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UBS reduces legacy dependence with Microsoft Azure

Swiss bank begins its strategy of moving core systems into the cloud

Swiss financial services giant UBS has started its move to the cloud by putting its risk-management platform in Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

This is the first step in a plan to move more business applications into Azure.

Paul McEwen, head of technology services at UBS, said being agile and able to scale easily is a major attraction of the cloud infrastructure.

“With Microsoft Azure, we are building on the industry’s leading cloud platform in terms of innovation, technology, security and regulatory compliance, which is very important as a Swiss financial institution,” he said.

The risk-management platform runs millions of calculations, and the bank said Azure would speed calculation times by 100% and cut infrastructure costs by 40%.

Regulatory compliance was an important consideration when UBS selected a cloud strategy. The firm is using Microsoft’s Financial Services Compliance programme, which offers various services to improve transparency and help firms meet strict financial service regulations.

Banks are increasingly moving to cloud in an effort to cut costs and lay the foundations to support the latest technologies. At the same time, financial services firms are eager to replace legacy IT systems that have become expensive to run, and the cloud is helping banks achieve this.

Read more about banks and cloud computing

But for large and complex banks, regulatory fears – around security in particular – have often held companies back from making the jump to the cloud.

Younger, smaller banks have been quicker to take advantage of cloud technology. For example, the UK’s Metro Bank, which was the first new bank in more than 100 years when it was launched in 2010, has put its IT infrastructure into a managed Rackspace cloud. This has cut the time it takes to complete its end-of-day processes by half.

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