Outsourcing Is In For The Financial Sector In Singapore

Singapore

Essential to all positive partnerships is trust, something consumers around the globe increasingly demand of the financial and insurance sectors post the GFC.  

A survey by information services firm Experian and market researcher IDC in 2017 found consumers in advanced economies such as Singapore and Hong Kong tend to have a lower tolerance for breaches of trust namely fraud. They expect better protocols, policies and IT platforms of professional service firms than those in other markets.

Sound IT solutions are core to creating trusted, secure businesses, more so once they start to grow and increase at scale. But not every entity invests in internal IT expertise, opting instead to outsource customer-focused solutions like mobile interactions to third parties such as Soprano Design.

Why is outsourcing becoming more popular?

Outsourcing frees up capital for other priorities, reduces headaches, and optimises business opportunities by allowing each party to focus on what they’re experts at. 

According to a BCG report[1], banks are also, “increasingly turning to outsourcing to acquire and manage IT assets and control costs,” with some estimates putting the percentage of outsourced services as high as 42%. 

But as the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) stresses, “the service can be outsourced, but the risk cannot.” All outsourcing risks need to be comprehensively addressed to safeguard businesses and customers.

But who do you turn to, and who do you turn away from?

To reassure the finance sector, the ABS recently established guidelines on control objectives and procedures, and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) regulations on outsourcing and technology risk management, with industry feedback. Post audit, an Outsourced Service Provider Audit Report (OSPAR) was issued and made available to industry clients.

What is OSPAR and how does it control security standards?

It details that IT controls such as adopting industry-leading cryptography standards should be deployed to protect customer information and other sensitive data in accordance with the MAS Technology Risk Management (TRM) Guidelines. This is in addition to the entry level controls required of OSPAR-audited organisations to ensure sound information security policies are in place for systems and networks to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of systems and data.

According to a leading Cyber Security vendor, “92 per cent of organisations surveyed (in January) have seen a rise in cyberattack volume, while 95 per cent said that the attacks have become more sophisticated.[2]

In June, the Singapore Government announced tighter measures to protect personal data following multiple data breaches[3]. These risks further highlight the importance of choosing a provider that safeguards an entities interests, and those of its customers, and having a robust system in place especially as the loss of confidential information or disruption to its services by a financial institution can result in regulatory breaches. 

Soprano Design becomes an OSPAR audited service provider

Following the release of the OSPAR, audited service providers were identified and listed on the ABS website. Soprano Design’s Singaporean operation was pleased to be included among those to gain attestation by the OSPAR after a comprehensive audit process by ABS.

Our Mobile Enterprise Messaging Suite offered by Soprano in Singapore meets strict ABS guidelines and provides assurances to financial institutions that internal controls meet the ABS’ objectives regarding the provision of outsourced services[4].

Soprano’s trusted messaging platform creates efficient and fast communication throughout finance ecosystems. The platform is built for scale, speed, and deliverability along with geo-redundancy to handle volume spikes and maintain high platform availability. Real-time, two-way mobile interactions offers a seamless, personalised customer experience across all digital channels – voice, SMS, email and interactive IP messaging.

Equally importantly, the platform integrates easily with banking IT systems and empowers financial organisations to automate customer service processes on a variety of communication channels. With API integrated digital mobile interactions, many financial companies around the world are improving their overall performance, both in productivity and revenue with greater customer satisfaction and trust.

Soprano is committed to ensuring the right person receives the right information at the right time. We have built our reputation in Singapore on enabling intelligent and trusted mobile interactions. We’re looking forward to together, with our telco partner StarHub, to helping even more financial services firms deliver secure and trusted communications to their customers.

And with the worldwide voice and text messaging communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) market is forecast to grow from US$2 billion in 2017 to US$10.9 billion in 2022, choosing the right OSP is critical.

IT service advisory company Gartner[5] predicts that by 2022, 75% of organizations that outsource email and collaboration tools won’t meet their critical recovery objectives during a supplier outage. Email and collaboration applications are considered mission-critical resources for most organizations. Conducting business without them can impede production, result in lost transactions and hamper crisis management activities. When an organization outsources these applications, many suppliers do not provide recovery with short timeframes.

Our messaging platform is known however for creating efficient and fast communication throughout finance ecosystems. It’s built for scale, speed, and deliverability along with geo-redundancy to handle volume spikes and maintain high platform availability. And being attested by the ABS gives our customers in Singapore an added layer of confidence in our business and the assurance that what we deliver is secure and trusted.

About the Author: Mohamed Odah, Chief Technology Officer at Soprano Design. As the Chief Technical Officer for Soprano, Mohamed leads a team of developers and operations staff in the successful execution of Soprano’s global technology operations and logistics strategy. He oversees platform expansion strategies, integration of new service capabilities, talent acquisition and the design and delivery of innovative platform evolution solutions to support Soprano’s rapid global growth into additional geographies and businesses.

[1] https://www.bcg.com/publications/2018/banking-cybersecurity-blind-spot-how-to-fix-it.aspx

[2] https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapore-organisations-see-rise-in-cyberattack-volume-complexity-poll

[3] https://www.asiaone.com/digital/singapore-roll-out-13-measures-protect-citizens-personal-data-following-data-breaches

[4] https://www.abs.org.sg/docs/library/abs_outsource_guidelines.pdf

[5] Smarter with Gartner: “Tackle Tomorrow’s Digital Business Security Risks”, Katie Costello, March 25, 2009

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