In an increasingly digital world, professionals in the banking and finance industries face many challenges, especially considering the heavy compliance and regulatory environment in which they operate. Office 365 from Microsoft delivers features that allow users to optimise emerging cloud technologies, increase employee involvement and agility, and meet the stringent requirements of financial compliance and security. In today’s world, the key to success in financial services is the ability to combine innovative technology with intelligent business processes and streamlined ways of working.
In this blog, I will look at the top five features and benefits of Office 365, and how they can assist the financial services industry to remain secure, compliant, mobile and productive in a highly competitive digital world.
The need for high levels of IT security within banks and financial institutions is more important than ever before. Financial organisations process a wealth of personal information including credit card numbers, addresses, social security numbers (and more), making them a prime target for hackers. Data leaks not only cause financial losses but can have a very real detrimental impact on the reputation and perception of the brand.
Consumers expect banks and other financial services companies to provide an expert level of security when it comes to their sensitive data, and rightfully so. Microsoft recognises the importance of this and O365 provides lots of security features and add-ons to ensure that your environment is secure.
The built-in Mobile Device Management (MDM) in O365 helps you secure your employees mobile devices (like iPhones, iPads, Androids, and Windows phones). Organisations can create and manage device security policies and remotely wipe a device.
Features such as Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) add a second layer of security to user sign-ins and transactions, and requires the use of more than one verification method.
One of the most popular tools for cyber-crime is ransomware, which is typically spread through malicious links or attachments in emails. Tools like Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) can prevent, detect and respond to sophisticated attacks before they get into your mailbox, providing a layer of defence for businesses.
With new laws and regulations continuously emerging, compliance has become a significant concern for finance organisations. Regulators are now imposing higher penalties for lawbreakers, therefore, keeping data secure and searchable is a huge priority in the finance world.
As you make your journey to the cloud, compliance with financial services regulations is a shared responsibility with Microsoft, who build their solutions to meet the highest standards of security, privacy, compliance and transparency.
Trying to determine which regulations apply to your organisation can be difficult. Microsoft have published guides to help companies get up to speed and become compliant. Access the Microsoft Service Trust Portal for Financial Services to view essential reports, certifications and download the Assessment Starter Pack which will help ensure you are compliant in a highly-regulated industry.
Technology is constantly evolving and improving our lives and the way we work; not least with the advent of a mobile-first, anytime, anywhere working world. With this change comes demand for increased security. We are seeing more banks and financial organisations follow the trend of the new mobile-only banks like Monzo and Revolut, who encourage their employees to work from home.
In a mobile and cloud-first world, ‘always on’ communication and the need for financial institutions to remain competitive when recruiting talent is vital. Investing in the latest technology is now critical to attracting and retaining top talent. As tech natives, millennials value companies that remain at the leading edge. Microsoft performed a survey and found that 93% of Millennials say that a business having up-to-date technology is an important factor when choosing a workplace.
The O365 suite provides access to emails, SharePoint sites and corporate files, allowing users to interact and edit documents on their mobile devices. Employees can also use Skype for Business and Teams which accommodate remote meetings whilst on-the-go.
There has also been a significant rise in the “bring your own device” (BYOD) culture, which has further increased the need for security whilst on the move. O365 provides organisations with end-point management of mobile devices ensuring that the business network is protected.
In a competitive industry, financial organisations need to address pressures to drive technology innovation, exceed customer expectations and improve transparency. To do this, a productive and engaged workforce is key.
O365 enables financial institutions to optimise productivity within their business, which in turn enables them to save time and money and free-up valued resources.
Easy collaboration (on the go): O365 tools allow employees to work from any device, from anywhere, with access to all their documents whilst still being connected and collaborating with their team.
Effective communication: O365 offers a variety of options to ensure workers can speak in real-time without the need to have a face-to-face meeting, saving time and money on travel expenses (using Teams, Skype for Business, Exchange Online).
Reduced downtime: Downtime can significantly impact a business, but with O365 everything is in the cloud and accessible on multiple devices, meaning employees will always have access to their work.
Familiar tools: Microsoft Office has been a prominent business tool for decades. The vast majority of people are familiar with Excel, Outlook and other programs in the Office suite. This significantly decreases the training required when transitioning to Office 365.
In an industry that is continuously trying to streamline costs whilst improving the customer experience, this could perhaps be the best benefit of O365.
Moving to Office 365 unlocks a host of potential cost-saving opportunities; headcount, simplified management processes, no need for system refreshes (Office 365 in the Cloud is evergreen + Microsoft upgrades happen as standard). In many cases, you could also see significant cost savings in your device portfolio. The cloud eliminates the need to purchase hardware and has an affordable and predictable monthly licence cost, which means that you are only paying for what you need.
Server rooms are quickly becoming a thing of the past; with cloud-based software there is no need for on-premise infrastructure, which reduces financial costs and the need for physical office space.
With O365 you also don’t need to worry about upgrade fees, as you will automatically receive all features and functionality upon release.
You can find out more about Office 365 at our insights webinar ‘Starting your Office 365 Journey – Which tools, when’ on Wednesday 11th September.
For an instant quote and to find out which cloud solutions from Core could benefit your business, try our solutions calculator or contact me to book a free two-hour Discovery Session. This is a great starting point to provide clear and pragmatic insights into the business value of, and operational considerations for a successful Office 365 deployment.