Webinar | The Real Business Value of DevOps for Financial Services

DevOps Talks just arrived and is here to stay. This is a series of webinars made up by Alfonso Valdés, the CEO of ClickIT, along with Juan José Rodríguez, VP of engineering, as well, on ClickIT Smart Technologies. On this first episode, they explain all the benefits that a Financial enterprise can get from a DevOps implementation on a Fintech App. 

The episode will cover:

  1. High Reliability
  2. Security and DevSecOps
  3. Automation
  4. Cost Savings
  5. Compliance and governance
  6. Time-to-market

Webinar Transcript 

Juanjo: We’re really happy that you are here with us. My name is Juan Jose Rodríguez and I am VP of engineering, here, on ClickIT Smart Technologies.

Alfonso: And I’m Alfonso Valdés the CEO and founder, here, at ClickIT Smart Technologies.

Juanjo: Alfonso, tell me, how have you been?

Alfonso: I’m very excited, very excited to have this video explained to the audience, about how we can help them with the DevOps benefits, DevOps practices, and how we can provide value with our experience with financial services. First of all, Juan José, what are Financial Services? 

Juanjo: First of all, we need to understand that financial services refer to all those banking platforms, a payment processing platform, financial, analytics, capital markets, large companies, and insurance companies as well. So, the main concern about all these kind of businesses is to have information secure to bring their customers the possibility to use new features, new functionalities in low time, and, of course, to be always available for, attending to the basic demand of the users and well on this present video we will discuss about how financial services can get that from DevOps But, I think that we need to start by

defining what DevOps is and I would like you to tell us, Alfonso, how would you define DevOps?

Alfonso: Definitely, DevOps is a complex topic, so essentially, from my point of view, I will dissect in three different terms, DevOps, DevOps culture, and what are the aspects for the core activities, or DevOps practices. So, I usually like to explain to the audience that DevOps comes from a system administration evolution into DevOps.

Juanjo: Okay

Alfonso: Also, a network engineer evolves to DevOps, and also a security engineer evolves to DevOps, and finally a software engineer evolves to DevOps. So now that you understand that if you require DevOps practices you will think on those topics, but, now, what is DevOps itself? Well, as you might know, is the development and operations, where development needs to understand operations and operations need to understand development. How is the application configured? How was built? And development needs to understand how to deploy this code, and how to deploy the operation on the side of the application. Now, also DevOps involves automation with infrastructure as code. All symbols programmable infrastructure and lastly the most known the term is continuous integration and continuous delivery. So, it’s a dissection between different teams, as I described it, operations, development, and quality assurance or testing department

Juanjo: There it comes to another particular concept that we usually hear from customers that we usually hear on blogs, on forums, etc.. And this is the term DevOps culture

so that brings me into a question of how would you define DevOps culture? How would you define that for our audience?

Alfonso: Well, DevOps culture represents a change of mindset a change in your software architecture, a change in your network, a changed in your processes, a change in the technologies, and also, a change in the people. So, you have to align and you have to transform with collaboration, with visibility, and with tools. For example, usually in on-premise or in current financial services they usually work separately in silos seeking a separate goal. In this case with DevOps, you understand, you have collaboration, you have visibility on those three goals and you pursue or foster that particular goal or those three goals but everybody needs to know that goal, and something else it’s important to acknowledge your procedure, your practice, and make some awareness because if you deploy a DevOps tool like Jenkins and your workflow, and your new CI/CD process but if you don’t spread the word if you don’t have collaboration, documentation, and light training… who is going to follow you? Definitely, the main goal for DevOps is to streamline your software development lifecycle and your infrastructure in order to have a fast and reliable software product through DevOps, CI/CD, automation and cloud migration.

Juanjo: That’s really important, right? Because nowadays all businesses want to achieve things faster and they want to achieve them in a safer way, and in a more automated way than it was before so there’s where DevOps becomes really important, right?

Alfonso: I agree with you. 

Juanjo: So, well, now that we have given a brief explanation about what DeVOps is, I think that we should start by explaining all the benefits that financial services, specifically financial services can get from DevOps. 

Alfonso: Sounds good. 

Juanjo: So, I would say that the first benefit that we have is Reliability. DevOps can bring high reliability for their websites and, what is the reliability of a cloud or DevOps environment? Reliability means that your system or your application is up and running at all times without any interruption or with minimum acceptable interruption. So, we have heard a lot of times about Autoscaling, about Container Orchestration, perhaps. Well, if you have heard any of these terms then you are talking about high reliability, and perhaps you will also ask: what benefit can this bring to my business? to have high reliability. Well, the main benefit that you have from having high reliability is that at the moment that you have your application or system up at all time you ensure that your customers are happy with their service because that will never be interrupted if your service is never interrupted then you can bring even more customers that may be unsatisfied with another provider perhaps or that want to always have available the payment platform, the banking platform for example and of course that makes you, that helps you to make more business at the same time. So note the importance of this. Now, if we go on the tools that we can use for getting high reliability. I will say that the main trend nowadays is to implement Docker, plus a Container Orchestration tools, such as Kubernetes or AWS ECS, but we also have other solutions, such as AWS AutoScaling, sometimes AWS multi availability zone, as well, for failover approaches. But, if you ask us if you ask ClickIT about this, I will say that if you require an application that constantly changes on demand, that constantly changes on the amount of loads of traffic that it has we strongly recommend to implement a Docker plus a Container Orchestration tools such as Kubernetes or AWS ECS in order to ensure that you always are available and that your service is always up for all your users.

Alfonso: Yeah, the second benefit is security compliance, which is an essential benefit for financial services, banking or anything related to those verticals, so it’s vital for financial services. And the key aspects of security compliance is DevSecOps, which is security in the

left and security governance on the right. Now, this is important to foster innovation to eliminate risk and also to reduce polarities and finally to get comply very quickly

Juanjo: Now, you mentioned the DevSecOps concept right now, and well, it’s another particular concept that we always hear on our day-to-day work, so, I would like it if you could explain to us, what is DevSecOps deeper? What would you say is DevSecOps?

Alfonso: Yeah, definitely it’s been around 2 years here in the world of DevOps in the cloud or anything regarding those industries. But mainly is to implement security in the continuous integration and continuous delivery process. Usually, you deploy or implement a vulnerability assessment after your product release, after you have releases your applications in the cloud or on-premise. But, those security practices need to be moved to the left that’s why

the slogan, or the quote “security to the left”, and not just that, there will be other processes that we’re going to be moving to the left, so you have to inject that practice in the continuous

integration/ continuous delivery which includes DevSecOps, also includes static analysis, vulnerability assessment in the DevSecOps, includes also security testing, security audits and things of that nature.

Juanjo: The third benefit here would be, well, that DevOps allows financial services or can allow financial services to automate core processes that sometimes take valuable time from the day-to-day work and it can be even from automating the creation of reports or automating the creation of infrastructure as well of new servers of new cloud resources, and DevOps can help to automate big data and machine learning tasks for the businesses and

most of all machine learning and big data it’s really important for financial services since it’s based on predictions, it is based on analytics. So, the tools that we can use for making this is, for example, API Gateway + AWS Lambda, for making serverless functions that perhaps you can get into your PHP application or you can get it into your Python application and that way you can program you can use API Gateway, and in the AWS lambda to schedule automated tasks for creating reports for creating cron jobs that generate reports or analytics. So it’s pretty interesting how they work. Now, for creating the automated infrastructure you guys can use terraform, you guys can use cloud formation perhaps this is most of all used on the software as a service model, on multi-tenant model applications, so terraform and cloud formation will be really good options for that, and finally, for big data and for machine learning we can use AWS redshift for big data and for machine learning, we have AWS Sagemaker, among others. So everything guys tend to be machine learning, tend to be big data and this is because businesses want to get all the information quickly about what is going on over them and they want to take automatic decisions about it, so we have to know the importance of these topics, right? So, our tip would be, the ClickIT recommendation here is that, for example, if you are thinking about developing software as a service or a multi-tenant application you should definitely opt for getting your infrastructure creation automated either by using terraform or using cloud formation. 

Alfonso: Definitely, I agree with you

Juanjo: Yes, this makes the process a lot easier and sometimes it even makes it cheaper because you don’t have to pay sometimes for an engineer that keeps creating infrastructure every time that a new customer comes etc, etc… so it’s really interesting what happens. 

Alfonso: Now the fourth benefit: “Cost savings” By incorporating DevOps principles you are inherently adding lean principles and agile methodologies without help us to have efficiency, reduce cost, and automation. So what does it mean? So you reduce man-hours, you reduce IT labor costs and finally the most important for executives is that you have a reduction in your OPEX, which is operating expenses. 

Juanjo: And for example what would you say are the most visible factors for saving costs with DevOps? 

Alfonso: Essentially some tangible visible aspects to safeguards in DevOps is automate your QA and your testing face, as you may know, it’s moving the testing into the CI/CD. That helps us a lot to reduce costs, to use fewer resources, fewer engineers and again reduce costs. The second aspect I will adopt is microservices and serverless ecosystems. That helps a lot because you use the best resources, optimal resources compared to an on-premise environment with a physical server where you release or you rent a server or even in a virtual environment you are renting almost an instance or a Virtual machine. You buy 100%, the 10 GB the 10 CPUs and you use just 10% of it. Compared to micro-services and serverless you will use just a fair amount of resources which will be optimized, and you will reduce costs.

Juanjo: That’s really nice.

Alfonso: And, to conclude, definitely this is very disruptive the big picture here in DevOps is that you can migrate to the cloud, that gives you 20 or 30% of costs reduction. 

Juanjo: That’s amazing. 

Alfonso: Yeah, definitely, then if you adopt the DevOps practices you could, again another 20-30 percent to the cost reductions, and finally something unique from us, a competitive advantage that if you outsource DevOps practices you can reduce another 40 percent on that, so imagine what you can do with this transformation and this new adoption.

Juanjo: Those are pretty cool items. 

Alfonso: Yeah, definitely. 

Juanjo: Now, guys, the sixth benefit that DevOps can bring to financial services. Is one of the most important actually, based on our experience and it is compliance. What is compliance? Compliance means attending and following the best standards in the world, in the cloud world and the best international security, performance models on the cloud. So with DevOps given the DevOps culture and the DevOps methodologies are based on agility, on keeping everything optimized, and of course, on security you can get compliant with some standards like HIPAA, like SOC2, like PCI even ISO and also you can be compliant with Lean principles and with agile principles as well. And what benefit would you have from this? Well if you are compliant your customers will be more confident that their data and that the processes are being performed in a safe way and in an optimal way, and if they are confident on that they can help you to bring more customers even into your business. Now, what we recommend for financial businesses is to always focus on getting PCI and getting SOC2 compliant. These are the two main compliances that financial services must

focus on since they are about getting all the credit card information, payment information payment process, optimize it and secure, okay?

Alfonso: Definitely, I agree. So, the sixth benefit: time-to-market. Absolutely, speeding up your time to market it’s a real competitive advantage to your competition. It’s a very important

element on the DevOps benefits, so how can you measure your time to market? Well, I will suggest adding rapid experimentation, which is call deployment. You can have this experimentation [which] increases your deployment frequency also with continuous integration and continuous delivery can help on that and shorter feedback. As you might imagine you have to say the main principles means to have shorter feedback, shorter small batches pardon me. So that’s a very good aspect of that. 

Juanjo: And for example what will be a good example or a good practical example about how getting more speed on your time to market?

Alfonso: Definitely, imagine you have a financial service and you’re required to build another Bank in another region you are located in the US and your customer asks you to create a new bank on another campus in Europe or in the APAC so you will bring your automation templates and you can bring the environment in a few days or in a few seconds in a click of a button, so imagine that? Another good example we have a few months ago a Mexican bank where they require a consultancy and they tell us, they described it that their release time frame is about two months. Imagine to release…

Juanjo: Mmmm that’s amazing. 

Alfonso: Yeah! that’s critical. For me, that’s very critical to release a new field in your login, in the bank login you require two months to release the new account, that’s very very critical. By adopting DevOps practices, you could move it to a few days, a few hours or even minutes using microservices

Juanjo: Big difference, isn’t it? 

Alfonso: Yeah, definitely. So in conclusion, or to sum up, we are in continuous innovation and continuous learning era. It’s important to innovate every day, we have lived it five transformations from the physical servers to virtual servers, then came the cloud as a third wave, and the fourth wave was microservices, and finally serverless which nowadays 20% of the banking industries are adopting. So perhaps we’re late, perhaps not, but it’s been five waves, five waves so we need to get up to speed on the financial services or any organization. So join DevOps and the cloud journey.

Juanjo: Yeah, so, here’s where we finish this first video, guys, we hope that you have enjoyed all the explanations, all the examples that we provided to you we’re pretty sure that right after finishing watching this video you will know more about what DevOps services/ what DevOps practices and methodologies you can use on your financial business in order to optimize your performance, to improve security, etc. So we really appreciate that you watch this video guys thank you very much for following us and please don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel or visit our website clickittech.com if you want to learn

more about how DevOps can help you and your company to become better and to be

on the top level of your sector industry. 

Alfonso: We can help you definitely, and more if you are financial service or healthcare.

Juanjo: See you next time guys!

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