IBM RegTech Innovations

Embracing the future of fraud prevention in the multi-(cloud) verse

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Riddle me this? What do a large Australian bank, a leading U.S. financial payment solutions provider, and a major New Zealand bank all have in common? They all have recently deployed or will soon be deploying the IBM Safer Payments fraud prevention solution on their preferred cloud infrastructure – IBM Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, respectively.

The best way to choose a cloud… is to not choose

Financial services institutions frequently agonize over the decision of which major public cloud provider to choose. They are increasingly moving towards choosing multiple providers rather than just one, with different groups within an enterprise matching different providers to their needs — or as the result of a merger or acquisition. Over the past few years, multi-cloud has grown in both importance and adoption among enterprise IT and is widely considered to be the future of cloud computing. According to Gartner, “By 2020, 75 percent of organizations will have deployed a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud model.”

Open source mentality meets the cloud

However, multi-cloud isn’t necessarily the end game, nor should it be. In much the same way the open source movement has been embraced over the last 20 years, including by IBM, the next step in this journey would be to mix-and-match services from several cloud providers, where services from one technology provider are offered on top of a competing technology provider, enabling organizations to use services from different providers in different ways together. While this may have been unthinkable a few years ago, there has already been progress. Early examples of mix-and-match already exist in the market: IBM announcing the availability of Watson “everywhere,” AWS offering VMWare, and Amazon RDS for SQL Server bringing a managed Microsoft service to the AWS cloud. In all cases, customers can use familiar services where their data or applications already reside independent of the originating provider.

Fraud solution built for the cloud(s)

Advancing the multi-cloud/mix-and-match cloud approach, the way IBM Safer Payments has been designed is uniquely positioned to offer such deployment flexibility. Competing payment fraud prevention solutions comprise of a myriad set of databases and applications – each requiring license acquisitions, system resource provisioning, software installations and configurations, assigning support teams and managing SLAs. But with IBM Safer Payments all components necessary for operation (database, high availability replication, application server, monitoring, and middleware) are embedded. No other software component than the bare operating system is needed.

As we’ve noted in previous blogs, we’ve built our fraud solution from the ground up designed for speed and accuracy – including a purpose-built real-time datastore, in lieu of a generic database. The IBM Safer Payments database purpose-built compression exploits the specific structure of payment data to significantly reduce main memory and disk space requirements. This allows IBM Safer Payments applications to store many years of full transaction history with modest hardware sizing.

Therefore, systems resources commonly used are as generic and modest as can be, with a combination of commodity Intel Xeon-based server hardware and Red Had Enterprise Linux – resources available on all leading platforms and provides one of the market’s favorable price/performance ratio. In fact, a commodity server with a single small Intel Xeon E3-1231V3 CPU in a standard card issuing application will process up to 1,000 transactions per second with maximum latency of 10 milliseconds.

With IBM Safer Payments, your payment fraud prevention solution is ready for the multi-cloud/mix-and-match-cloud future of enterprise IT. To learn more, please visit our website at

Watson Financial Crimes Global Technical Sales Leader

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