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IBM Cloud for Financial Services goes on general release

IBM Cloud’s push to provide sector-specific public cloud services to financial services firms enters a new phase

IBM’s sector-specific, highly regulated public cloud environment for financial services companies has now entered general availability.

The IBM Cloud for Financial Services is a cloud development environment that has been specifically designed to cater to the technology and regulatory needs of financial services companies, with the support of user collaborators including the Bank of America.

Other contributors to the project include Luminor Bank, MUFG, Tata Consultancy Services, Ernst & Young (EY), and its newest recruit SAP, who will make its suite of business applications available to users of the platform.

“The IBM Cloud for Financial Services is designed to help reduce the risk for financial institutions, their partners and fintechs, and innovate quickly with built-in controls that are adhered to by the entire ecosystem,” the company said in a statement.

IBM Cloud for Financial Services users are encouraged to use the platform to host their VMware-based virtual machine workloads, and draw on Red Hat Openshift to create new, cloud-native applications too.

“Together with some of the world’s largest banks and leaders in regulatory compliance we are driving a change in cloud adoption for highly regulated industries, aiming to improve the security and compliance posture for the industry,” said Howard Boville, head of the IBM Hybrid Cloud Platform.

“With a focus on data security delivered with IBM’s confidential computing and sophisticated encryption capabilities, we aim to reduce risk in the supply chain for banks, insurers and other financial services industry players, and at the same time accelerating the time by which they can drive and consume innovation,” he said.

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IBM named banking giant BNP Paribas in July 2020 as a European anchor client for the initiative, which has attracted support from more than 90 independent software vendors (ISVs) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers and financial services institutions since its launch in 2019.

To coincide with the news of IBM Cloud for Financial Services entering general availability, BNP Paribas provided an update on how it is drawing on the platform to accelerate its move to the public cloud.

BNP Paribas is a long-standing IBM client, and is working with the company to migrate workloads and its technology ecosystem partners to a version of the IBM Cloud for Financial Services hosted within its own dedicated multi-zone datacentre region in Paris.

To-date, this work has seen BNP Paribas migrate more than 40 line of business applications, IBM confirmed, while its technology partners are leaning on cloud platform to develop and deploy new cloud-hosting banking services.

Bernard Gavgani, global CIO of BNP Paribas, said the over-arching aim of the company’s technology tie-up is to help the company create its own dedicated, highly-regulated cloud environment.

“IBM has been our long-time partner in large part for their knowledge of cloud technology, security, including data encryption, and deep industry expertise associated with banking regulations,” he said.

“We’re collaborating with IBM to establish a BNP Paribas-dedicated cloud that is compatible with all the constraints that are imposed by regulators through the world.”

Next Steps

IBM boosts vertical cloud push with financial services cloud

SAP forms financial services partnership with Dediq

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