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Data centers, the most fundamental technology for financial services

Anderson Quirino •

Spurred by changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, digital migration continues its evolution, and the financial sector has had to take measures to keep up the pace and step things up to remain competitive.

Faced with requests from health institutions to maintain physical distancing, many banks found it necessary to close their physical branches, moving their services to digital channels such as mobile cell phone applications, self-service ATMs and online payments. According to Ana Inés Echavarren, CEO of Infocorp, “in Panama half of banks will seek to renew their digital channels  to provide a more modern experience in the next twelve months, so it is pertinent to take advantage of the crisis as a catalyst for leadership, as well as for the digital and cultural transformation of banking.”

According to a study by the same technology company, which sought to identify how satisfied banks in Latin America are with their digital channels, 86% of banks state that COVID accelerated their digitization initiatives, although only 40% increased their investment in technology since the start of the pandemic. Therefore, today, the most important objective for the Central American region is to largely become 100% digital, followed by renewing and expanding channel capabilities.

In the financial sector, the operation of data centers is critical 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and where does all that generated information go? In order to control banking information in the cloud, absolutely everything is stored on servers, which are located in data centers placed in racks.

Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if these financial services collapsed in the middle of a situation in which we are facing? There are many potential causes for downtime, including an error in software or hardware, but a power outage is the most common.

If banking infrastructure were to fail, there would be no smart ATMs, no credit card transactions, no online shopping, nothing. Therefore, having an energy backup in the event of a power failure would help banks store enough energy for the continued operation of their critical equipment. Thus, when the power goes out for any reason, UPS systems will be able to supply quality energy to the most critical equipment within the operation, that being the servers with all the information to carry out transactions online and in the cloud.

Another preventable cause of downtime is an improper environment in the data center. The continuous growth of data management has caused data center temperatures to increase, causing interruptions in services. Precision air conditioners, designed to support sensitive electronics in server rooms, are the answer to control rack and room conditions so servers and other equipment avoid excessive heat and outages.

In order to offer continuous service to the client and their critical equipment, sometimes it is not necessary to buy new equipment, but rather place new components to improve the operation of the equipment. An experienced infrastructure partner can assess existing data centers and provide advice on the best way to support existing and new compute within a company’s budget to meet a company’s short and long-term goals. In some cases, upgrade solutions may be the best option, this may include modifying existing equipment with controls or other options that can provide better operation. Maintenance best practices can also help to prevent downtime due to outage, such as regular monitoring and replacement of UPS. Therefore, there are companies dedicated to servicing and maintaining these backup batteries that notify the banking client when it is time to change them and ensure the equipment is functioning properly.

Predictions for Latin America, the total increase of digital transactions

E-commerce will continue to increase the percentage of online sales and purchases, so banks will continue to increase their operations and will require larger servers. According to the Salesforce State of Commerce report, 61% of companies in Latin America plan to increase investment in self-service solutions through digital channels, and as reported in the study Impact of COVID-19 on Online Sales Mexico, two out of ten e-commerce companies had a sales growth of more than 300% during 2020. This is why it is essential that banks invest in maintaining the optimal functioning of their digital channels through critical infrastructures, in order to sustain the growth of telecommunications.

At Vertiv, we have all the services to support the life cycle of our clients' data center and edge infrastructure equipment and projects, such as: commissioning - which refers to the start-up of the project to ensure that all systems are designed, installed, tested, operated and maintained in accordance with operational requirements- maintenance, renovations, repairs and equipment upgrades, as well as advanced services, including Critical Facility Management and our platform for monitoring and data analysis called LIFE™.

LIFE Services provides 24/7 monitoring for near-instant notification of operating anomalies or alarm conditions. Add in concurrent data analysis by remote system engineers, and you get exceptional system visibility. With this information, technicians are armed to quickly, accurately, and safely restore equipment to its proper operating condition.

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