5 Cloud Lessons Learned From Finance Industry Gurus

The advantages of private clouds and the lack of good IT talent gets Boston members of the Wall Street Technology Association talking.
The members of the Boston branch of the Wall Street Technology Association remain wary of public cloud infrastructure, such as Amazon's EC2, but some have started building out the private cloud.

The Boston chapter held its fall meeting Thursday to discuss "Cloud Computing in Financial Services." The main part of the organization is in New York, but Boston has a growing number of members. It's still home to a significant number of mutual funds, including Fidelity Investments; services for institutional investors, such as State Street; and asset management firms, such as EatonVance Management, all represented in the WSTA, noted meeting organizer Michael Maffattone, CTO of Harvard Management, the firm that supervises the $30 billion Harvard endowment fund.

Maffattone said it was the second time the group had convened a seminar around the cloud topic; the first gathering was in April. One hundred members registered but attendance was dampened by an early morning downpour that was still going on as the event got underway at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.

Amid scattered conversations related to TARP and Occupy Wall Street, members debated the merits of cloud computing, with opinions strongly divided. "We haven't had any need for the cloud," said Jeffrey Brody, VP and director of infrastructure services at EatonVance, which he described as a midrange asset management firm with a small IT staff. Nevertheless, he had come out on a rainy Boston morning because "we feel we need to understand what cloud computing offers and whether it needs to be included in our future plans."

[Want to understand why financial services worry about security? See Anonymous Threatens New York Stock Exchange Attack.]

Here are five other conclusions that stem from listening to what WSTA members had to say in Boston: