RBS chief analytics officer calls for ‘UK financial services cloud’

By Sooraj Shah
17 Mar 2014 View Comments
looking up into the clouds between buildings in the City of London

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)'s Alan Grogan has called for industry or government to create a ‘UK financial services cloud' to ensure that banks can benefit from the cloud's advantages, while making it easier to mitigate the risks associated with it.

Grogan, who is chief analytics officer at RBS's customer services group, doesn't think that banks are sceptical of the cloud, but he does think banks are sceptical of the general public's attitude to the cloud.

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"I think banks obivously want to go to the cloud because of the costs, benefits and deeper levels of security. Instead of having various risk, resilience and security teams looking at a large widely spread global internal infrastructure, if you go to the cloud and do it correctly, you can divide installations between the specialists teams, so in theory it becomes a lot more protected in my view," he said.

This idea of having one team that can be divided into specialisms to control and mitigate risks, can be broadened to cover the whole of the financial services sector, he suggested.

"I'm a big fan of putting in place a UK financial services cloud, I think it will be a fantastic statement by government or industry to say yes, put all banks onto the cloud, and that way you'd get all of the risk and security experts looking at partitions of the risk," he stated.

But while Grogan believes there has been a big shift in opinion over the past five years in the industry, from talking about a single customer view and buying data warehousing to the trends in big data, analytics and the cloud, he suggested that banks would not want to be the first into the cloud.

"No bank will want to lead on it or push for it, because for something like payment infrastructure we would need a collective bringing together [of organisations], and arguably sponsorship from our regulators and other parties," he said.

Grogan suggested that banks should first "sort out their backyards first", and then work together to reap the benefits of the cloud.

But he believes that over time banks will move to the cloud, and cited US healthcare's move over to the cloud as a signal that it is possible because "that data is just as sensitive as financial services data".

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