How can financial services improve sustainability in the cloud? And why?

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Whether it’s effective customer support, open banking, or business analytics, data is fundamental to today’s financial services industry. But with the growing importance of data comes calls for more sustainable practices globally.

While it’s easy to think of airplanes or agriculture when talking about our carbon footprint – because these things exist physically in the world – the data is much harder to appreciate in concrete terms.

Data has no physical mass. But it still does to exist in our infrastructure, from data centers to cloud service providers. And with that existence comes its own carbon footprint.

Currently, 68% of the data created is never used or touched again. Storing this amount of unused data adds up, both in terms of its carbon footprint and impact on a company’s bottom line. As 43 banks around the world have joined forces to create the UN-convened Net Zero Banking Alliance, it is clear that the commitment to sustainable industry practices is accelerating.

Here, we’ll explore how effective data from an end-to-end supply chain perspective can improve sustainability and what steps companies in the financial services industry can take to optimize their operations while remaining climate-conscious.

Where is your data?

Where do you store it? What data do you have? Who owns it? These are all questions companies need to ask themselves if they are serious about adopting sustainable operations and embarking on reducing the carbon impact of data.

You may be using older, less efficient technology, or storing data from years ago that is no longer useful.

A holistic view is needed to ensure the sustainability of digital operations, from the supply chain to the end product or offer. A sustainable practice in the cloud should be considered end-to-end, and it starts with where your data resides.

The financial services industry is heavily regulated, so it can be easy to keep everything on hand just in case. But by establishing a defined data management policy that outlines exactly what data should be retained and how, it can help your business manage its data effectively.

How is your data managed?

When it comes to green computing, simply tackling idle data can have a huge impact on the sustainability of your business. But it’s not
just your company that produces data. Every vendor and third-party vendor your organization works with also produces amounts of data that supports your business operations and profitability.

Here, understanding the data fabric of your organization is key to evaluating the companies you partner with, ensuring that their values ​​and commitments to sustainable practices are aligned with yours.

We all have relationships, and a business is no different. Holding your organization’s supply chain accountable and ensuring data is optimized efficiently on the cloud is a step in the right direction. Trusted partners can help organizations better understand their carbon footprint as well as the fabric of other companies they work with to improve sustainable operations together holistically.

What is the benefit of sustainable data management in the cloud?

As already mentioned, financial services organizations must examine the sustainability actions of their suppliers as well as their own internal operations if they are to effectively reduce their own carbon footprint.

Not only does effective data management mean cost savings, it will also help the financial services industry meet sustainability goals and customer expectations. In fact, customers are willing to pay more for durability, with
85% of consumers stating that they have become “greener” in recent years.

Demand is growing for eco-friendly offerings across industries, from financial services to manufacturing and transportation. Sustainable and ethical operations are no longer just morally imperative, they are also a great opportunity for financial services to demonstrate a commitment to customers and directly recognize their preferences for sustainable practices.

End-to-end responsibility

Cloud providers are providing sustainable ways for financial services to operate digitally, helping to integrate with hyperscalers for tiering, backup or disaster recovery solutions. Workloads can be moved from on-premises to the cloud, not only enabling more efficient operations, but also helping the financial services industry stretch and meet its sustainability goals.

But simply migrating to the cloud is not enough. Cloud resources cost money – whether compute or storage – and they consume large amounts of renewable energy. With the right partner, solutions can help businesses be more efficient in how they consume cloud resources, reducing costs and the amount of wasted renewable energy.

For financial services, consideration of more efficient and sustainable resource consumption – from cloud data management to electricity and even downtime – is essential to help limit the amount of energy necessary for operations and to increase sustainable practices in the future.

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