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By Rob Garbutt, CEO of LDeX Group

Rob Garbutt

The landscape of the finance sector is changing and new technologies are dominating the horizon. Customer desire for simplicity and immediacy is driving new forms of fintech and consumer lending platforms, which are transforming the industry. Technology has always been a crucial part of business. But firms within the finance sector are now realising that, in order to stay competitive, technology needs to become absolutely central to the way that they operate.

As traditional banks and more established companies step up their efforts in order to keep up with younger, agile competition, they create more data and require an increased amount of processing power from reliable servers. This is why we’ve seen a move away from a capital expenditure (CAPEX) model, whereby businesses purchase in-house servers, to an operating expenditure (OPEX) one, enabling organisations to rent scalable collocation from a third-party.

This increased demand for third-party data centres comes at a good time – keeping data secure within the financial sector is more important, and more difficult, than ever. Sensitive customer data and, of course, currency makes financial services companies valuable targets for attackers. The FCA has said that the number of cyber attacks against financial services firms has risen significantly from just five reported attacks in 2014 to 75 attacks so far in 2016. And this isn’t set to slow down – financial services giant SWIFT has admitted that cyber threats are ‘persistent, adaptive and sophisticated’, and worryingly, ‘here to stay’.

But hackers and other cyber criminals aren’t the only threats that firms need to worry about. Human and hardware errors, as well as coding errors and corruption, can all wipe business critical data in a second.

Financial services companies are increasingly reliant on data to carry out their day-to-day operations, meaning that they need a reliable, secure place to keep it, with enough power to allow continuous access to business critical information. Proper diligence when choosing a data centre is therefore essential. Companies should make sure there is a thorough approach to security, from the entrance to the building to the design of the servers themselves. Data centre providers will usually have an up-to-date knowledge of the array of threats that companies face, and measures will be in place to defend against these – from physical security such as CCTV and biometric technology to virtual security measures such as privileged network access – in order to keep track of who accesses the data. Keeping data safe is a full time job, and often offices and companies don’t have the time or resources to fully achieve it – but data centres can focus all of their time and effort on safety and security.

Data centres also offer the support and expertise of a dedicated technical team, which can be invaluable not only in order to keep data secure and monitor for any threats, but also to keep the server running and quickly fix any problems.

Although the sensitive nature of the data that financial companies deal with could make them want to remain self-sufficient, sole commitment to ensuring the secure storage and continuous availability of business critical data is incredibly important.

Outsourcing to a third-party data centre is an efficient and secure way of storing corporate data. However, financial companies should always visit the data centre that they are entrusting with their valuable information before they relocate it there. When viewing, they should keep in mind that it’s not just about impressive-looking facial recognition scanners and virtual trip wires. Protecting critical data from threats and downtime requires a full-time focus – and this is where data centres can make all the difference.

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