Finance and insurance organisations’ compliance and protection fail to keep pace with cloud transformation, research shows

The finance and insurance industries are failing to maintain data backups, visibility and scalability in their digital transformation ambitions and journey to the cloud. This is according to the latest research from Veritas Technologies, a global leader in data protection and availability.

The Veritas 2020 Data Management in a Multi-Cloud World: Finance and Insurance report explores the pressures facing both industries as they continue to transform to meet competition, compliance, flexibility and security challenges. The report reveals that cloud adoption is experiencing strong growth, with almost half (48%) of organisational data stored or managed in the public cloud. IT decision makers in finance and insurance expect this figure to rise to 78% in just five years’ time.

The disruption caused by COVID-19 has only accelerated this process. Prior to the pandemic, 50% of respondents listed cloud adoption among their top three organisational priorities. Following the outbreak, this has shot up to include 62% of finance and insurance IT leaders. Cloud has become a central tool to help companies cope with modern working practises, which have only been exacerbated by working from home during the pandemic.

Somewhat unusually for the finance and insurance sectors, one third (32%) of organisations believed they would happily run all applications and workloads from the cloud, despite continued concerns around security and compliance. Security fears are unsurprisingly the most likely barrier to embracing the cloud, with 84% of IT leaders citing them as a concern when adopting public cloud technology. Stringent regulatory requirements are another major barrier. Over half (52%) of respondents indicate that the risk of non-compliance is one of their biggest challenges around cloud adoption. Indeed, nine-in-ten (89%) agree that legislation and regulation make data management more challenging.

“Cloud service adoption is increasingly likely for most industries, and finance and insurance is no exception. Yet, the need for hybrid- and multi-cloud technology is tempered by fear of what might happen if something goes wrong,” said Ian Wood, Senior Director and Head of Technology at Veritas Technologies. “Arguably, these fears are holding these institutions back from technical advantage that could see them matching and exceeding the abilities of their younger and more agile competitors.”

Another area that appears to be lacking is data backup solutions. Just 21% of respondents claim their organisation has the ability to back up all workloads equally effectively. The scalability of backups and disaster recovery is another issue. While the majority (96%) of IT leaders think the process is achievable for their organisation, 87% believe it could be easier.

These challenges aren’t helped by the fact that 83% use multiple vendors or solutions within their data protection infrastructure. Only 13% of finance and insurance companies have a consolidated on-premise and cloud solution. Couple this with the fact that just 15% claim their existing tools and processes give them full visibility of unstructured data, it’s clear data management remains an on-going issue for the sector.

The report shows that almost all (95%) respondents admit that their organisation could also improve their approach to managing and processing Subject Access Requests (SARs). IT leaders admitted their organisations need to improve on speed (84%), scalability (76%), and visibility throughout the process (74%) when it comes to SARs.

Wood continued: “So long as finance and insurance organisations lack control and visibility over their data, they remain vulnerable. They’re likely victims of cyberattack, regulatory punishment and reputational damage. However, these industries know where they can improve and are taking the steps to do so. At present, backup processes are often not automated or comprehensive enough, data visibility needs improving, and scalability of data management as cloud deployments grows is not yet optimised. Organisations must continue to improve their data management so that they have the all-encompassing data visibility to ensure they remain compliant and secure.”