James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

IBM has announced the general availability of its finance industry cloud, bolstered with the support Red Hat OpenShift alongside other cloud-native services.

The company’s IBM Cloud for Financial Services, which was designed in collaboration with Bank of America and debuted in 2019, allows clients and partners to build applications with OpenShift, migrate virtual machine workloads, as well as establish compliance profiles across their workloads to help support continuous compliance needs.

Current customers and partners, alongside Bank of America, include BNP Paribas, Luminor Bank, based in the Baltic states, and MUFG in Japan. The initiative also boasts more than 90 ISVs and software as a service providers. New to the latter list is SAP.

The compliance aspect is naturally an important one when it comes to financial data. IBM Cloud for Financial Services boasts IBM’s fourth-generation confidential computing capabilities, along with claimed enterprise-grade encryption.

As regular readers of this publication will have seen, industries such as finance and healthcare, with high levels of regulation and specific data requirements, have seen comparatively slow uptake of cloud offerings. The largest cloud providers, however, have hoped to allay certain fears with the launch of industry-specific clouds. Microsoft launched a healthcare cloud in May, with others to come. This has come to pass, with the most recent tranche, in February, featuring finance, alongside manufacturing and non-profit.

IBM is keen to point out, however, that it was here first for this particular industry. Alongside the work with Bank of America, the company has worked with Promontory, a global provider of financial services regulatory compliance consulting. The result is a set of compliance controls which are built directly into the IBM Cloud for Financial Services offering.

“These controls are critical to help financial services companies operate securely while managing bank-sensitive data in the public cloud,” Harish Grama, general manager of IBM Cloud, told CloudTech.

Grama added that finance in particular was ‘an industry that has long been challenged by cloud platforms that lacked the necessary technologies to address its specific compliance and regulatory environments.’

Telecom is another vital industry for the biggest cloud providers. IBM launched IBM Cloud for Telecommunications in November, two months after Microsoft unveiled Azure for Operators. Grama noted that IBM ‘understands the needs of highly regulated industries’, specifically citing finance, telco, healthcare and government, ‘and is committed to helping companies securely migrate their mission-critical workloads to the cloud.’

“As companies embark on their cloud journeys, we will continue to look for opportunities to leverage our expansive industry and global experience across our cloud business,” added Grama.

Want to find out more about topics like this from industry thought leaders? The Cloud Transformation Congress, taking place on 13 July 2021, is a virtual event and conference focusing on how to enable digital transformation with the power of cloud.

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