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New Year’s resolutions for financial services

Christmas is coming and, after it, a new year. A time for new beginnings, second chances, and – for financial services firms - making a commitment to do better.

This is the perfect time of year for your organisation to revisit its business plans and set its mind on how to improve. Given this crazy political and economic period, going back to basics can be critical for success. So, as you prepare for the coming year, use this opportunity to make resolutions that match the current challenges, or risk being left behind in yester-year. Such important resolutions require preparation, and there is no better time than before the new year.

Resolution 1: Reduce systems failures

You don’t want your customers to be locked out of their accounts, unable to access them (like Lloyds and Halifax back in the summer) and with the ever-rising cost-of-living putting a greater strain on the finances of said customers, outages might be even more damaging to your reputation than before.

Unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents. IT estates have become more and more complex, more susceptible to outages and longer periods of downtime. It’s unsustainable, and only makes it clearer that your business needs more proactive monitoring and security, to observe any systems issues in real-time. And real time must mean real time – not 60 seconds, 30 or even 10 seconds later. You cannot afford shortcuts or sub-par capabilities. System outages will not only cost you reputationally but financially as well, making it more important than ever that you keep your eye on the operational resilience ball.

Resolution 2: Assess external threats

Avoidable system outages are one thing but, as you assess plans for the next quarter, you must also consider the external threats that pose a risk to your business. With Russian intervention into Ukraine in the spotlight, your organisation must continually assess how it is safeguarding your business and customers from foreign (or domestic) cyber threats. Any vulnerabilities should be identified and assessed, and then methods of protection prepared. If these aren’t already in place, that makes this second resolution all the more important for 2023, where you implement new operational resilience strategies.

The EU’s two law-making bodies, the European Parliament and Council of Ministers, are already doing this, as evidenced by DORA (the Digital Operational Resilience Act), intended to put operational resilience at the forefront. The earlier you start on preparing for it, the better.

Resolution 3: Review infrastructure

With rising costs, you need to see where you can optimise spending without damaging business, and the best possible place to start is through checking the IT infrastructure. After all, having the right foundations can greatly reduce costs for hybrid cloud management, and improve your business’s efficiency. This can only be achieved by acknowledging the differences between hybrid cloud management and on-premises management.

Perhaps the best way to see it is from a “renting” vs “owning” point of view. When you own a place, you may buy bigger than you need as it is a one-off purchase, and you might expand into other areas over time. But when you’re renting, there’s no real reason to be paying for more space than you need. Confirming that you are not paying in excess of what you need is a great activity for this preparatory period.

Moving into an increasingly challenging economic period, it is essential you’re your business uses this month to plan effectively for the next three, six and twelve months. It’s a rapidly changing landscape and you will need to be adaptable but assessing the fundamentals will set you up with the best chance of success for the new year.

You can read the original article in Global Banking and Finance here.

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