Ron Daly President/CEO
Virtual StrongBox, Inc.

What’s the No. 1 reason financial institutions give for not adopting cloud technology? Security. The thought of migrating to a virtualized business platform can strike terror in the hearts of bank executives. And it’s no wonder. Many solutions can be risky, lacking the top-tier security banks and other high-risk enterprises require. And, not surprising, cybercriminals always attack at an organization’s weakest point.

Most banks shy away from cloud services because of concerns about how their stored data – or that of their customers – is treated. That’s because it’s common for commercial consumer services to commingle data in the “public” cloud. It may be acceptable for storing short-term files with no sensitive information, but this kind of cloud technology shouldn’t be used to keep or transfer personally identifiable information.

Yet, there are very good reasons to move to the cloud: cost savings, streamlined back-office processes and customer convenience, to name a few. While most banks use legacy technology that would be expensive to replace, transitioning those systems and workflows to the cloud can increase efficiency and ease the budget.

Consumer technology goes to work … and play.

Modernizing bank processes via cloud technology allows your bank to take advantage of the familiar consumer devices your customers use every day – their smartphones! The rapid growth in smartphone usage has led to functions as diverse as changing TV stations and tracking insulin levels. In the financial realm, mobile has now surpassed all other channels in transaction volumes, according to KPMG’s 2015 Global Mobile Banking Report. And in its just-out annual survey, “Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016,” the Federal Reserve found that 87% of U.S. adults had mobile phones in 2015 – 77% of which are smartphones. Among adults with banking accounts, 43% used their phones to do their banking, up from 39% in 2014.

But it isn’t just customers. Your employees are also using their smartphones everywhere they go. Whether or not the company sanctions it, they’re bringing their own devices to work and accessing cloud technology. Like any consumer, employees today integrate their smartphones and tablets into every aspect of their lives, including the office – often to solve work-related problems. But instead of causing headaches for IT managers trying to enforce rules against BYOD, the answer is to lock down enterprise security, not lock staff out. For one thing, it wouldn’t help; today’s worker/consumers are more mobile, more tech-savvy – and less likely to recognize the barrier between corporate and personal systems. For another, it places roadblocks in the way of your bank’s productivity.

By allowing the use of smartphones and tablets, employers are likely to receive quicker responses from employees. At the same time, today’s employees feel comfortable using their mobile devices to seamlessly move between work and personal tasks or activities.

A 2013 study performed by Forrester Consulting for IBM found that BYOD programs yielded a 108% return on investment and payback in less than a month. Among the benefits were improved workplace flexibility; increased sales from quick, reliable access to business-generating apps on BYOD devices; reduced complexity and costs from internally managing the mobility infrastructure; and decreased help-desk support.

So, can we have security AND mobile convenience?

It’s okay to have the best of both.

With the right service provider, your institution can assure high security and cost-effective operations, delighting both your customers and your employees. At Virtual StrongBox, we’re addressing this issue through our patented end-to-end customer engagement platform, which offers the data security to meet Enterprise IT needs and drive consumerization of IT forward. Our comprehensive security platform and back-office strategy allows banks to use secure cloud storage for file exchange with their customers, automate many operational tasks and speed up document delivery. Financial institutions provide their customers with private, secure space in online “safe-deposit boxes,” where they store important documents like deeds and wills. Customers can use their mobile devices to securely exchange files with your bank, cutting the time it normally takes to process loan documents, applications or other papers.

Further, there’s no need to lock out employees from using their own devices to perform work functions. Patented encryption-at-rest technology and SaaS, private-cloud infrastructure with SSAE16 SOC-compliant, redundant servers ensure the highest level of security. Using a BYOD strategy, your company can allow employees greater flexibility and mobility, while increasing productivity.

Offering convenience to customers and your employees doesn’t have to mean exposing them – or your institution to risk. Instead of locking out access, lock down security.