How a cloud-native banking platform protects from outages and natural disasters

If you’re tired of unplanned downtime and outages being a regular part of your digital banking offering, you’re not alone.
May 11, 2021
Ryan Donaldson
Sr. Content Marketing Manager

There is, perhaps, nothing more disruptive for financial institutions than an unplanned outage of digital banking services. Support contact centers are immediately overwhelmed with frantic calls and messages from people detailing how being unable to access their finances has gravely impacted their lives. It doesn’t take long before those complaints make their way to social channels where the chorus of dissatisfaction grows. 

Meanwhile, your team is scrambling to understand the problem, diagnose what (if anything) can be done, and attempt to restore service as quickly as humanly possible. 

If you’re tired of unplanned downtime and outages being a regular part of your digital banking offering, you’re not alone. 

In order for credit unions and banks to truly safeguard against damaging outages and ensure constant access to digital channels, it’s essential the industry fully shift to a cloud-native approach. 

What exactly does it mean to be cloud-native? 

In the most basic terms, using the “cloud” means having access to a flexible set of computing and storage resources at disparate data centers as opposed to only having access to static resources like a stand-alone server. 

In addition to the obvious financial benefits of moving away from on-premise data storage, computing, and maintenance, a cloud-based approach gives your internal teams access to powerful data resources. In terms of below-the-line benefits, this ability to synchronize enterprise data increases collaborations and makes business innovation easier to implement and faster to deploy.

Your web and mobile banking end-users will also greatly benefit from a cloud-native banking platform – retaining the ability to sign-in and access their basic banking functions even if there’s an outage at your banking core or third-party vendor. 

A self-healing banking platform

When an outage hits, your customers and members are typically the first to notice – and vocally complain about it. Being able to monitor, detect, and automatically triage technical issues as early as possible is game-changing for financial institutions, and only possible with a cloud-native infrastructure. 

Illustrated diagram showing the function of load balancers and multiple application instances to protect from DDoS attacks and spikes in user traffic.
Cloud architecture that scales automatically.

Cloud infrastructures are designed to be flexible and monitor the flow of data coming in and out of networked servers. Whenever the load balancers detect a spike in traffic – like say, from a sudden wave of people looking to see if their stimulus checks had deposited – the increased flow of data is either scaled by automatically spinning up new cloud resources or redistributed across the availability zone to ensure that no one server is overworked.

This “self-healing” capability is what gives cloud-computing the ability to ensure layers of redundancy throughout the system. Wherever a problem flares up, the infrastructure automatically adjusts to circumvent it and restore service almost instantaneously. 

Having the protection of a redundant cloud infrastructure not only gives your internal teams peace of mind against DDoS attacks and the dreaded 2am outage – it also means your members and customers will have nearly uninterrupted access to their mobile and digital banking. 

Protecting from outages at the core

Legacy core banking systems, once lauded for their reliability, are now facing challenges in keeping up with modern digital banking expectations. Their struggle to adapt to demands for real-time transaction data, frequent feature updates, and quicker fintech integrations have led many core providers to pivot permanently to cloud infrastructure. But for financial institutions saddled with an older core banking system, the industry shift towards digital-first banking has come at the price of more frequent outages and downtime. 

A decoupled approach to your web and mobile banking platforms – one that integrates a cloud-native platform on top of a legacy core – provides an additional layer of protection against outages. Once integrated, a cloud-native platform ingests and creates a backup of raw data from the core banking system. This backup then becomes the real-time data store that communicates with the core and disseminates data across the open platform. 

Illustrated diagram for cloud-native banking platforms that showcases how this infrastructure protects from external outages at the core banking system.
Maintaining functionality even during external outages.

And if the link with the core banking system or any other third-party vendor is severed, your members and customers will still be able to login to their web and mobile banking apps, see the most recent data prior to the outage, and retain the majority of their banking services. 

With an untangled cloud-native platform, every problem at the core or with a vendor doesn’t become your problem. 

Supported by a robust global infrastructure

As a cloud-native platform, Narmi is entirely hosted through AWS – the most secure, extensive, and reliable provider of global cloud infrastructure. This hosting choice gives us the ability to dedicate exclusive resources for each of our customers and safeguard against regional natural disasters with bi-coastal disaster U.S. recovery zones. If there ever was a major outage affecting our primary hosting region, our infrastructure would use a separate AWS zone thousands of miles away. 

Cloud-computing illustration

Features and flexibility like this explain why the majority of the internet flows through AWS, including many of the streaming services and social networks we rely on every day. Aligning banking services with other major digital brands not only guarantees access to the latest in cloud security and protection, it also comes with an unexpected benefit. In the unlikely event there is ever an outage across an AWS region, your customers and members will see most of the internet go down. And while any downtime is unsettling, it’s doubtful anyone would associate an outage with the reliability of your financial institution. 

Ensuring a better user experience 

As damaging as outages are for any financial institution, the ones who suffer the most are the people who rely on digital banking services. Not being able to see an available balance, make purchases, pay bills, or manage money in any way can immediately impact their quality of life. 

Without a digital banking platform robust enough to navigate and react quickly to unforseeable disasters, you risk the possibility of your customers and members losing all web and mobile banking service – sometimes even lasting days.

Narmi Inc.
3 East 28th St. Floor 12
New York, NY 10016

How a cloud-native banking platform protects from outages and natural disasters