IBM beefs up financial services cloud ecosystem with new vendors and banks

It takes a village to build up a successful technology ecosystem. IBM announced on Wednesday that several global banks and more than 30 vendors have joined its IBM Cloud for Financial Services effort.

The global banks that joined included BNP Paribas, which is one of Europe's largest banks with 33 million global customers, and independent software vendors (ISVs) such as Adobe and VMware.

With IBM Cloud for Financial Services, IBM is delivering a set of technologies and capabilities to run mission critical workloads on the public cloud, while addressing regulatory compliance, security and resiliency requirements.

BNP Paribas, which is now an anchor client in Europe, will lean on IBM Cloud for Financial Services to support its first dedicated cloud that's GDPR certified. BNP Paribas' cloud, developed and managed by IBM, will leverage IBM public cloud technologies, including Keep Your Own Key (KYOK) encryption capabilities. Down the road, BNP Paribas could decide to onboard additional European banking partners onto the ecosystem.

RELATED: IBM serves up financial services-ready public cloud; Bank of America signs on

In November, IBM announced it had designed a financial services-ready public cloud by collaborating with Bank of America. The financial cloud, which is built on IBM’s public cloud and uses Red Hat's OpenShift technology, was designed to help address the requirements of financial services institutions for regulatory compliance, security and resiliency.

The financial services-ready cloud uses Red Hat OpenShift technology as its primary Kubernetes environment to manage containerized software across the enterprise, and includes more than 190 API driven, cloud native platform-as-a-service (PaaS) services to create cloud-native applications.

In order to enable the delivery of IBM Cloud for Financial Services, IBM worked with Bank of America and Promontory to develop a set of cloud security and compliance control requirements as the basis of its policy framework, allowing financial institutions to safely host key applications and workloads. The IBM Cloud Policy Framework for Financial Services is now available and ISVs can begin onboarding their offerings to the IBM Cloud for Financial Services.

Wednesday's news also marked a milestone in IBM's collaboration with Bank of America with the launch of the IBM Cloud Policy Framework for Financial Services. The IBM Cloud Policy Framework for Financial Services establishes a new cloud for enterprises with common operational criteria and streamlined compliance controls specifically designed for the financial services industry.

\After taking over as IBM's CEO in April, Arvind Krishna, who previously led IBM's cloud computing business, said in a letter to employees that artificial intelligence and hybrid cloud would be two of the company's top priorities. Also in April, IBM named Howard Boville as the new head of its cloud business. Prior to IBM, Boville was CTO of Bank of America.

As part of Wednesday's news, IBM announced the formation of the Financial Services Cloud Advisory Council to support the ongoing advancement of the IBM Cloud Policy Framework for Financial Services. Boville, who is senior vice president of for IBM cloud, will lead the advisory council while Tony Kerrison, Bank of America's CTO, will represent Bank of America. The council will focus on bringing additional  financial institutions together to help drive the evolution of cloud security in a highly regulated environment.

“With major financial institutions and technology partners joining our financial services cloud, IBM is establishing confidence within the industry and around the globe that the IBM public cloud, equipped with industry-leading encryption capabilities, is the enterprise cloud for all highly regulated industries, including financial services healthcare, telco, airlines and more,” Boville said, in a statement. “IBM is creating a platform with the goal that financial services institutions can address their regulatory requirements, while creating a collaborative ecosystem that helps enable banks and their providers to confidently transact.”

Next month, IBM will launch the IBM Cloud Security and Compliance Center, which will allow clients to continuously monitor and enforce their security and compliance postures across their workloads, and provide an automated and adaptable process for improving cloud security. Following on the heels of its deal to buy Spanugo, which is a provider of cloud cybersecurity posture management solutions, the IBM Cloud Security and Compliance Center will include the ability to "instrument the developer workflow with automated security and compliance checks." Delivered via IBM Hyper Protect Services, the IBM Cloud Security and Compliance Center features ‘Keep Your Own Key’ encryption capabilities.

 Once the IBM Cloud Security and Compliance Center is launched, global banks and ISVs with workloads on the IBM Cloud for Financial Services will be able to define their compliance profiles and management controls, maintain an extensive data trail for audits, and monitor compliance across their organizations. IBM said Promontory would continue to provide IT risk advisory services to users of the IBM Cloud for Financial Services.

Also in August, IBM will launch its IBM Research Cloud Innovation Lab. The lab will provide clients and industry partners of the IBM Cloud for Financial Services a first look at the latest innovations from the IBM Research Lab.

RELATED: IBM, Red Hat and Adobe team up to help regulated industries, such as banking and healthcare, protect their data

On Tuesday, IBM and IBM-owned Red Hat announced strategic partnership with Adobe to help regulated industries, such as banking and healthcare, launch personalized marketing campaigns while also protecting their data.