Connect with us

Technology

Holistic cloud migration for a competitive edge

Published

on

by Rajesh Awasthi, Vice President and Global Head, Managed Hosting and Cloud Services, Tata Communications

 

One of the key strategic agendas for financial institutions to focus in 2022 should be to complete the migration of all their operations to the cloud.  This will pave the way for a company connected to the payments ecosystem to enable new ways to exceed customer demands and deliver enhanced services of the future. Moreover, transitioning to the cloud will improve performance, bolster security, and help ensure compliance with a changing regulatory landscape. In short, the cloud will be fundamental to digitally transforming a company.

Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) companies have witnessed the payment environment going digital, with the industry moving increasingly to mobile, remote, and other digital offerings. And customers are not only open to the digital transformation, they are driving it as well. A J.D. Powers 2021 survey found that 41 percent of retail banking customers have now made the move to go all digital, up from just 30 percent before the pandemic.

 

Driving the momentum

For financial institutions to keep those digital customers engaged and maintain a competitive edge, they need to deliver advanced services, from instant mobile payments to online virtual assistants and chatbots that offer financial advice and recommendations and even handle customer relationship management. This can be achieved by leveraging cloud services to enable innovation using advanced technology such as blockchain systems, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to improve customer service and better understand consumer behavior. Cloud platform can help keep up with current fintech developments by streamlining the payments process, improve credit decision making, and enhance fraud detection.

A step further, cloud deployment can also improve interoperability. For example, they offer banks the ability to access data and transfer information from a variety of IT systems and head offices to third party vendors. Cloud services also help as more institutions adopt ISO 20022, which is the emerging global standard for sending payment instructions between local, regional, and international financial organisations. With better security and compatibility, and with the development of advanced real-time payment infrastructures across the globe, it supports the instantaneous delivery of accurate and complete payments data. Such interconnected services also mean improved analytics so managers can make smarter decisions going forward.

 

Agility and performance

The interconnectedness of a cloud platform also improves an institution’s agility by making it easier to develop programs that can communicate with each other and coordinate transactions across multiple payment applications. A cloud infrastructure allows financial institutions to rapidly develop new online services securely by allowing for testing and usability before releasing it to customers. It not only allows for increased personalisation for customers but also allows collaboration with partners via a cloud-based open banking infrastructure to seamlessly integrate more services and in turn boost competitiveness.

Performance is a critical component of such implementations since payment and financing is an around-the-clock online service. Cloud services take care of having to maintain constantly updated software and data centers to support such technological demands. They are also equipped with capabilities to deliver banking IT systems that are available 24/7 and instantly scalable, reducing the pressure on financial companies to make huge capital investments. Dedicated cloud services also offer high-bandwidth access and on-demand scalability so that customers never experience a delay even during high-traffic times.

 

Regulations and resiliency

Cloud services have also become more sophisticated and are able to meet regulatory requirements from numerous countries and agencies. Spanning from commercial institutions focused on local government banking guidelines to dealing with privacy and security regulations, compliant cloud platforms can help companies navigate through this seamlessly. They also can take responsibility for meeting IT banking, data residency, data sovereignty, and data privacy regulations, while supporting any audit needs.

Moving to the cloud is also a recommended way to improve security. Ransomware is now a daily occurrence with 61 percent of businesses reporting that they were infected last year, according to Mimecast. Protecting and maintaining cyber security defenses has become a large undertaking for many companies. Cloud services can alleviate some of the burden by keeping up to date with all the latest security patches and updates.

Moreover, unlike traditional perimeter-based security, cloud can offer protection across multiple layers, including customers, partners, remote access, storage, network connections, and web apps. For financial services it also includes embedded security compliance with payment card standards, government security regulations, accounting and computer security standards.

With digital adoption surging and payment gateways witnessing more transactions every day, a holistic move to the cloud will be imperative to drive customer engagement, offer innovative services, improve performance and tighten security.

 

Technology

How Digital Adoption Platforms can enhance digital transformation and customer experience in the insurance industry

Published

on

By

By Vara Kumar, CPTO & Co-founder, Whatfix

 

Like many industries, the insurance sector was prematurely hastened towards digitalisation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, digital adoption continues to be a key focus of many organisations to strengthen their fully or partially remote workforce with nearly 50% of IT spend being put behind the growth of core applications and infrastructure, and an additional 25% being invested into digital solutions.

But with millions of claims processed every year, needing to provide superior customer service to drive retention, complex procedures and processes to navigate and both internal rules and external regulations to follow, digital transformation plans for insurance organisations are filled with challenges.

Increasingly digitalised workforce

With the pandemic came an overhaul of how we work. Remote and hybrid working is now the norm, and across most industries, there’s been a huge expansion in both the number and type of digital applications used to communicate, collaborate and enhance productivity across an organisation.

For the insurance industry, this has meant that every employee, from underwriters to customer service agents, has had to adapt to handling their steps of the process, from setting up coverage to filing a claim, remotely, and across multiple platforms and tools.

The challenge is ensuring this more digitalised workforce fully understands how to successfully navigate each application effectively and efficiently to ensure they can deliver on their services and customer experience (CX). But putting together a skilled, high-performing IT team can be difficult – according to an enterprise study, 54% of organisations said they’re not able to accomplish their digital transformation goals because of a lack of technically-skilled employees. This is further complicated by the fact that, in an age of labour shortages, the sector is forced to get creative and find ways of managing the workload and navigating new technologies with a smaller workforce.

Changing customer expectations

On top of the challenges that the increasingly digitalised workforce is experiencing, the tech-savvy customer of today also expects more from their insurers. Indeed, the pandemic forced customers as well as organisations to become more IT-literate, and in the customer service space in particular, customer expectations are high.

Customers today want and expect to be able to make maturity or house insurance claims in an efficient and straightforward manner, across multiple platforms, from phone to email to social media, preferably in a matter of minutes.

McKinsey observes that improving the value chain from the customer’s point of view is an important step within digital-ecosystem efforts, and HubSpot found that 90% of consumers expect an immediate response to a customer support issue, with 60% defining ‘immediate’ as under ten minutes. Even pre-pandemic 44% of customers were comfortable utilising chatbots for insurance claims, and 43% were comfortable using them when buying insurance policies.

Undergoing a digital transformation on the customer side is crucial then, as insurance providers that can meet these changing customer expectations are more likely to attract and retain customer loyalty now and in the future. However, just 30% of insurers believe that they have the capabilities to fully digitalise their customer experience.

So, what can insurers do to meet the technological demands of a digitalised workforce and a multi-channel CX for tech-savvy customers?

Using DAPs to boost digital transformations and CX

In a rapidly changing market, Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) can be a huge advantage to insurers looking to manage the challenges of today and come out on top. A piece of instructional no-code software that sits as an additional layer on top of other software applications, such as Claims Management or Policy Administration Systems, to help train and guide users on how to best use the software, DAPs can massively improve the agility and effectiveness of business processes across an organisation.

On the employee side, for example, DAPs can help insurers to manage challenges of a frequently changing workforce by making it easier for employees to get to grips with new digital applications. With the likes of  guided walk-throughs and task lists, which help employees through each step they need to know and just-in-time nudges to reduce policy administration, claim, or underwriting processing times, employees are more efficient and technology adoption is streamlined and accelerated. Easy to integrate into existing systems, DAPs can be used to not only train and onboard new employees but also upskill veteran workers, training the workforce as a whole on the latest technologies being used across the industry. As a result, everyone from underwriters, claims, and service representatives will better understand insurance tools that will enable them to be more productive and better deliver customer experiences leading to better business outcomes. Indeed, from the customer perspective, DAPs can enable companies in the insurance industry to keep CX positive and smooth. Firstly, by training on near real-life scenarios and secondly, by being able to more easily navigate applications, processes and systems internally, customer service representatives will be able to spend more time and focus on the customer and on resolving their queries, without being hindered by technological hurdles. For example, errors made in policy or claims processing can be reduced if employees can use self-help elements of DAPs to mitigate issues and solve queries themselves, in real-time. As a result, customers will be happier with their service, and more likely to stay loyal to that brand.

Customer-facing platforms can also be improved using DAPs. Typically, legacy apps whether on our phones or online, can make it difficult for users to complete their tasks, leaving them frustrated. With DAP user-specific content and just-in-time support, such as pop-ups, automated walk-throughs and user guides for every part of the user journey, customers can experience a smoother journey and have their queries and issues resolved more efficiently..

Drive efficiency and customer satisfaction

DAPs are already growing in popularity, with Gartner predicting that by 2025, “70% of organizations will use digital adoption solutions across the entire technology stack to overcome still insufficient application user experiences.”

So, now is the time for insurance providers to leverage this technology to facilitate their digital transformation plans. By ensuring their increasingly dispersed and digitalised workforce can use the latest applications to their full potential, and that their customer journey is as efficient and easy-to-use across the multiple channels customers expect, insurers will see huge benefits, from increased efficiencies to improved customer satisfaction.

Continue Reading

Technology

Are cyber insurance and incident response budgets the same thing?

Published

on

By

Dominic Trott, head of strategy – UK, Orange Cyberdefense

 

Cyberattacks on businesses increased by 13% in 2021 compared to the previous year. Yet while it’s not necessarily the case that the number of bad actors is increasing, it is the scale on which they’re operating that has broadened exponentially.

In addition, the manner in which cyberattacks are being carried out has also evolved. While some cybercriminals hack for fun, the vast majority of malicious activity is, unsurprisingly, conducted for financial gain and targets organisations on the basis of two simple principles: first, where there is the most value to be targeted; and second, where the attacks are most likely to be successful.

It’s also likely that the full extent of the cybercrime landscape is hidden. Accurate data on the impact of cyberattacks is often hard to come by because, in many cases, the breached organisations are unaware of the full extent of the attack – or even that one took place. They might genuinely not know this information if they don’t have accurate oversight of their digital estate, or keep quiet for fear of incurring legal liabilities or causing reputational damage.

The current security landscape has created the perfect storm for cybercriminals, as cyber insurers and Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT) often end up fighting over the same budget. Traditionally, it has been relatively easy for firms to obtain cyber insurance coverage at low premiums. However, the heightened cyber risks and exponential growth of ransomware attacks in recent years has led to premiums rising.

The question that businesses often ask, therefore, is ‘why do I need an incident response retainer when I already have cyber insurance? Surely, it’s a waste of money? If the worst does happen, the insurance company will pick up the bill for any damage done after the event’. I would argue that is a short sighted and potentially dangerous approach. Let’s look at the different roles of incident response and cyber insurance.

  1. Cyber Insurance: like other types of insurance, this aims to give businesses a way to ensure that if the worst happens, they can recover some of the costs. Cyber Insurance will likely cover you for some of the tangible costs associated with a breach, but it probably won’t cover all of them. By acting quickly and limiting the scale of the breach, you may be able to reduce the full impact. In addition, some insurance companies will expect you to have demonstrated a level of preparedness before accepting your claim – a bit like having a burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks on your house before a house insurance claim is accepted.
  2. Incident Response Retainer: aims to provide rapid, on-demand expertise in an emergency if the customer calls them immediately after an incident. The key to mitigating the impact of any cybersecurity incident is the reaction time between detection and response. Many companies lack the infrastructure needed to react in a quick and secure manner. Having an incident response team available 24/7 to identify, contain and eradicate threats and to get businesses back up and running as soon as possible may be crucial to their ability to continue successfully trading.

 

Cyber resilience

But isn’t incident response included in the insurance policy? In many cases, it will be. And perhaps this is where the confusion comes. Cyber insurers will often pay out, but only as long as the incident is covered by an incident response retainer. Their objective is of course to help cover the financial losses that result from cyber events and incidents and in numerous policies, the presence of a retainer agreement with an external incident response provider can help prevent severe losses. This will often bring down the premium of the insurance policy. Having a retainer also means you get to choose the CSIRT team that you are going to be working with in advance. You can assess their credentials, their experience, talk to their other customers – all before an incident occurs.

The key thing here is building cyber resilience. Of course, there is no such thing as complete security. For starters, incident response alone is insufficient to deliver cyber resilience from either a technical or procedural perspective. Good practice advocates that solutions should be in place across the full threat lifecycle. For example, the NIST framework recommends that organisations identify their threats and vulnerabilities; protect against them with security tools and operations; detect threats as they address the enterprise; respond to contain and remediate an incident as it occurs; and recover to take lessons learned from incidents and improve ‘business as usual’ appropriately.

But, leaving an end-to-end approach to threat lifecycle management to one side, having both cyber insurance and an incident response retainer working seamlessly together will at least provide organisations with a fighting chance of continuing their core business functions if and when disaster strikes.

 

Making cybersecurity a joint enterprise

There are worrying trends emerging in the cybersecurity market. While attacks are becoming more sophisticated and ransoms are rising, there are concerns that there might not be enough money in the still-emerging sector to cover everyone’s needs. So, what can companies do? They should still invest in insurance coverage, but they also need to look for other ways to cover their potential exposure, including CSIRT rapid response teams.

It cannot remain a budgetary decision for a CTO and a CFO to fight over whether to firefight OR recoup what has been lost in cyber-attacks. Both are important. An incident response team is the first port-of-call to help respond to any cyber accident or incident. Then and only then – once the breaches have been made safe – should you call in the moneymen.

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

Finance2 hours ago

Why You Should Work on Your Financial Literacy

Ebo Aneju   A lack of financial understanding plagues our society. Most people have very little understanding of finances, which...

Business23 hours ago

A new beginning for financial services B2B marketing

Financial services B2B marketing is dead. A bold statement with B2B ad spend set to pass $30bn next year in...

Finance1 day ago

Boosting Blockchain Security with Graph Technology

Dan McGary is Senior Sales Executive for Mid-Market Enterprise East at graph database leader Neo4j   As blockchain-backed cryptocurrencies become...

Business1 day ago

Need a business broadband package? Here’s what you need to know

Author: Kerry Fawcett, Digital Director at Radius Payment Solutions   Does your business have a broadband supply that is speedy,...

Finance1 day ago

Double and triple extortion tactics cornering financial services organisations

By Ian Wood, Senior Director and Head of Technology, UK&I at Veritas Technologies   Ransomware continues to keep those in...

Banking1 day ago

How are Variable Recurring Payments set to revolutionise the future of banking?

Sean Devaney, Vice President of Banking and Financial Markets at CGI UK   The adoption of Variable Recurring Payments (VRP)...

Top 101 day ago

Energy Storage Represents Latest Investment Opportunity in the Clean Energy Transition

Alan Greenshields, Director of Europe The ongoing transition to clean energy has spurred new technologies, new markets and new opportunities...

Business2 days ago

Innovate UK £25 million up for grabs: July deadline approaching

By Emma Lewis, Myriad Associates   The latest instalment of Innovate UK’s SMART grant competition was launched in April and...

Business2 days ago

Is telephone Hot Desking really needed anymore?

By Simon Horton, VP of International Sales at Sangoma   The world of work has totally transformed as we all...

Finance2 days ago

Mass crypto adoption: are seamless card payments the missing link?

By Justin Fraser, SVP Enterprise Sales, at Paysafe   Cryptocurrency awareness is at an all-time high and after more than...

Finance5 days ago

Hey, Gen Y and Gen Z do you think you can retire comfortably?

By Penelope Gregoriou, technical investment specialist at Alexforbes   Millions of South Africans rely on the money saved in their...

Uncategorized5 days ago

GDPR: data security four years on

Bruce Penson, the managing director of cyber security and IT support company Pro Drive IT, outlines how GDPR has changed...

Banking5 days ago

The importance of Customer Experience (CX) for retail banks today

By James Isaacs, President, Cyara   Today’s retail banks face considerable challenges. Open banking initiatives –  that make it easier...

Finance5 days ago

Getting ready for VAT digitisation: automation is key

Christiaan Van Der Valk, Vice President for Strategy and Regulatory at Sovos, says technology will power real strategic success for...

Banking5 days ago

Challenging the challenger: Why the digital transformation of traditional banking is key for competing with challenger banks

By Sam Schofield, Senior Vice President: Global Enterprise at Udacity   Monzo and Revolut are only seven years old. Starling,...

Wealth Management5 days ago

Green with Envy – an Environmentally Conscious Data Center

Mark Fenton, Product Manager, Future Facilities   Environmental considerations are at the top of every business leader’s agenda and an...

Technology5 days ago

How Digital Adoption Platforms can enhance digital transformation and customer experience in the insurance industry

By Vara Kumar, CPTO & Co-founder, Whatfix   Like many industries, the insurance sector was prematurely hastened towards digitalisation due...

Business6 days ago

Why do Traders Need a Managed Service Partner?

Jeff Mezger, Vice President of Product Management, Financial Markets, TNS   Does your financial institution have the understanding, resources, talent...

Business6 days ago

The FCA will take immediate action on customer vulnerability; here’s how firms can prepare.

Author: Jonathan Barrett, CEO and Co-Founder at Comentis   Identifying and supporting vulnerable clients has become a priority for financial...

The Green Revolution In Investing - Sustainable Investing The Green Revolution In Investing - Sustainable Investing
Business6 days ago

How fintech is key to empowering climate action

Attributed to: Rory Spurway, CEO & Founder of CarbonPay   As human activity continues to have a significant impact on...

Trending