LAYTON, Utah—Is the “serverless” credit union on the horizon?
CUProdigy believes it is, thanks to advancements in cloud technology. The company says that in 2017 credit unions can expect to see a significant increase in the number of ways cloud technology can be leveraged.
“Because both bandwidth and the underlying connectivity technology continue to evolve, the cloud can now deliver all the benefits of on-premise servers without the headaches,” said Chief Technology Officer Xerex Bueno. “You can now expect equal performance whether the server is across the hall, across town or across the country.”
Bueno noted the cloud is already being employed in new ways, revolutionizing the way credit unions look at disaster recovery, for instance. He reminded that not long ago credit unions performed nightly backups to tapes that were stored in a vault.
“In the event of a disaster, those tapes were physically transported to a hot site. A credit union could be offline for days just waiting for those tapes to be transported and loaded onto a backup system,” he said. “And these solutions typically covered only a credit union’s core system, rendering other mission-critical systems unavailable.”
The situation for credit unions improved when tapes were replaced by online backups uploaded to remote storage servers, operated either by the credit union or a third party. He said that strategy reduced downtime to hours instead of days.
“However, third-party providers of this service often impede your use of your own data by limiting, for example, how many remote servers you can deploy or for how long you can access your data remotely,” Bueno explained. “Establishing connectivity between the provider and your facilities can also slow your time to recovery.”
Bueno pointed out that today data can be replicated from production servers live, in real time, to a secure, private cloud. Then, if a disaster happens, the credit union can failover to a cloud-based virtual backup server in a matter of minutes, he said. “Most members won’t even realize there was a service hiccup.”
Bueno cited four main reasons credit unions should consider changing out their on-premise servers in 2017 in favor of a cloud strategy:
- Pay only for what you need. “When a credit union purchases an on-premise server, that credit union needs to look ahead three to five years and buy accordingly,” Bueno said. “In the short term, that’s money wasted. The cloud allows you to pay for only the computing power you need today and easily expand it tomorrow should the need arise.”
- Lower capital expenditures/fixed costs. Maintaining, upgrading and replacing on-premise servers is expensive and time consuming, Bueno said. “When a credit union moves to the cloud, that burden is eliminated and replaced with a fixed and predictable monthly cost. The cloud breaks the server-buying cycle forever.”
- Enhanced security. CU technology departments, with their limited staff, are busier than ever, making it easy to fall behind on keeping on-premise servers and their data secure, said Bueno. “In the cloud, your entire infrastructure is maintained in a state-of-the-art, continually monitored and upgraded data center.”
- Compliance. Moving to the cloud shifts some compliance burden for the physical and logical security of the CU’s systems to the cloud provider. “The NCUA holds your credit union ultimately responsible. This is why it’s important to choose a cloud provider that specializes in credit unions. You’ll have the contractual reassurance that your provider is specifically focused on credit union regulations and compliance.”
Bueno said that justifications for a credit union maintaining on-premise servers are rapidly disappearing.
“A credit union can put its core, productivity tools, storage, ancillary software, disaster recovery, employee desktops and more in the cloud,” said Bueno. “The time for the serverless credit union is now.”