IBM announced on Nov. 6 that it has designed the world’s first financial services-ready public cloud and is welcoming financial services institutions and their suppliers to join. Bank of America is already on board.

Bank of America will be a committed collaborator to use the platform built on IBM’s public cloud. The bank will host key applications and workloads to support the requirements and privacy and safety expectations of its 66 million banking customers.

The financial services-ready public cloud has been designed to help address the requirements of financial services institutions for regulatory compliance, security, and resiliency. This will help financial institutions transact with technology vendors who have met the platform’s requirements.

According to IBM, it is “the only industry-specific public cloud platform that can provide preventative and compensatory controls for financial services regulatory workloads, multi-architecture support and proactive and automated security, leveraging the industry’s highest levels of encryption certification.”

“This is one of the most important collaborations in the financial services industry cloud space. This industry-first platform will allow Bank of America to use the public cloud, putting data security, resiliency, privacy, and customer information safety needs at the forefront of decision making.”

Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Bank of America

To help develop the control requirements for the platform, IBM has collaborated intensively with Bank of America. The financial services-ready public cloud can potentially enable Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers—from the smallest FinTechs to more established vendors—to focus on their core offerings to financial institutions with the controls for the platform put in place.

“This is one of the most important collaborations in the financial services industry cloud space,” said Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America. “This industry-first platform will allow Bank of America to use the public cloud, putting data security, resiliency, privacy, and customer information safety needs at the forefront of decision making. By setting a standard that addresses the concern of hosting highly confidential information, we aim to drive the public cloud to a safety level that is unmatched.”

The collaboration with IBM marks the next step in Bank of America’s seven-year cloud journey and reflects the Bank’s unwavering commitment to the security and privacy of banking customers while also creating an opportunity to address the unique regulatory and compliance requirements of the financial services industry.

The project draws upon technology and financial services industry experience earned through IBM’s relationships with 47 of the Fortune 50 companies and the 10 largest financial institutions in the world. And to help promote a regulatory compliant environment, IBM and Bank of America are working with Promontory. Promontory is an IBM business unit and a global leader in financial services regulatory compliance consulting.

“The financial services-ready public cloud represents an ongoing focus from Bank of America, IBM, and Promontory to help develop a technology ecosystem where regulations can be addressed,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, global industries, clients, platforms, and blockchain, IBM. “Together we plan to help our customer address their ongoing compliance requirements, coupled with highly scalable, standardized capabilities that will be built to help serve today’s modern financial services industry.”

The financial services-ready public cloud will help give financial institutions an opportunity to more efficiently assess the security, resiliency, and compliance of their technology vendors. Participating financial services software providers may benefit from the platform’s security validation. Only ISV or SaaS providers that demonstrate they comply with the platform’s policies will be eligible to deliver offerings through the platform.