Financial Services Move Toward a Greener, More Sustainable Future

May 26, 2021by Smarsh

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Corporate environmental initiatives are gaining steam. Companies with a significant carbon footprint are being urged to rethink and revise their practices to be more environmentally friendly, and to do business with organizations that have adopted the same mission. The financial services industry is no exception.

A few financial organizations are already walking the walk:

Not every company can make the top 100 list or invest billions of dollars in sustainable practices. But there is an impactful step that most financial services organizations can take to become more environmentally friendly — upgrading from resource-heavy, on-premise compliance technology to modern, cloud-based solutions.

As more business is conducted digitally, financial services organizations are contending with an explosion of communications data volume, variety and velocity. Cloud-based solutions for preserving, monitoring and analyzing data will be critical for managing compliance, and — with sustainability in mind — for handling ongoing data growth.

Managing data growth with the cloud

Many existing compliance technologies were designed when on-premise storage was adequate for managing communications data (i.e., email). But times have changed. As overall data volume and variety continues to increase, company data centers have become one of the fastest-growing contributors to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector’s carbon footprint.

Public cloud-storage services are designed to accommodate exponential data growth. Moving to solutions hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure allows organizations to take advantage of those companies’ existing, scalable data centers.

AWS has stated that in addition to addressing environmental risks, they have incorporated sustainability into data center design. “When companies move to the AWS Cloud from on-premises infrastructure, they typically reduce carbon emissions by 88% because our data centers can offer environmental economies of scale. Organizations generally use 77% fewer servers, 84% less power, and tap into a 28% cleaner mix of solar and wind power in the AWS Cloud versus their own data centers.”

The volume of data being created, captured and consumed is projected to reach 149 zettabytes by 2024, a 153% increase from 59 zettabytes in 2020.

zettabytes volume bar graph

The cloud is good for the environment, and good for business

Cloud technology has many benefits that allow financial services organizations to enable and scale efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and stay prepared for current and future needs.

Support remote work with integrated technology

Collaboration and conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom have made it possible for businesses to stay connected and productive over the last year. However, supporting the latest communications tools while also meeting regulatory obligations is a challenge. Cloud-based compliance solutions that capture and store contextual data from multiple sources make the process more efficient and effective.

Remote work has demonstrable environmental benefits. According to an article from FlexJobs, if 3.9 million people worked from home at least half the time, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equivalent to removing 600,000 cars from the road for an entire year. Other environmental effects of remote work include:

  • Lower greenhouse gas emissions: less car commuting 
  • Less fossil fuel usage: reduction in gasoline consumption
  • Lower carbon footprint: reduction in heating, cooling and lighting office buildings
  • Reduced air pollution: fewer cars on the road and less air travel

Reduce resource consumption and costs

Distributed computing outside of the cloud requires the transmission of power to and from on-premise servers. By moving vast volumes of archived communications data to the cloud, companies can greatly reduce their power consumption. This also means a reduction in the associated costs/resources required to run and maintain internal data centers.

Reinforce brand image

Becoming more environmentally friendly also provides a chance for financial services organizations to elevate their brand and appeal to more informed consumers and younger generations. Building a modern technology infrastructure and enabling the use of popular communications channels signals innovative practices in the traditional financial services world.

A sustainable, future-proof solution

Financial services organizations must prioritize their ESG (environmental, social and governance) practices or risk falling behind. Those that continue to allocate resources to outdated technology are missing out on a wealth of opportunities to innovate and stay competitive.

A cloud-native archiving solution is designed to take advantage of the superior scale, performance and extensibility that public cloud services provide. With a platform that is content-agnostic, context-aware and built for scale, financial organizations can address compliance and risk management issues in real-time. They can also build a data foundation that can be mined for new business insights.

Moving to the cloud is also a giant leap toward a greener, more sustainable technology infrastructure. Cloud solutions are investments in the future, in your employees and clients, and in the world.

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Smarsh handles information you submit to Smarsh in accordance with its Privacy Policy. By clicking "submit", you consent to Smarsh processing your information and storing it in accordance with the Privacy Policy and agree to receive communications from Smarsh and its third-party partners regarding products and services that may be of interest to you. You may withdraw your consent at any time by emailing privacy@smarsh.com.