INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Contributed Content, Singapore
Bruce Maslen

COVID-19 and the challenge of off-site connectivity: The view from Singapore


When the full magnitude of the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, trading firms across the Asia-Pacific had to deploy their pre-existing business continuity plans (BCPs) - It has been an eye-opening experience. Firms have discovered that BCPs are much more than a box-ticking exercise. The planning that goes into one can determine the success–or even the survival–of a firm.

Whilst the challenge has been formidable, many companies have been able to make the transition with remarkable speed, deploying soft trading turrets at home via hybrid-cloud and private network technology. In Singapore, upwards of 90% of dealers are now trading from home. The picture is similar across the Asia-Pacific region, compelling companies to embrace new vendors and technology platforms.

The Asia-Pacific trading community, using remote trading solutions, was well placed to deal with the pandemic. When protests broke out in Hong Kong earlier this year and forced companies, in some cases, to work from home, they were able to deploy Enhanced VaaS systems at short notice. It was a dry run for what was to come.

Companies that have not used SIP technology until now have had sizeable challenges. In Singapore, when the MAS essentially directed firms to activate their BCPs, not only did those companies need to work out how to meet a host of technical and workflow requirements, but they also had to contend with supply chain issues in terms of purchasing and installing technology.

Some firms were able to get their traders up and running from home within 24 hours, just by establishing VPN connections. However, there were still in-house compliance procedures to work through as most firms had not previously allowed trading outside of the office. In addition, many traders who are used to being able to have an IT person come to their desk at the drop of a hat, working alone from home has brought its own new challenges.

The financial community has learned how to adapt to Covid-19, but it knows that this certainly will not be the last time it faces such sudden upheaval. The pandemic has shown the limits of on-site deployment and the need to be able to use hybrid cloud trading solutions quickly, efficiently and seamlessly. A hybrid solution can help balance concerns around security and privacy with access, where appropriate, to the resources of the full public cloud. It can also serve as a staging or bridging solution as a firm moves towards full public cloud adoption, enabling legacy applications to be maintained alongside cloud deployments.

Undoubtedly, the cost-benefit analysis for new technology is going to look a lot different in the future. Squeezing out the last bit of value from a legacy system may no longer make as much sense as it once did. What will make sense will be the ability to seamlessly have your traders work from anywhere, without loss of performance and most importantly with complete business assurance.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Bruce Maslen

Bruce Maslen

Bruce Maslen has over 25 years of experience in Financial Services IT and is currently Vice President of Sales, APAC for IPC Systems. IPC Systems is a leading provider of communications and networking solutions powering the global financial markets. IPC brings together one of the largest and most diverse global financial ecosystems spanning all asset classes and market participants enabling the community to interact, transact and react to market changes and challenges.

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