Cloud-Powered, Next-Generation Banking
Traditional banks make extensive use of labor-intensive, human-centric control structures such as Production Support groups, Security Response teams, and Contingency Planning organizations. These control structures were deemed necessary in order to segment responsibilities and to maintain a security posture that is risk averse. Unfortunately, this traditional model tends to keep the subject matter experts in these organizations at a distance from the development teams, reducing efficiency and getting in the way of innovation.
Banks and other financial technology (fintech) companies have realized that they need to move faster in order to meet the needs of the newest generation of customers. These customers, some in markets that have not been well-served by the traditional banks, expect a rich, mobile-first experience, top-notch customer service, and access to a broad array of services and products. They prefer devices to retail outlets, and want to patronize a bank that is responsive to their needs.
Today I would like to tell you about a couple of AWS-powered banks that are addressing these needs. Both of these banks are born-in-the-cloud endeavors, and take advantage of the scale, power, and flexibility of AWS in new and interesting ways. For example, they make extensive use of microservices, deploy fresh code dozens or hundreds of times per day, and use analytics & big data to better understand their customers. They also apply automation to their compliance and control tasks, scanning code for vulnerabilities as it is committed, and also creating systems that systemically grant and enforce use of least-privilege IAM roles.
NuBank – Headquartered in Brazil and serving over 10 million customers, NuBank has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies in the world. They were founded in 2013 and reached unicorn status (a valuation of one billion dollars), just four years later. After their most recent round of funding, their valuation has jumped to ten billion dollars. Here are some resources to help you learn more about how they use AWS:
- NuBank Case Study (Portuguese).
- How the Cloud Helps NuBank Support Millions of Daily Customers (video).
Starling – Headquartered in London and founded in 2014, Starling is backed by over $300M in funding. Their mobile apps provide instant notification of transactions, support freezing and unfreezing of cards, and provide in-app chat with customer service representatives. Here are some resources to help you learn more about how they use AWS:
I found the How the Cloud… video particularly interesting. It explains how NuBank has implemented Compliance as Code, with an eye toward simplifying permissions management and increasing the overall security profile of the bank.
I hope that you have enjoyed this quick look at how two next-generation banks are making use of AWS. The videos that I linked above contain tons of great technical information that you should also find of interest!