Nowadays, while DevOps affects almost every enterprise powered by software, the Fintech industry was the last one to utilize DevOps. The main reason is the necessity to adhere to strict rules related to compliance and regulating security. But the more Fintech gets involved with technologies that are cloud-native, the more chances it has to deliver a better customer experience.
Why Fintech needs DevOps?
With such a vast number of transactions and a high level of customer engagement, the financial industry requires a flawless and smooth infrastructure. DevOps comes in handy, as it helps organizations to develop, learn, and fulfill expectations faster, delivering more and standing out in the competition. While many financial institutions are still using old-fashioned methodologies, evolving financial startups are more tech-savvy and keen on leveraging new technologies. For those organizations that are lagging in digitalization, DevOps may be the first step to embrace the new digital age.
Fintech Challenges related to DevOps
While DevOps comes with a number of advantages, regulated industries might face certain challenges when implementing it:
- Limitations of secured networks
- Detailed audits
- Powerful models of access control lists
- Full cycle administration
- Integration with outside sources
Data security has always been the top priority in the financial industry. Hence, there have been quite a few arguments around DevOps due to several risk factors it encounters. As DevOps is constantly releasing upgraded software, the latter is considered a threat to banking regulations and control.
DevOps Adoption in Fintech
Despite many risks involved, the latest Database Report has stated that 2020 has seen the highest number of cases towards leveraging DevOps in Fintech that has even overcome other industries.
While Fintech companies have started to leverage DevOps, it is worth looking at particular examples and their success journeys.
Barclays, a British multinational investment bank, announced DevOps implementation in 2015, starting the journey towards digital transformation. Leveraging DevOps, it increased the quality of codes, decreased their complexity, and improved developers’ morale. Barclays has witnessed a reduction in the potential risk of delivery and is now able to guarantee a better quality of services.
There is no need to be a large enterprise to utilize Kubernetes. Lunar, a digital bank, began adopting DevOps when it split a single application into a number of microservices. But, when the disadvantages of the split surpassed the desired benefits, Lunar decided to focus more on architecture which is oriented on the application and not a machine. Kubernetes were chosen as an abstraction layer to manage various microservices and unlock their velocity. Kubernetes helped them to ensure security and identify how the application would function. Lunar now utilizes Kubernetes to run over 80 microservices.
One of the Italian banks has also made a DevOps transition. The bank started a new initiative towards digitalization in 2018 and began with using microservices, leveraging container architecture, and aimed to make a shift towards multi-tier apps. The main aim was to make development cycles faster, reduce footprints to make apps more flexible, and ensure scalability. The innovative approach expanded the company's availability across multi-zone. It is now able to provide top-notch services for a number of applications with absolutely different levels of their business criticality.
HSBC, one of the most famous financial services institutions in the world, has drastically changed the way of doing banking when they started leveraging DevOps. Aiming to deliver core services for its business clients, HSBC started utilizing the Cloud Service Platform from Google. Besides, the bank is planning to run its services on the container infrastructure that will be managed by Kubernetes leveraging Google Toolset. The mentioned infrastructure is believed to build a similar type of environment across various clouds.
On another note, HSBC chooses multi-cloud based strategies and is known for partnering with Microsoft. It also initiated a cultural shift, taking employees who were not previously involved with the fintech industry and aiming to change their inner culture to refute the stereotypes of hiring. It has been reported to invest over $10 million into DevOps and utilize CloudBees to improve its delivery system.
Financial Corporation started with Agile back in 2011. As the team of the corporation was fairly new to automation, separate teams were doing all the required testing related to security, further integration processes, and performance evaluation. Later on, Capital One integrated it into its own DevOps Team and properly automated all the processes. They moved all their testing procedures into sprints, developed a solid DevOps culture, and wired all the required testing processes into a single delivery pipeline. There are now over 600 agile teams who stick to constant delivery and benefit from DevOps implementation.
SIX, a financial organization working with digital infrastructures, is also providing various services related to securing transactions, processing financial data, and following payment procedures. SIX is one of those companies which serves as an amazing example of DevOps implementation in Fintech. They've done it perfectly well in both parts: organizational and technical. SIX’s network of ATMs controls smaller microservices with container management, having automated the processes of deployment, and testing.
SIX has encountered a number of great benefits with DevOps implementation in a strictly regulated environment. The company has witnessed a great level of traceability that came with release automation, and improved security that was made possible with an automated scan of any vulnerabilities at the system’s build time.
LMAX, a globally recognized company specializing in fintech, has all its systems working on practices that are based on Agile: everything from pair programming, test-driven development, and constant integration. The company has gone further with DevOps automation and enforced its teams to apply the code to a number of different environments, from integration to the one responsible for performance testing, which created a constant delivery pipeline.
LMAX has already invested a huge amount of funds into automation. Every build has to undergo over 20,000 test units that cover security and code failure, analyze the latter, and properly check automation integration. The process is very well crafted and ensures every piece is thoroughly checked. The last build is then picked for integration that follows the test for acceptance that includes over 10,000 cluster-tests.
ABN, a bank in the Netherlands, has started with DevOps by using containers. Having certain challenges related to compliance, ABN, later on, came up with regulations for developers on how to utilize cloud features to start the shift towards a cloud-native approach. ABN created a regulated team whose mission was to enable developers to quickly create quality and safe software that had easy platforms, covered all the security measures, and portability.
Automation in compliance
Evolving DevOps is spreading across a number of banking institutions with many of them taking it as a top priority when it comes to leveraging automation. While strict rules and regulations towards security measures make the DevOps practices in Fintech quite challenging, more and more banking services are still moving towards digital innovation.
There are banking institutions that start small and utilize such approaches as continuous integration, moving towards constant delivery, and full deployment. Such tools like Docker, GitHub, and already mentioned Kubernetes are of great help when it comes to starting the automation process that promises to increase ROI.
On another note, when companies automate their security-related controls and permissions, they will be able to remove the most common barriers for faster releases, maintaining all the required governance. In order to meet existing regulations, companies can utilize tools with a feature of a progressive audit trail. The latter provides transparency and helps to control all the access and log each and every action that can possibly affect security.
Starting a Journey with DevOps
Constantly evolving DevOps technology has already been leveraged by a number of industries, including Fintech. While the latter needs more time, and the development of more complex software, more and more banking institutions are utilizing DevOps to deliver better services and beat the constantly growing competition.
The above-mentioned cases prove that DevOps although risky, has massively improved the way financial institutions present their services. Many newly emerged companies along with a number of conventional banks have successfully started their digital journey towards DevOps implementation and keep striving for more.