Data centres played a pivotal role in the progression of digitisation in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector. AI-powered identification of customers, video KYCs, chat solutions, video-based engagement tools, and more were introduced in the space. In this discussion, Mr. Mukesh Sharma (CTO, PaisaBazaar), Mr. Kersi Tavadia (CIO, BSE), Mr. Hemant Verma (CGM (IT), PNB), and Mr. Sanjay Motwani (Business Head, Le Grande Data Center Solutions) join us for an invigorating session on Data Centres in the BFSI space.
In light of the pandemic, people, as well as organisations, have realised the importance of information technology in our daily lives. IT has shifted from being an afterthought to having a pivotal role across industries. Projects that would have taken six months or a year were able to reach completion in just one month because of necessity, Mr. Mukesh Sharma said. In this article, we will take a look at reimagining BFSI through digital transformation and the challenges that might arise along the way.
Trends in Data Centres in BFSI
- Consumer Behaviour: According to Mr. Sanjay Motwani, one of the main reasons for the growth of data centres is consumer behaviour. The consumer is far more empowered today than ever before. Consumers are pushing the private sector and the government to do more in this space. The average data consumption is now 12 GB per month and is expected to grow to 25 GB in the upcoming years. Digital transactions have gone through the roof over the past three years. The Y-o-Y growth in the past few years has been 33%. To handle all of this, you need data centres.
- Location: Mr. Tersi Tavadia says that for BSE, data operations are about getting a good location for your server so that electricity issues do not arise. Moreover, BSE doesn’t have a problem with getting land for their centres. However, in the future, a problem might occur in terms of infrastructure and space due to the tremendous growth rate.
Key Challenges for Data Centres in BFSI
- Ensuring business continuity: Organisations need to ensure that they have the capacity to take care of surges in demand, says Mr. Motwani. Additionally, connectivity and security play an important part. Lastly, there needs to be flexibility and scalability. For example, a common problem these days is data centres employing a single-phase power which can give you only about 7 kilowatts. A three-phase power can give you about 12 kilowatts. So, single-phase data centres do not have the flexibility and scalability that they need. Provisioning for excess power is vital since demand is unpredictable. If there’s no scalability, customers will get annoyed and move to a competitor.
- Mr. Mukesh Sharma says that in BFSI, organisations must ensure that their B2C service is always available, scalable and secure. Data is the core of this ecosystem, and it has to be secured. When organisations are designing a data centre, they have to ensure that data centres can handle a surge in traffic while at the same time controlling costs.
- Another key challenge pointed out by Mr. Mukesh Sharma was security. Organisations are no longer relying on peripheral firewalls. They have D-DOS protection, anomaly detection, and other advanced security options. When organisations expand, they need a robust security system that can easily detect when there’s something wrong with the system.
- Mr. Sharma also adds that most organisations design their systems from an application or development point of view, but they need to design them from a data point of view.
- Data is the new oil, says Mr. Verma. In the BFSI space, there’s a lot of vital public data. Banks need to secure data at every level. Consumer data should not be exposed, even to internal employees who may not have access. Data monitoring and data audits are a necessity these days.
How can India Become an Attractive Data Center Destination?
- The best architecture is always the simplest one. Firstly, organisations need to look at how their systems can communicate securely. Then, they need to think about disaster plans. If anything catastrophic happens, the system needs to protect itself so that the organisation and the consumers don’t lose their data or have it stolen, says Mr. Tevadia.
According to Mr. Motwani, there needs to be a lot of demand for data centres, which India has. Furthermore, when setting up a data centre, you need land, connectivity and electricity. On these three fronts, India scores well. The challenges moving forward are upscaling the talent pool, creating a data ecosystem, and the need for easing regulatory policies. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
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