How Canadian Financial Institutions Can Modernize IT Infrastructure

Financial institutions must replace legacy infrastructure, connect with the right partners, and meet end users where they are

Wellington Lordelo
Chris Christianopoulos
How Canadian Financial Institutions Can Modernize IT Infrastructure

While all businesses stand to benefit from digital transformation, the opportunities and challenges facing the financial services industry are unique. Financial institutions are pursuing digital transformation to help them deploy innovative solutions customers can use when and where they want, safeguard data and protect against financial crimes, manage costs, meet aggressive sustainability goals, and more.

Furthermore, Canadian financial institutions pursuing digital transformation must also account for the specifics of doing business in Canada. For instance, they may need to meet data privacy and sovereignty requirements that are stricter in Canada than in some other countries. They may also have to serve a customer base spread out across the vast Canadian landscape while using digital services that tend to be concentrated in a few major metro areas.

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Digital innovations are driving deep changes across the banking landscape as customers and partners demand seamless, near-real-time services and transactions. To gain a competitive advantage, banks must rethink their legacy, monolithic banking platforms and build an infrastructure that enables them to connect, collaborate and scale effortlessly.

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Network cables. Hard working experienced technician holding network cables and checking the connection while being at work

Canadian financial institutions simply can’t overcome these challenges relying on legacy IT infrastructures. To prepare for success now and into the future, financial institutions must replace legacy infrastructure by modernizing all three components of digital infrastructure—the digital core, ecosystem and edge:

  • Digital core: Moving away from siloed, centralized infrastructure in favor of distributed, interconnected infrastructure.
  • Digital ecosystem: Interconnecting to partners and service providers to access digital services, collaborate to drive innovation, and exchange data securely.
  • Digital edge: Deploying digital infrastructure in proximity to end users—no matter where in Canada those end users are—to enable reliable, low-latency delivery of digital services.

Together, these three components form what Equinix calls an Interconnection Oriented Architecture®, as shown in the graphic below.

Replacing legacy infrastructure with cloud-adjacent on-premises systems

The benefits of retiring traditional data centers are clear: in addition to helping financial institutions gain flexibility and resilience, it’s also the first step toward a more manageable OPEX purchasing model and lower carbon emissions. Replacing legacy infrastructure with a hybrid multicloud approach built around cloud-adjacent infrastructure at the core gives financial institutions the best chance of meeting all their different priorities.

A cloud-adjacent strategy means deploying core workloads directly in colocation facilities that are also home to cloud on-ramps, as well as connections to other key service providers. Cloud adjacency can help financial institutions unlock on-demand interconnection to the cloud services they need to improve operational efficiency, better manage IT resources, and set the foundation for interoperability with key business partners.

Tapping into secure ecosystem access and open banking foundations

Financial institutions need to interconnect with an ecosystem of partners and service providers to access world-class digital services, collaborate to build the most innovative solutions possible, and enable secure, real-time exchange of data. To tap into the global financial services ecosystem, Canadian financial institutions must find the partners that best meet their specific needs, and interconnect with those partners quickly and securely.

In the past, financial institutions may have connected with their ecosystem partners over the public internet, with all its inherent security and reliability concerns. Now, they can create direct, private interconnections with their partners, enabling secure high-frequency data exchange. This is also the first step toward preparing for the future of open banking. Financial institutions that begin creating secure, private connections to their partner ecosystem now will be in the best position to maximize data access and collaboration in the future, helping drive innovation and competitive advantage.

Supporting personalized services with edge infrastructure

Deploying infrastructure at the digital edge allows financial institutions to offer personalized services that can help them stand out in an extremely competitive industry. For instance, auto insurance companies could offer customized rates and coverage based on driver profiles, while payment providers could create special capabilities to protect their end users from fraud.

These and other personalized services require financial institutions to capture and analyze massive amounts of data to support advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) capabilities. Running AI/ML at the edge empowers Canadian financial institutions to infuse data-driven insights into their services in near real-time, while also meeting data sovereignty requirements and removing the need for expensive long-haul circuits.

Equinix helps Canadian financial institutions increase flexibility and serve customers better

As the world’s digital infrastructure company™, Equinix is helping financial institutions across Canada undertake digital transformation. Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) colocated data centers are available in more than 65 metros worldwide, including eight in Canada. Equinix has the colocation footprint needed to support financial institutions, whether their goal is to improve delivery of services within Canada, expand globally, or both. That’s why we like to say we’re bringing the best of Equinix to Canada, and the best of Canada to the world.

Since Equinix partners with more than 3,000 cloud and IT services providers and 1,800 network service providers worldwide, it’s very likely that any partner you may need to interconnect with is already part of the Equinix ecosystem. With Equinix Fabric™ interconnection services, financial institutions can connect to those partners at software speed, enabling them to adapt their partner ecosystems quickly to respond to changes in the market.

Canadian Western Bank is one Equinix customer that made the shift from legacy data centers to a modern hybrid cloud infrastructure. Working with Equinix helped CWB take their digital presence from regional to national, replace CAPEX with OPEX, and access low-latency on-ramps to public cloud and SaaS providers.

To prepare for success now and into the future, financial institutions must replace legacy infrastructure by modernizing all three components of digital infrastructure…”
At Canadian Western Bank, we are relentless in proactively finding ways for our customers to succeed. Being proactive for our clients means achieving our infrastructure strategic plan and requires strategic partners. With the help of Reliant Technologies Solution Group, Equinix was chosen as our value-add data center partner and have demonstrated they are committed to our success by enabling our vision of one team that feels seamless and integrated.” - Dion Dubé, Sr AVP, Infrastructure Services, Canadian Western Bank

Start your digital transformation today

Digital transformation is not a one-size-fits-all proposition: just as each financial institution is unique, so too will they all take a unique approach to modernizing their digital infrastructure.

No matter what your digital transformation ends up looking like, Equinix has the services, expertise and global presence needed to support you. To learn more or get started planning your digital transformation, schedule a strategy briefing today.

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Watch the replay of our keynote session from the Payments Canada Summit, featuring Lance Homer, Equinix’s Global Head of Digital Payments & Banking.