COVID-19 and financial services
I don’t need to say it. 2020 has been incredibly difficult for every sector. Arguably none more so than the financial sector. As stocks plummeted & interest rates hit an all-time low, we still don’t know the full impact of the pandemic on the economy. With unemployment rising and businesses going struggling, loan and mortgage payments are on a knife edge. In April, Alistair Darling (Chancellor of the Exchequer during the 2008 financial meltdown) warned the economic impact of COVID-19 is “far worse than the 2008 banking crisis”.
Which is understandable and potentially true, but recessions are as common and consistent as night and day. Before the COVID-19 crisis, there have been 7 recessions in the UK since WW2. They happen roughly every 10 years typically, just as the economy looks positive and therefore optimism is at an all-time high. Then, out of nowhere, an economic impact hits the country. COVID-19 is just the latest cause in a long list of recessions. Yet history also shows that the economy always bounces back stronger than before.
Your business can bounce back from this, but it will rely heavily on your digital transformation, cloud enablement roadmaps, and your choice of IT partners. It’s this latter point which has a direct impact on your business operations, so you must look to minimise risk when selecting your strategic partners moving forward.
What are the risks?
With the government rules constantly changing, do your technology partners have complete control over their processes?
Some businesses heavily rely on subcontractors, causing an ever-growing supply chain. This has caused huge problems for businesses over the past 6-9 months. When the UK entered a national lockdown, some businesses closed, and others operated on skeleton staff. This caused new hurdles to resolve business critical issues, as the IT partner was not in complete control of their processes.
Lockdown caused confusion, from an engineer attending a site or a third-party data centre, to the search for parts that weren’t stored in the UK. Some third-party data centres prevented non-essential visits.
Your business needs to have full visibility of every element from the engineers to the data centres, with clear and controlled processes. Your business cannot afford to find out about supply chain risk after an issue has been raised.
Blue Chip fully own their data centres, the land they’re situated on and directly employs the engineers within them, guaranteeing complete control.
The ‘new normal’ has meant that your customers rely more than ever on your digital capabilities, from 24/7 internet banking access to your ability to prevent new fraudulent activity related to COVID-19.
How can your business meet these ever-changing needs with infrastructure that has limits and takes time to manage?
Your business’s agility will be the difference between success and failure. If you cannot meet your customers’ demands, they will find a competitor that can.
Financial service companies are regulated to the Nth degree. The regulators expect you to focus on and ensure continuity of your core operations, including support for your customers.
How can you ensure you support your customers if you rely on multiple providers that all have different accreditations?
It is your responsibly to minimise this risk, and you can do this by selecting a technology partner that exceeds the necessary accreditations and have the necessary experience to keep your information safe.
COVID-19 has been disruptive but hasn’t changed the fact our planet is changing. Data centres cause nearly as much carbon emissions as the travel industry and I would expect within the next 5 years, that the government to bring in stricter regulations around business carbon footprint and how they offset it.
Therefore, any digital roadmap must consider this. Blue Chip offset our carbon by planting over 700,000 trees, whilst running our data centres at PUE 1.1 (Power Usage Effectiveness) and only using power from renewable sources. We can help make your business carbon neutral and achieve your corporate responsibility statements.
There is a real drive within the financial industry to learn from the experiences of the past few months and use COVID-19 as an opportunity to radically rethink business and operating models. New ideas, technologies and capabilities are being sought by banking and financial services so they can speed along the path to recovery.
Cloud gives businesses the ability to rapidly deploy environments to meet customer demands or test and develop these new ideas. Offering pay-as-you-use terms, businesses can flexibly increase performance and capacity when they need it, and then stabilise and save money when they don’t. Private Cloud improves risk management and allows your IT team to focus on improving IT rather than maintaining and managing it.
Why should you use Blue Chip?
Blue Chip offers private cloud environments that operate in a Tier IV by design data centre providing 99.995% uptime. These environments are specifically designed for financial, pharmaceutical and retail businesses that want superior availability. The Tier IV credential means it offers 5.41 hours less downtime than Tier III over a 5-year period.
Unplanned downtime is quite literally unplanned and highly unpredictable. Every hour counts and the cost to the business for a single hour’s downtime is tremendous. Blue Chip can guarantee more uptime than other Cloud or managed service providers, ultimately saving your business time & money (as well as stress).
Blue Chip has freehold data centres, of which we control every element – from the land the data centres are built on, to the engineers and processes within them. Blue Chip deliver the end-to-end solution, including the data centres, infrastructure, management, monitoring software and maintenance services without any subcontracting. This ensures that we are always in total control of our service, with no supply chain risk.
Blue Chip has the experience to match, with 10% of the UK banks and over £150 billion funds under management hosted within our data centres. Financial services, banking and retail businesses typically choose Blue Chip because we have a proven track record in providing secure and compliant services, including PCI-DSS Level 1 Cloud and Managed Services to the financial and insurance market. We also support our clients with changes to regulatory standards such as ECB (European Central Bank), FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and PRA (Prudential Regulation Authority).
We have the relevant ISO standards to complement financial service compliance requirements such as ISO 9001, 27001, 14001, 22301, together with SOC2. We hold a gold standard in IT security controls, being a participating member of the PCI Security Standards Council. At Blue Chip, we take security very seriously. Blue Chip deliver a secure, flexible, controlled and sustainable cloud service that reduces risk and enables our customers to focus on their business, not technology.