Banking and Insurance: first steps towards hybrid cloud
In a hurry to innovate, business lines of banks and insurers are eager to capitalize on the strengths of the public cloud. Companies are moving towards hybrid models that promise the best of every –private- public- environment. For IT, it means developing the maturity, skills and tools needed to integrate these new services.
To keep up with the intense pace of innovation and meet the expectations of users and customers, businesses must be able to rely on a flexible and responsive IT infrastructure. However, in many cases, the private cloud does not offer sufficient progress with regards to these needs. Ideal for stable and sensitive back office environments, it will never offer either the same operational flexibility nor the same functional richness as the public cloud when it comes to developing, testing and deploying new ideas. In other words, the private cloud can no longer be considered - as it may have been - as a step on a linear path to the public cloud. Both models must coexist in a hybrid with an approach depending on the use cases.
This has been understood by business lines which often subscribed to SaaS software and constituted their own digital factory without the support of IT services. With the support of Dev&Test teams, they have implemented agile methods and DevOps-type approaches based on infrastructure sourced in the public cloud. In order not to be overwhelmed by this so called “Shadow IT” and continue to play a central role in the digital transformation, IT needs to reintegrate these initiatives as quickly as possible into a strategy of hybrid infrastructures and solutions in order to offer its internal clients the broad range of innovative services they require.
Still a distant ideal but a clear direction to follow
The ultimate promise of the hybrid cloud is to be able to deploy every application on the most appropriate infrastructure, be it in terms of quality of service, ease of use, security, cost, etc. The end goal is to automate these arbitrations according to predefined rules, then the provisioning of adequate resources (VM, network, storage, security, access management ...) and finally the application deployment. Although such a scenario is still out of reach, we can already prepare for it, and gradually move beyond the artisanal stage of manual management, on a case by case basis, of the different platforms.
To take full advantage of hybrid cloud, strengths, weaknesses, and constraints of different environments need to be clearly established to clearly differentiate use cases. In order to develop a strategy for the use of the relevant hybrid cloud, it is therefore essential to bring teams up to maturity and skills, and to adapt organizations, processes and security policies. Structuring themes such as data classification can support these strategies: such a classification of data has been set up by European central banks and is used to position their applications between on premise, private cloud and public cloud : it is a true example of elementary but effective maturity of a hybrid model.
Service Orchestration and Cloud Management Platform, the indispensable tools for hybrid environments
To implement this strategy, it is imperative to have the appropriate tools, including a Cloud Management Platform (CMP) which will empower the Service Orchestration. The first function of the CMP will be to present a unified Service Catalog, starting point of any "consumption" of IT services.
Moreover, unifying the administration tools, the CMP manages, on the one hand, the hybrid environment at the global level (supervision, security, access ...) and ensures, on the other hand, referencing, brokerage (brokering), orchestration, security and contractual and financial monitoring of services offered to end-users. In addition, at security level, new natively hybrid tools, covering all perimeters (private cloud / public cloud, IaaS / Paas / SaaS ...), appear such as Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) type solutions.
However, while the CMP is essential for effectively understanding the management of hybrid environments, they are no less complex. To reap the benefits as quickly as possible, Banks and Insurers must be able to count on an integrator capable of helping them in defining, implementing, securing and monitoring their Cloud strategy and supporting them towards this goal of a seamless and automated hybrid model.