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Financial Services Specific Cloud Offerings Continue to Increase

More service providers are offering cloud solutions tailored for financial firms, as costs drop and regulatory concerns are addressed.

As the economics of moving to the cloud continue to improve and technology costs drop, more financial organizations are looking to capitalize on cloud technology's flexibility and ease of use.

This is especially true in financial services, where compliance and regulatory concerns hindered cloud adoption. In addition, a tough financial services market has depressed revenues, leaving firms searching for better ways to deploy technology at lower costs.

Many technology providers, including Nasdaq with its FinQloud offering, Bloomberg Vault, NYSE Technologies' Cloud Community Platform and now Richard Fleischman & Associates (RFA), are now offering cloud solutions tailored to financial services organizations.

[For a look at Nasdaq's cloud offering, read: Nasdaq OMX and Amazon Web Services Launch Financial Services Cloud Offering].

Some technology providers that have been providing hosted services to the financial services industry for years are seeing an uptick in cloud interest as of late. "We have had our own data center for over 10 years," says Yohan Kim, COO of RFA, a technology advisor for the financial services industry. "We own and operate our own data center and we are one of the only [technology services] companies in [the financial services] space that does that. Over the past 7 years, we have been running hosted services, which is now called cloud."

RFA recently announced the merging of its existingInfrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings into the RFA Hosted Cloud, a suite of remotely-hosted technology solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of financial services clients. RFA Hosted Cloud is a hybrid of IaaS and SaaS technology that combines several of RFA's hosted services into an integrated product offering.

RFA Hosted Cloud provides a a number of services, including file hosting, email and business software offerings with built-in backup and disaster recovery. Each service can be scaled to the need of each client, according to RFA. As a Hosted Cloud client's technology needs evolve, the firm will have access to on-demand systems that are always up-to-date and compliant with the latest regulatory requirements.

RFA's Hosted Cloud is targeted toward hedge funds, fund of funds and alternative asset managers, says Kim, however many other larger organizations could utilize the service. Currently, RFA has over 250 hosted clients, according to Kim. By using a cloud based service, "a small company could eleminate the capex, and they could just run on a cloud infrastructure," Kim maintains. "The only thing they would need would be a network and telecomm." RFA's Hosted cloud can provide all of the other necessary services, Kim says.

The affordability of hosted cloud offerings is one reason why RFA and other cloud providers are seeing increased interest from financial firms. "The big thing is the pricing for the technology and the pricing for telecom has really gone down," Kim says. "It is economical for companies to use cloud now. That is one reason why it is becoming such a big topic at this point in time." The offerings is priced per server based on the amount of memory, processing power and applications required, according to Kim.

RFA's Hosted Cloud relies on the company's experience in fully-managed infrastructure. RFA Hosted Cloud gives users the flexibility to adopt the entire package or simply select the elements that they require. The solution is the only cloud-based, IaaS/SaaS offering for the financial services industry that leverages a privately owned and operated data center, according to RFA. Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio

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