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What actually is...Cloud Computing?

Release date: 08 Feb 2013 | Eurex Exchange

What actually is...Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing – cloud with guaranteed silver lining?

Experts speak of "completely new rules", the "biggest shift of paradigms in the last 20 years", and "enormous cost saving effects", when they talk about Cloud Computing. But what is really behind this term and what does it mean for the financial industry, especially for exchanges?

"Cloud Computing" means that storage space, computational power, programs and other computer-aided services are no longer being stored on your own local computer, but are available as an internet service. The term "Cloud" is derived from technical schematics of this service, in which each single service is drawn as a circle and together they form the symbol of a cloud.
Centrally available, highly standardized and virtualized computing and storage resources as well as the latest web technologies are the base of Cloud Computing. All services are scalable "on demand" and are charged according to the actual usage. There are different service and operating models. Operators are able to offer favorable conditions, by using economies of scale and rent then out their IT services and systems multiple times. For the users this means: no capital commitment or investment, because they decide how much capacity they want to use. Additionally, the capacity can be adjusted at any time to their actual needs.

The financial industry will profit the most from Cloud Computing
At least according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) "2011 Cloud Dividend Report". It forecasts advantages of up to 58.5 billion euro until 2015, if – and this is a big "IF" - the "market adaptation of Cloud Computing continues as expected".
The analysts see banks and financial services as the fastest adapters to Cloud Computing. In the next five years, they estimate that 60 to 80 per cent of the companies in this sector will implement Cloud Computing. This is due to financial savings and the support of secure data exchange between European banks provided by the new technology. Most of all it is expected, that time-to-market for new products from banks, financial service providers and insurances will be much shorter with Cloud Computing.

What special requirements have to be considered while using the new technology in the financial sector?
Of special importance will be the question of the access rights to the data stored in clouds. Furthermore, safety aspects can not only be limited to the question if data can be safely and securely stored in the clouds but also to the possibilities of limiting the access to sensible data to authorized persons only. Additional efforts will be needed to manage Clouds effectively. Preventing methods against possible data leaks through mobile devices, e.g. Smart phones, also need to be found. To combat this, it is recommended that companies should integrate these devices into their own IT infrastructure.

These few points indicate already, that there are many specific safety aspects that need to be taken care of by the financial industry – considering the importance of this sector for the general economy.

Due to these uncertainties Deutsche Boerse Group has decided that an active usage of the cloud is out of the question for the time being. Therefore our gateways will block every respective access from the Intranet, e.g. Dropbox and Amazon S3 or Google Drive.