IBM develops financial services-ready public cloud

A new platform is being unveiled that is aimed at banks and their suppliers. The goal is to help them adhere to strict industry regulatory compliance, security and resiliency requirements.

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IBM has designed what it is billing as "the world's first financial services-ready public cloud" geared at financial services institutions and their suppliers. Bank of America is an early adopter and will use the platform, which is built on IBM's public cloud to host key applications and workloads to support the privacy and safety expectations of its 66 million banking customers.

The financial services-ready  public cloud  has been designed to help financial services institutions adhere to strict industry regulatory compliance, security and resiliency requirements. The platform will enable financial institutions to transact with technology vendors that have met the platform's requirements.

The industry-specific public cloud platform provides preventative and compensatory controls for financial services regulatory workloads, multi-architecture support and proactive and automated security, IBM said in a press release, and it utilizes the industry's highest levels of encryption certification.

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The financial services-ready public cloud can potentially enable independent software vendors (ISVs) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers of all sizes to focus on their core offerings to financial institutions with the platform's controls in place.

"This is one of the most important collaborations in the financial services industry cloud space," said Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, in a statement. "This industry-first platform will allow Bank of America to use the public cloud, putting data security, resiliency, privacy and customer information safety needs at the forefront of decision making."

By setting a standard that addresses the concern of hosting highly-confidential information, Bank of America's goal is to utilize the public cloud at an increased safety level, Bessant said.

This is the latest in a seven-year cloud collaboration between IBM and Bank of America. It reflects the bank's commitment to the security and privacy of its banking customers, according to IBM, while also creating an opportunity to address the unique regulatory and compliance requirements of the financial services industry. 

The financial services-ready public cloud is expected to run on IBM's public cloud, which uses Red Hat OpenShift as its primary Kubernetes environment to manage containerized software across the enterprise. The platform also includes more than 190 API-driven, cloud-native PaaS services to create new and enhanced cloud-native apps, according to IBM.

To help promote a regulatory compliant environment, IBM and Bank of America are working with Promontory, an IBM business unit and a financial services regulatory compliance consulting.

"The financial services-ready public cloud represents an ongoing focus from Bank of America, IBM and Promontory to help develop a technology ecosystem where regulations can be addressed," Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of global industries, clients, platforms and blockchain, at IBM, said in a statement. "Together, we plan to help our customer address their ongoing compliance requirements, coupled with highly scalable, standardized capabilities that will be built to help serve today's modern financial services industry."

Financial institutions have an opportunity to more efficiently assess the security, resiliency and compliance of their technology vendors using the financial services-ready public cloud, IBM said. 

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