BoT expedites cloud computing adoption

BoT expedites cloud computing adoption

The adoption of public cloud computing in the banking and financial sectors will move at a faster pace after the Bank of Thailand's recent notification allowing the use of cloud in IT outsourcing services.

The notification, effective from Jan 31, indicates the central bank's awareness of the benefits of cloud-based services such as scalability and advanced functionalities for financial institutions.

"Thailand's central bank is one of five in Asia-Pacific -- the others being its peers in Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and South Korea -- that can adapt quickly to rapid changes in technological innovations and assist the local banking and financial sectors," said Andrew Cooke, regional director for legal affairs for Asia Pacific & Japan at Microsoft Operations Pte.

The adoption of cloud technology in the financial sector is still fairly limited because of security and data privacy concerns and regulations.

Using cloud technology in critical information systems requires the central bank's approval 30 days before deployment.

The central bank had not previously clarified the use of cloud in the financial sector.

"The notification can promote confidence and security among financial institutions in Thailand," said Mr Cooke.

To capitalise on this opportunity, he said Microsoft has issued guidelines for the use of cloud services by financial institutions in Thailand.

Lesly Goh, the financial service industry lead for Asia Pacific at Microsoft Operations, said Thailand's financial service market has a lot of potential as the country has large regional and local banks intending to adopt advanced digital technology to transform their services.

Microsoft may provide artificial intelligence techniques used in security monitoring systems for greater effectiveness, as well as detecting new ATM malware and other e-payment activities to support the Thai government's national e-payment scheme.

Ms Goh said Microsoft is also encouraging banks in Thailand to adopt blockchain technology in common services like digital identity, supply chain and trade finance.

Keshav Dhakad, regional director for the digital crime unit at Microsoft Operations, said the financial sector is one of the top traditional targets for cybercrime. "Thailand ranked among the top five countries in Asia Pacific in 2016 with the highest number of malware infections," he said.

Trojan, worms and viruses are three most common malware categories in Thailand.

Nearly 25% of computers in Thailand are infected with a Trojan -- higher than the global average of 10%.

In addition, Mr Dhakad said the average amount of time organisations in Asia Pacific needed to detect cyber threats hidden in their systems is longer than 500 days, compared with 140 days globally.

Mr Dhakad attributed the high infection rate in the country to the lack of cybersecurity risk assessment measures and the use of pirated software or counterfeit software packages.

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