Cloud-based financial applications are growing in popularity

The use of cloud computing within the global financial industry is growing rapidly due to its inherent flexibility. The cloud is becoming irresistible to IT decision-makers, and many have indicated a desire to implement its services, as well as a fear that a failure to do so will render them uncompetitive within the industry.

Security concerns are being overlooked due to the cloud's efficiency
The Cloud Security Alliance conducted a study, entitled "How Cloud is Being Used in the Financial Sector," that aimed to clarify the various methods of usage among industry leaders and detail the actual number of users.

IT executives are choosing to make the shift to cloud computing in order to reap the rewards of increased efficiency and accessibility. IT executives are choosing to make the shift to cloud computing in order to reap the rewards of increased efficiency and accessibility.

The study found that 61 percent of respondents have a cloud strategy that is in its formative stages within their organization. A further breakdown of this number revealed that between 39 and 47 percent were planning to use a mix of in-house IT or hybrid clouds, and 18 percent aimed to use entirely private clouds. Security and control over data is a major concern for those who have yet to make the transition.

Eighty percent of leaders at financial services firms expressed that they hope to see increased transparency and better auditing controls from cloud providers, according to the CSA study. This number was even higher than the response for data encryption, which came in at 57 percent, a sentiment that indicated that users value personal control over security.

The biggest perk for cloud users appears to be infrastructure flexibility: 68 percent of respondents said as much, while another 63 percent noted that their need for reduced provisioning time made the cloud attractive to them. The source found that the most prominently used services included customer relationship management at 46 percent, application development at 45 percent and email at 41 percent.

European CFOs are beginning to adopt cloud-based financial applications
Computer Weekly noted that IT executives in Europe are expressing interest in developing cloud solutions for their companies to help reduce costs and improve efficiency. While some are still apprehensive about potential security risks, the added performance and availability that the cloud can offer has seemed to outweigh these concerns. The source also said that there have been various advances in security in recent years.

While 40 percent of respondents in a recent Claranet survey of 900 European IT decision-makers indicated that cloud security was the most important factor in the delivery of finance applications, Computer Weekly reported that the remaining 60 percent picked performance or availability as their top values.

Automation is also a highly-valued aspect of cloud solutions. The source cited a Blackline survey of 250 U.K. financial decision-makers, which found that 80 percent of respondents agreed that greater levels of automation directly lead to heightened productivity. A further 89 percent of those surveyed expressed a desire for their teams to use cloud-based applications.

"IT executives are worried that their companies are falling behind the curve."

The Blackline report also found that IT executives are worried that their companies are falling behind the curve, with 75 percent indicating that they have missed out on revenue opportunities by not using the right cloud applications and infrastructure to support digital business transformation. Because of this, 70 percent of those surveyed dread that their business might become uncompetitive, while 76 percent disclosed that this could happen by the end of 2015.

The cloud is likely to become the dominant IT platform in the financial sector within a few short years. In fact, with industry leaders determined to make the transition sooner rather than later in order to keep up with and surpass rivals, the cloud could become the standard for successful business operations even by the end of this year.