The birth of FinTech has significantly disrupted the financial world. The pressing need for agility and technological development to meet consumer demands and keep up with the speed of the industry has driven planned spending increases in technology for many financial institutions.
While innovation has become a necessity for survival, technology also poses new challenges for financial institutions. Banks, for example, can no longer afford to work during “business hours” only. Like online shopping, banking has become a 24/7 service, with consumers expecting to have access to their financial data and associated services readily available from anywhere at any time. Though financial institutions face another predicament: meeting compliance, ensuring security and minimizing risk at the highest level.
A recent eBook by DBmaestro explores how financial institutions can meet their innovation needs by adopting DevOps—more specifically, DevOps for the database—without compromising security.
When you think finance, you think slow. It is certainly not a word that one associates with speed and agility. This perceived sluggishness is rooted in reality, as change comes slowly and new technologies aren’t adopted quickly in the financial world. It is catching up, however, with a recent report revealing that 74% of financial services organizations have implemented or are exploring the possibilities of implementing a DevOps culture.
A survey conducted last year among IT professionals in the finance sector shows that they are indeed behind when it comes to adopting DevOps practices.
Adopting accelerated DevOps practices—namely more frequent updates, faster rollouts and ongoing development—can seem dangerous and irresponsible in finance, where people’s money and personal information are at stake.
However, this challenge is mainly in perception, not in execution. Innovation and speed are often associated with recklessness, and the concept of shortening lead-time and drastically increasing the number of version releases can be perceived as dangerous. In finance, the data is both vast and highly sensitive; with multiple databases, decades-old legacy systems and a mixture of new and old tech. In finance, speed is not associated with security.
In reality, however, the opposite approach of pushing infrequent, heavy releases is riddled with risk. Heavy, infrequent releases are riddled with risk; just take a look what happened at TSB. The very elements that make DevOps look risky in finance can lead to the industry’s ultimate downfall.
The database, the daunting behemoth that stands at the core of backend IT, is often the last place new software or tools are implemented. Positioning the database as its own entity that operates almost independently from the rest of the organization’s activity, forces a siloed structure that doesn’t afford the database the same benefits that other systems enjoy. As organizations integrate processes and technology aimed at speeding up delivery, shortening lead-time and enabling faster updates, they often diminish the major role the database plays in enabling all of the above.
A recent survey shows that when compared to other industries, the finance sector is more likely to give DBAs sole reign over the database, and less likely to integrate the DBAs with DevOps teams.
The acute segregation of database development from the rest of the organization is not only worrisome, but may indicate a misalignment of database activity with organizational goals.
Adopting DevOps practices, especially in a sensitive space like the database, can be exceedingly complex for the financial sector.
While CI/CD, for example, can speed development and help to reduce costly downtime, regulatory compliance remains a sticking point. With the fast-paced wave of regulation, technology should be serving as a tool that helps to achieve compliance and combat regulatory constraints, rather than a roadblock to meeting compliance.
The right automation tools can take a lot of the guesswork out of creating compliant processes, while minimizing the human error factor. Financial institutions can successfully navigate these challenges, balancing the need for innovation, fast-paced development, with risk management with regulatory compliance, by implementing DevOps solutions in the database.