Over the past few years, the cloud has become an integral part of IT systems worldwide. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for cloud computing solutions has accelerated, turning two decades of growth into a sudden boom. The shift of financial services firms to the cloud to support remote and hybrid working is a significant change for an industry that pioneered the large-scale application of computing through in-house infrastructure.
According to IPC Systems, a provider of communications and networking solutions for global financial markets, organisations have become more flexible, agile, and responsive by adapting their IT strategy and infrastructure to meet the rigours and risks of digital transformation and the hybrid work environment.
Cloud – The prerequisite for the hybrid trading floor
Across Asia-Pacific, hybrid working is here to stay. A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that since the pandemic, only 10% of employees within Asia wish to return to the office, whilst the majority are keen to maintain a hybrid arrangement.
A hybrid trading floor has fast become a reality with the transition requiring both a dramatic cultural shift and technological upgrade. With fintech firms offering newly developed platforms and service options that could be flexibly deployed, traders had to rapidly adapt to a work-from-home environment, whilst virtually replicating the same experience they have physically in the office.
The pandemic demonstrated that it was possible for traders and other regulated users to maintain secure, reliable, and compliant communications with their counterparties. The development of advanced technology enabled traders to maintain the same trade lifecycle workflows as they would on the trading floor, but from the safety of their homes. From here, the hybrid working environment has evolved immensely.
Ecosystems of financial market participants have become increasingly reliant on cloud infrastructure to stay connected. With the global financial cloud market expected to reach US$90.11 billion in 2030, up from US$23.67 billion in 2020, this is a trend that continues to grow and will have significant implications for the sector.
The frequent turbulence in financial markets has made it necessary for many organisations to connect natural buyers and sellers, be it in a remote, hybrid, or office setting. Digital transformation of financial services is accelerating exponentially, requiring organisations to make significant investments to bolster infrastructure and security, or risk being left behind by competitors. As financial services adjust to these realities, the most successful ones will become experts at change, setting the standards for the hybrid working world.
Tackling the challenges of a cloud-based future
Resilience has become a board-level discussion over the past two years. Digital transformation, business continuity and stronger security requirements have become paramount, putting pressure on IT professionals within financial institutions to rethink their architectures and how their cloud models are managed. As detailed in an A10 enterprise report on the drivers of digital resiliency post-pandemic, private cloud delivery of network services was the preferred environment amongst respondents in Asia-Pacific.
To ensure a competitive advantage, senior leaders in remote settings need to strike the right balance between protecting their business and maintaining agility. This involves optimising security tools and ensuring that they work in unison with the business rather than compromising it.
Building a partnership with a managed service provider (MSP) can help capital market firms stay competitive and agile whilst also delivering business-critical applications that are secure, compliant, available, and efficient for multi-cloud transformation.
Nowhere else are managed services becoming more prevalent than in the Asia-Pacific region. This is due to the challenges posed by vast geographical distances and significant regulatory, cultural, economic, and linguistic differences between countries; as well as the current hybrid work model, all of which can make accessing global markets and counterparties difficult.
To navigate these constraints, capital market participants are increasingly looking for MSPs that have:
- A ready-made ecosystem with a global reach that offers connections into virtually all financial centres.
- The ability to provide flexible and tailored technical and commercial solutions to meet exacting business requirements.
- Focus and expertise on the capital markets, built exclusively for the capital markets and tailored to a firm’s operational needs.
Service providers who meet these expectations have become sought-after across the financial services ecosystem. Selecting the right vendor for managed services and connectivity in the fragmented and disparate Asia-Pacific capital markets is critical to mitigating business risk and competing effectively.
Digital resilience in the transformed workplace
It is hard to ignore the pace and extent of digital transformation across the financial services industry and beyond, from AI and ML to automation technologies, cloud, and more. While the infrastructure shift to support remote work was already well underway, the pace of adoption accelerated dramatically, as has the focus on infrastructure and network security in a hybrid setting. To this end, increased collaboration between MSPs and the market participants they support will be pivotal.
For capital markets participants, today’s traders demand mobility and cloud-based solutions that offer consistent functionality and flexibility across locations, devices and applications. Digitalisation will continue to drive market success in the 21st century, and to enable this, businesses need reliable network access from the edge to the core using networking, security, and trading communications technologies across the cloud. This will help ensure secure access to essential business applications anytime, anywhere, and on any device.