Other parts of this series:
Dreaming big won’t help any organization achieve its goals without action. For insurers wary of cloud technology, or those hoping to stay the course, it’s time to reconsider what you are missing.
Most insurers dream of becoming leading digital businesses, and that requires moving to cloud technologies. But the same security concerns that made some consumers wary of direct deposit of their paychecks continues to delay embrace of cloud technologies. The cloud has been helping large and small companies in every industry and it has an important place for insurance companies in moving to the right side of the digital divide.
As a group, the cloud services industry, like the financial services industry, recognizes the imperative of security. Data from a financial services company–or any user–can be made even more secure with help from third-party cloud encryption services that can add additional layers of data encryption for applications that cloud service providers do not control.
Resiliency is also important. Cloud has the potential to meet unexpected problems by dynamically reallocating resources for filtering, traffic shaping, encryption and other processes when a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack seems likely or actually begins.
Since cloud is the entry point to so much of the functionality essential to competing in a digital world, how does an insurer knock down the remaining barrier to cloud usage—the actual implementation? Ideally, the same way it makes any change:
- A clearly defined strategy
- A road map
- A migration plan
Insurers will face integration challenges including:
- Moving different vendor application programming interfaces (APIs) into the core enterprise,
- Integrating proprietary platform as a service (PaaS) technologies
- Integrating the ever-present legacy applications designed long before the cloud environment.
They also will need to engage in the rigorous process of planning, analyzing, designing, building, testing and deploying to the cloud. Over time, the rewards are great; cloud could transform the organization’s work streams, making them more agile, efficient and innovative.
Unfortunately, not every organization follows a strategic plan. In fact, a study last year by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security found that 50 percent of financial services firms using or planning to use the cloud don’t have an explicit cloud strategy, and often make decisions on cloud use on a “shadow IT” model, which essentially undermines application integration.
Moving to the cloud is complicated, and insurers serious about the implementation usually rely on the expertise of outside organizations to help them smoothly overcome obstacles.