Zürcher Kantonalbank has announced that it will begin moving applications and data to the public cloud in 2022. The bank has chosen Microsoft Switzerland as its first cloud provider. The move will not be done automatically; rather, each application will be weighed to determine if it is the right time to make the switch. Security remains the most important priority for the bank going forward. The bank will not compromise in any way in this area, as it attaches the utmost importance to protecting the confidentiality and integrity of important business data.
In the coming years, Zürcher Kantonalbank will move some of its IT applications and data to the cloud. In an interview with the IT trade publication “Computerworld”, Remo Schmidli, Head of IT, Operations & Real Estate at Zürcher Kantonalbank, says: “Cloud technology has evolved greatly in recent years – from a niche product to what is now a mature overall solution. Anyone who is seriously interested in IT today can no longer ignore the cloud. Because the cloud has really matured.”
According to Remo Schmidli, the benefits and potential drawbacks of the cloud were discussed intensively internally. “In the end, the benefits clearly outweighed the drawbacks. Innovative power, scalability and time-to-market clearly spoke in favor of the move to the cloud. At the same time, we were and are not willing to make any compromises when it comes to security. This imperative has previously applied when we signed a contract with a service provider, and it also holds true now when we work with a hyperscaler.”
The evaluation of private cloud technologies has also shown that Swiss providers are not able to fully compete with the large cloud providers in terms of innovation and investments, according to Schmidli, who has been responsible for IT as a member of the Executive Board of Zürcher Kantonalbank since 2019. “We evaluated both Swiss companies and global hyperscalers – in the end, we chose Microsoft as the first provider.” An important factor in the decision was Microsoft Switzerland’s local data centers, which have been up and running since 2019 and ensure data is stored in Switzerland. With data centers in the Geneva and Zurich regions, as well as the additional Azure Availability Zones now in operation, Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure in Switzerland also offers the highest possible level of reliability and failover security.
Customers and advisors won’t notice much of the change at first – because it will be a migration of infrastructure from one data center to another. In an article published on the bank’s blog, Remo Schmidli states: “The cloud is increasingly becoming a decisive competitive factor. The use of international cloud providers has now become standard for many Swiss banks. Without cloud, we lack the necessary agility, flexibility and scalability in the digital transformation.”
The main beneficiaries of the increased use of the cloud, says Schmidli, will be the customers of Zürcher Kantonalbank: “We will be able to offer our customers better and more innovative products in the future. The cloud gives us access to state-of-the-art technologies and the latest services at all times. This will enable us to develop new applications and services more quickly that meet the needs of our customers.”
Please do also read this interview with Remo Schmidli, Head of IT, Operations & Real Estate at Zürcher Kantonalbank, published in the IT magazine Netzwoche in May 2022: Why ZKB relies on the cloud from Microsoft