To the majority of the companies that have invested in their IT systems, the last two years of the pandemic have proved that their efforts have absolutely justified. The need to smoothly rearrange work processes and start working remotely in a very short time is a huge challenge, and one of the solutions that has served the most during this period is moving to the cloud resources. Forbis, a provider of banking IT solutions, allocated its systems in the cloud eight years ago, and now firmly states that the solution has lived up to all the expectations and allowed the Forbis group of companies and their customers to stay afloat and expand in the face of the lockdown.
The cloud did not gain trust immediately
According to Alexander Serebriakov, Director of the Company’s Systems Administration Department, the decision to move to the cloud almost a decade ago was a cause for concern at the time: “When the management of the Forbis group of companies decided to use the cloud, most saw technical challenges in that, feared the risks of losing control, and few thought that the business would not just be able to optimize the costs, but would also lay a solid foundation for business continuity. I must admit that there was a lot of deliberation on our part as IT experts, namely the main question was – are we doing the right thing by giving up our infrastructure and involving another player in our operations? We also had a long discussion about which provider to choose.”
The company built its main data processing infrastructure in the data centers of the Lithuanian company Baltneta, and allocated the backup systems in the Blue Bridge cloud. A. Serebriakov assumes that this decision is based on the fact that customers not only wish to get the guaranteed quality from service providers, but also want to have an opportunity to act as close partners: “We had a premonition that for the large international players in the market we would seem too small and not quite ready for “unification” keeping in mind the service catalogue offered by such players. That is why we had chosen local reliable and flexible cloud partners. And, for these eight years, we have not been disappointed with the quality of the services provided, and we have established not only business but also collegial personal relationships with our suppliers. This partnership not only helps to quickly create new IT solutions, but also enables us to promptly address the concerns of our customers.”
During the pandemic, the importance of the cloud increased several times
Already in the first days of the pandemic restrictions, the decision of the Forbis group of companies to move the IT infrastructure from its premises to the public cloud once again proved to be right and efficient. According to the expert, this technology has helped to very quickly shift to the remote work, to maintain provision of the services uninterrupted, and to reduce the costs.
“The first consequence of the pandemic that every business has been affected by was quarantine, which determined that the companies that had already moved their systems to cloud centers, could continue operating remotely in a safe and efficient way. Data center servers were able to easily ensure sufficient resources even with a drastic increase in load. For us, the cloud architecture had become one of the most important factors allowing us to quickly adapt to the new nature of work and helping customers do the same. Later, with the emergence of licensing obligations, we also started using private cloud technology, ensuring a particularly strict separation of the data and the resources. We jokingly said then that we had applied the principles of resource isolation not only to protect the employees but also the systems. However, seriously speaking, such a hybrid approach allows companies to target investments and optimize the total cost of ownership (TCO),” commented A. Serebriakov.
Benefits for customers in the sphere of financial technologies
“First and foremost, cloud and network perimeter security (vUTM) access allows us to work with our customers in virtual offices that interact with each other within a data center. It is a secure solution used by our entire group of companies. In this way, we ensure maximum protection of our and our customers’ data, at the same time enabling them to connect from different countries,” said the expert.
One of the companies belonging to the Forbis group – Fininbox – provides cloud-based services to FinTech customers. The services include IT systems, SEPA integration solutions, and accounting services. “FinTech companies that want to start running quickly their activities and take care of their business development, rather than of the IT systems, turn to Fininbox and get the full solution – network access to the information system and support of compliance in the sphere of payments, internet banking, and other similar areas,” said. A. Serebriakov.
According to the systems administration expert, start-up customers with limited internal IT resources benefited greatly from the cloud and remote connectivity solutions during the pandemic: “Among the first benefits Fininbox and their cloud provider gave them were servers of the secure virtual network (VPN) that had helped organize the remote work. When larger customers, such as banks, need services, Forbis is ready to help them. At developing systems, our team can quickly create a full test environment for these customers, i.e. a sandbox, and then a dedicated infrastructure solution.”
A. Serebriakov sees the cloud to have even greater potential in the future: “Cloud solutions are flexible and therefore offer many opportunities. For both FinTech startups and for market giants, they help build self-service platforms, new security solutions, manage large volumes of data, and grow exponentially with automating operational activity and without fearing to run out of technical resources.”