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Santander to Offer Corporate Data Storage

The Spanish bank Santander is looking to take on some of the biggest technology giants by launching their own cloud service for corporate customers.

With data security continuing to be a hot issue, Santander plan to capitalise on the perceptions of banks as being a safe place. Ana Botín, chair of Santander, claims that banks have trust and resilience and this is what customers should be looking for when it comes to storing their data.

Banks are perceived as safe places and they are heavily regulated by government, which are two factors that could lead them to be competitive contenders when it comes to data storage. Research carried out by Bizrate Insights found that 72% of 6000 respondents trusted their bank with their card details. Compared against some of the technology and storage giants, with 45.4% for Amazon, 21.4% for Apple and 12.9% for Google, it does seem like trust is with banks.

However, most banks don’t have as many customers as some of the largest technology firms. PayPal has 157 million active users and Facebook has more than a billion. Both of these firms hold sensitive data. Shopping and storage giant Amazon also has more than 244 million users. Comparatively, Santander has 107 million customers.

Santander is in a good place to begin offering data storage. The bank has invested greatly in IT and uses its own in-house platform. With Santander being in such a dominant position, analysts don’t think that the firm has anything to lose by dabbing their hand in the storage market.

“On one hand, they will use existing infrastructure, so it’s just a matter of packaging the product and marketing it – and they can offer it directly to their commercial clients. On the other, I’m not sure if take-up will be huge, unless this is going to be significantly cheaper than offerings from traditional providers,” said Andrei Charniauski, research manager at IDC Financial Insights.

However, he did go on to say that he doesn’t believe that the traditional storage companies would be in danger from Santander joining the market.

One of the big questions comes in the form of cost. With cloud storage services finding it harder to compete on features, many are dropping their prices and rates continue to fall by the day. Financial services have tried to enter the storage market in the past, with Celent analyst Gareth Lodge commenting that they found this was because banks weren’t trusted in a technology sense.

Perhaps one reason for this is that dedicated IT companies can provide better IT services than banks are able to. Banks outsource their IT, but a technology firm will be handling it all in-house since it’s their bread and butter.

Putting data in the hands of the bank also makes them a more lucrative target for cyber-attacks. Not only would they hold personal data, but adding in confidential corporate documents to the mix might be asking for trouble. It’s perhaps better to spread that data, and risk, out amongst different firms.

“If you think about the big guys now, it is not the banks, it is these four large tech companies that are worth more than us. They have more cash. They have less regulation,” said Botin in regards to Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook.


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