by Byron Connolly

Westpac looking at public cloud future: Dave Curran

Apr 05, 2017
Cloud ComputingRisk Management

Westpac CIO Dave Curran expects that the bank will move completely into the public cloud in less than 10 years but it needs to overcome regulatory hurdles before achieving that goal.

Speaking at a panel session at the AWS Summit in Sydney, Curran said there is “no way in my mind” that the organisation won’t go all in with public cloud but “we’ve got a lot of history and regulation to take on that journey.”

“We have 200 years’ worth of legacy. At this point, we are constrained by the regulations we work in so we are working very much towards the concept of private cloud off-premise. How do we take the things that are deeply regulated in our core around PCI and those types of things and bring that forward is one of our great challenges over the next few years.”

Curran told CIO Australia that the percentage of the bank’s systems currently in the public cloud was hard to calculate but services that don’t touch core customer information are already public with providers like AWS.

“Our website, things we publish, we are seeing the majority of that already [in the public cloud].”

During the next phase, Westpac will push the envelope and move more of its core customer information into an off-site private cloud.

“That will be the next big phase and once that’s there and that is the new norm, that will then lead into a second set of conversations around ‘what does that mean for the public cloud?’” he said.

“My expectation at that point is there are so many other industries that don’t have the same sort of security regulations that we do … will have pushed that to a much further state and there will be a much cleaner conversation.

“But in the digital space, we are pushing the envelope all the time,” he said.

“I turned 50 two years ago, and my one of my aspirations when I was young was to get a Swiss watch. My family gave me one for my 50th birthday. Now, I have a mobile, near-field credit card on my watch that I do my payments with. Those things there will be at the forefront.

“Those pieces are already largely there [in the public cloud] and that percentage is very high.”

But systems that store customers’ deposit information, for instance, will lag and go private before they go public, he said.

“My view is that it will go public and we will allow that public domain to grow in maturity. Cloud into enterprise is very different from enterprise into cloud. And that is still working its way through. Digital is pretty much all there but the rest will take two stages to get there,” Curran said.

For Westpac to move deeper into the public cloud realm, the bank and regulators need to provide more education about the benefits of the infrastructure model to people outside the technology industry, Curran said.

“I think the public debate has to get more mature in this regard … change is never easy when it’s this amount of scale. We need to get a more content-rich conversation, that’s the biggest challenge.”