many businesses’ treasury departments find that staff have their hands tied due to the number of repetitive, manual tasks that need to be done on a regular basis and take up valuable time for skilled staff. Automating these functions by deploying a SaaS service can free-up time significantly, helping treasury staff to out more efforts into strategic roles that will be of greater benefit to the business.

Always having the latest solutions - SaaS users typically see their systems upgraded as standard once or twice a year. This automatic process ensures that users have access to the very latest versions of the software solutions without requiring any effort from their IT departments. Anyone relying on a in-house system would have to invest in the upgrade, implement it and roll it out across the business - including training for users and support staff, at substantial additional cost.

It’s clear that businesses that have already opted for cloud solutions are enjoying a wide range of benefits, so why do some businesses continue to hold back and opt out of joining the cloud computing revolution?

The main reasons are ongoing security concerns, which most of the time are unfounded. Despite the studies that prove the opposite, many industry sectors still lag behind for example HR and Business Communications for the up-take of cloud solutions. 

However, a change is on the horizon and the main reason that users are now enjoying superior security when using SaaS solutions is the emergence of the private cloud. 

In the early days of cloud computing, users were limited to the Public Cloud, which is a term used to describe a multi-tenant model. Instead of dedicated equipment for each separate user, the servers, networks, bandwidth, etc. are all shared by numerous users. Although the security of this type of cloud service is now far superior to its level in the past, treasury departments and any financial services business may now prefer to opt for a Private Cloud solution. 

With the Private Cloud, all resources are guaranteed to only be used by a single client. Having this dedicated set of resources all but completely removes the security concerns people once had when working in the cloud. The connection itself even tends to be provided through a private leased line connection, rather than the public internet, and further management and security controls can be added with access granted to users as and when needed.

Choosing the private cloud option also helps to ensure a business is fully compliant with all government privacy regulations.

Private cloud computing has quickly become the favored option for information services divisions, according to research by Pierre Audoin Consultants, who found that 71 per cent of IT decision makers would rather invest in a private cloud solution.

With regards to treasury departments and their use of cloud-based SaaS solutions, the benefits of using this type of automation clearly outweigh security concerns. Kyriba treasury management systems offer immediate access to cutting edge treasury management technology, without expensive contracts, hardware purchases, maintenance fees and upgrade costs. Kyriba users enjoy a comprehensive security package, which includes disaster recovery, back-up and support services, as well as military grade security protection. 

Working with Kyriba allows our clients to answer any security questions they may have and also puts their mind at rest that their SaaS solution is very much ‘service’ based, offering far-reaching benefits to an entire business.

September 4, 2012