Westpac's core banking will be on public cloud 'within ten years'

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Westpac's core banking will be on public cloud 'within ten years'

Once market and public hurdles are overcome.

Westpac expects that its core banking functions, like customer deposits and transactions, will sit in the public cloud within ten years.

But that won’t happen until the public cloud market, as well as the surrounding debate concerning security and privacy, reaches a level of maturity.

Speaking at the AWS Summit in Sydney today, Westpac chief information officer Dave Curran revealed the bank saw a path to host its core systems in the public cloud.

It is currently working through a mammoth infrastructure overhaul that will see it shift as much as 70 percent of its existing workloads to private and public clouds.

The remaining 30 percent that isn’t shifted into private or public cloud - predominantly old systems that don’t have a real need to change - will remain on-premise.

The bank is already using public cloud services for customer-facing platforms like its website, fingerprint sign-on technology for its mobile app, and its newly-released Westpac Keyboard banking tool.

It is working towards putting its core systems - those that house customer information like deposits and transactions - into its new private cloud.

But CIO Dave Curran today revealed he expects Westpac’s entire infrastructure to eventually be moved into a public cloud environment.

Speaking to iTnews on the sidelines of the AWS Summit, Curran said the shift was likely to happen within ten years.

“Once [the private cloud migration is complete] and that’s the new norm, that’ll then lead the second set of conversations around the public cloud,” he said.

“Systems where deposits and money sit will have a lag and for good reason; [they] will go private before public, but my view is that they will go public [cloud].

"But we will allow the public domain to grow in maturity [before that happens].”

A lot needed to change in the public cloud market - as well as wider society - before that shift could happen, Curran said.

Firstly, public cloud providers needed to make a stronger push into the enterprise.

"Cloud into enterprise is very different than enterprise into cloud, and that’s still working it’s way through,” he said.

“You see people like AWS - who started very much in the ‘born in the cloud’ world - coming back into enterprise with things like dedicated compute and the VMware partnership.

“I had to stay sovereign. I can get that right now. Two years ago I couldn’t do it.

“That’s all making it easier for the enterprise to move towards [public cloud].”

The second challenge that needed to be overcome before Westpac could move sensitive customer data to the public cloud, Curran said, was educating society more broadly on cloud computing.

“Cloud is probably the largest shift we’ve seen in technology from a consumer’s point of view. And the majority of people don’t yet really understand what it is, [despite] using it every day,” Curran said.

“You just need one person to start a care campaign -  “your data in the public cloud is not safe” - and then [customers] lose confidence in the technology.

“Just that statement alone is enough to scare people. [You get past that] with education.”

Maturing the public debate would require buy-in from technology companies as well as political leaders and the media, Curran said.

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