The need for a multi-cloud approach to payments and legislation 

Thought Leadership· 7min May 9, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of banking technology intertwined with stringent regulatory frameworks, financial institutions, find themselves at a crossroads. The imperative to adopt a multi-cloud approach to managing payments and compliance is no longer just a strategic advantage but a necessary evolution. So why is a multi-cloud strategy becoming essential for banks, and how is this being driven by both technological advancements and regulatory demands? 

The move to multi-cloud 

The drive towards multi-cloud adoption is primarily fuelled by the demand for real-time, always-on transaction capabilities that modern financial markets require. Banks are under increasing pressure to maintain not just operational efficiency but also resilience and regulatory compliance. This dual requirement has led to a significant shift in how banks approach their IT infrastructure. 

The evolution of regulatory intent and the capabilities offered by modern technology are influencing banks worldwide. Regulatory bodies are increasingly mandating that financial institutions ensure higher levels of operational resilience, which in turn pushes banks to reconsider their technological foundations. Cloud-native technologies, known for enabling auto-scaling and cross-site resilience, appear to be the answer to many of these challenges. However, these technologies also bring about new questions—what happens if a cloud provider fails or exits the market? 

Overcoming dependence on single cloud providers 

The dependence on a single cloud service provider poses significant risks, including potential outages, market exit, or changes in the services offered. Such scenarios can jeopardize a bank’s operational resilience and the integrity of its transactions.  

Cloud providers typically operate sets of data centers (called Availability Zones or AZs), spread across one region. If there were a failure affecting all the AZs in that region, payment services that are operated in that particular region would become unavailable. In such a scenario the financial institutions and payment service providers would fail over to an alternate solution – like another cloud region or physical data centers for the duration of the outage. Such fail overs can take hours to achieve – causing major disruption to the availability of payment services. 

To mitigate these risks, a multicloud strategy is not just beneficial but necessary. By distributing their technology stack across multiple cloud service providers, banks can ensure that the failure of one provider does not disrupt their entire operation. This multi-cloud model offers a seamless, real-time platform that maintains functionality regardless of individual cloud service disruptions, ensuring continuous service and compliance with regulatory standards. 

Integration of back office operations into cloud technologies 

Historically, banks relied heavily on physical data centres with possible failover centres as backup. However, the scalability and resilience offered by cloud-native technology far surpass these traditional setups. The shift from traditional data centres to cloud solutions is not merely a trend but a significant upgrade in how banks manage data and services. This architecture is inherently more robust, scalable, and capable of handling the demands of modern banking. 

However, this reliance on cloud technology also necessitates a strategic approach to managing provider-dependent risks. Especially for large, systemically important financial institutions, regulators are increasingly focused on how these banks plan to manage potential cloud provider failures. Banks must now not only prove their resilience in using cloud technologies but also demonstrate their strategies for mitigating risks associated with their cloud dependencies. 

Managing real-time payments and fraud prevention 

The shift to real-time payments has transformed the financial landscape, offering speed and convenience but also introducing significant fraud risks. The real-time nature of these transactions means that traditional fraud monitoring systems, which rely on delayed verification, are often inadequate. To address this, financial institutions are increasingly turning to sophisticated fraud detection technologies that operate in real time. 

Fraud in real-time payments, particularly Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, poses unique challenges. In these cases, even when security measures verify a user’s identity, fraudsters can still manipulate users into authorising payments to illegitimate parties. To combat this, banks are employing technologies that can analyse the behaviour of transactions as they happen, identifying and stopping fraudulent transactions before they are completed. This proactive approach gives banks a crucial window to assess and react to potential fraud, protecting both their customers and their operational integrity. 

The need for controlled friction in payment processes 

While the banking industry strives for frictionless payments to enhance customer experience, the reality of fraud necessitates a balanced approach. Integrating sufficient controls within the transaction process—enough to prevent fraud but not so much as to degrade the user experience—is a significant technical challenge. Cloud-native technologies are particularly well-suited to this task, offering the flexibility to implement complex decision-making processes within very short timeframes. 

This technical capability to introduce "controlled friction" is crucial. It allows legitimate transactions to proceed with minimal delay while providing mechanisms to quickly flag and review transactions that may require further scrutiny. This balance is vital in maintaining trust and security in the fast-paced world of real-time financial transactions. 

As banks continue to navigate the complex landscape of digital transformation, adopting a multi-cloud approach becomes increasingly crucial. This strategy not only enhances operational resilience but also ensures that banks can meet stringent regulatory requirements and manage risks associated with single-provider dependencies. Those that are quick to adopt and integrate this approach will not only safeguard their operations against current challenges but also position themselves favourably for future technological advancements and regulatory changes.  

A modern approach to multi-cloud with Form3 

Form3 is revolutionizing the way banks handle payments, leveraging our cutting-edge multi-cloud approach to address the challenges faced by modern financial institutions. As banks grapple with the demands of operational resilience and regulatory compliance, Form3 offers a robust solution that ensures continuous service availability while mitigating risks associated with reliance on a single cloud provider. 

The gold standard multi-cloud approach, pioneered by Form3, uses cloud-agnostic technology to plug a bank’s payment platform into three cloud providers. If one cloud provider suffers an outage, payments can still flow uninterrupted. The payments data is fully synchronized across the three clouds, meaning customers can always access accurate information about their payments across cloud endpoints. 

Our platform benefits

Resiliency Built-In:

Our multi-cloud architecture eliminates concentration risks and enhances operational continuity. 

Transparent Pricing:

Gain clarity on transaction costs with no hidden fees, allowing for better financial planning and control. 

Instant Payment Capabilities:

Access the instant payment schemes necessary for modern banking, ensuring your business remains competitive and responsive. 

Fully Managed Service:

From technical integrations to regulatory compliance, Form3 handles it all, freeing you to concentrate on your core business. 

Dynamic Scaling:

Our platform scales dynamically with your growth, supporting increasing payment volumes without compromising on performance or security. 

Continuous Innovation:

Deploy new products quickly and seamlessly, keeping your offerings at the cutting edge and improving the customer experience. 

Learn how our multi-cloud strategy can empower your bank to excel in a competitive and ever-changing market.