UAE banks brace for regulation change on use of public cloud

It's only a matter of time until regulators issue new rules on public cloud, and CIOs need to prepare.

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In the wake of billions of dollars spent on regional data centres by U.S. tech giants, it's only a matter of time before United Arab Emirates regulatory authorities allow banks to use public cloud services, industry insiders say.  As a result, bank technology leaders will have to make big changes in their strategy, and lead a shift that is bound to happen in other Middle Eastern countries.

Due to Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) regulations mainly related to security, CIOs in the banking sector of the United Arab Emirates are currently operating on a private cloud model, which means that they work with on-premise solutions. This hampers their ability to compete internationally.

“Banks in the UAE are competing in the tech-driven innovation space, but their cloud adoption strategy has yet to gain maturity,” said Ali Khan, a Senior Director at PwC Middle East.

Even those banks known for adopting leading-edge software are running on private clouds.

For instance, Emirates NBD has a cloud strategy based on the private cloud wherein the cloud software is deployed on an in-house data center. The bank has gained attention for innovative tech initiatives. But both Liv, an app for retail customers, and E20 -- a digital bank for SMEs -- run on on-premise data centers, with the former running on VMWare powered by Red Hat OpenShift.

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