Google LLC today introduced a new reference architecture designed to help financial institutions deploy technology from SWIFT SC on its public cloud platform.
SWIFT, for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a Belgium-based organization that operates an international payments network of the same name. The SWIFT network is one of the financial sector’s most important systems. It’s used by banks to carry out international transactions worth trillions of dollars annually.
Financial institutions access the SWIFT network using a suite of technologies called Alliance Connect. The suite includes hardware appliances that enable banks to establish secure VPN, or virtual private network, connections to SWIFT. Alliance Connect hardware appliances often run in a financial institution’s on-premises data centers.
SWIFT recently debuted a new offering, Alliance Connect Virtual, that will enable banks to connect their cloud environments to the SWIFT network. Alliance Connect Virtual is the focus of the reference architecture that Google detailed today.
A reference architecture is a blueprint that simplifies the process of deploying new technologies. Google is developing a blueprint that will make it easier for financial institutions to connect their Google Cloud deployments to SWIFT. The offering will become available later this year, Google said.
“Typically, organizations require either hosting SWIFT infrastructure hardware on-prem or in co-locations or consuming SWIFT services from external third-parties,” explained Google Cloud solutions architect Chris Page. “Alliance Connect Virtual is a new network connectivity solution that enables SWIFT customers to deploy traditional physical hardware based SWIFT VPN connections as virtual appliances in the public cloud.”
The reference architecture Google is developing comprises multiple components. The architecture includes SWIFT software products that can run on Google Cloud, according to Page. There are also hardware components, which financial institutions can deploy at co-location facilities.
The components of the reference architecture that run in the cloud make use of several different Google Cloud services. Encryption keys used to secure sensitive data will be managed with the search giant’s Cloud Key Management service. Organizations can harness Cloud Interconnect, a networking service from Google, to establish connections to the co-location facilitating storing the hardware components of their reference architecture implementations.
“The entire architecture includes private VPC networks with stateful firewalls for egress/ingress traffic between SWIFT applications, SWIFT VPN, and the SWIFT network,” Page detailed.
Google is promising multiple benefits for customers.
Using Google Cloud gives financial institutions access to the platform’s data analytics and machine learning services, which can help uncover opportunities to increase operational efficiency. Google is also promising lower data center costs as well. “Virtualized SWIFT components like the SWIFT VPN enable customers to run on optimized virtualization platforms and help customers avoid separate license agreements with hosting providers,” Page wrote.
Cybersecurity is another area where Google’s architecture may simplify operations for customers. To use the SWIFT network, financial institutions have to comply with a set of cybersecurity requirements known as the SWIFT Customer Security Controls Framework. Google Cloud provides an extensive set of features for defending cloud deployments against hacking attempts.
The financial sector is an important focus for Google as part of its efforts to grow its cloud business. Last May, the company debuted an offering called Datashare that makes it easier for organizations such as banks to access market data. A few months later, Google introduced a set of features designed to help banks use Google Maps to provide a better user experience for consumers.
The search giant’s efforts to grow its presence in the financial sector have been paying dividends. Google Cloud announced deals with several major financial institutions including KeyBank, Bank of New York Mellon Corp. and exchange operator CME Group Inc. over the last few months.