With the increasing number of digital transactions in the country, backed by the growth of financial technology and preference for online payments, ePLDT predicts that the local data center industry is poised for further growth. Financial institutions are also seen to continue developing their digital offerings to meet customer expectations.
According to a recent PayPal study, the country is well on its way to becoming a cashless nation. It revealed that traditional — physical credit card, bank transfer, Internet banking, checks — and new payment methods are now becoming primary payment options. This growth is further supported by the steady increase of fintech (financial technology) startups in the country, which now number at 60 in 2017, according to the Fintech Philippines Startup Report by Fintech Singapore.
“The need for a more convenient payment experience has resulted in the increasing number of digital transactions,” said Nerisse Ramos, ePLDT Group’s senior vice president and chief operating officer. “This will continue not only because of preference but also due to the emergence of new markets and players that offer digital payment options. To sustain this growth, financial institutions need the appropriate IT infrastructure that’s capable of meeting their demands and responding to challenges.”
An industry report cited by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas suggested that by 2022, the transaction value of the Philippine fintech market is projected to amount to $10.5 billion, up from this year’s estimated $5.7 billion. The National Retail Payment System is targeting to increase electronic retail payments to at least 20 percent by 2020. This shows that further development is expected in the coming years.
With these findings, ePLDT believes that the explosion of data coming from the growth of digital payments will lead to financial institutions tapping data centers to provide support in key areas, such as the assurance of business continuity and the protection of sensitive customer information.
Financial services firms require fast and reliable connectivity to support digital payment activities. A data center’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) clearly outlines provider responsibilities regarding guaranteed uptime. Also, global-class data centers are designed with concurrent maintainability features that provide complete infrastructure redundancy. This allows scheduled and emergency maintenance to take place without affecting the entire system. Also, purpose-built data centers are robust enough to withstand natural disasters.
Securing sensitive customer information
Financial institutions demand airtight security, compliance, and efficiency. While others may have in-house data centers to keep data on-premise, added security features given by data center providers are vital in light of the increasing number of cyber attacks as well as natural and operational disasters. Not only can providers store data, but they can also enhance security through vulnerability scanning, network and web application firewalls, anti-virus and anti-DDoS services, among others. Data centers can also protect customer data through other security measures such as 24/7 on-site security personnel, CCTV, biometric devices, and other advanced protection features that ensure the security of sensitive data up to 99.99 percent of the time.
At the forefront
As the industry-leading enabler of digital enterprise solutions in the country, ePLDT operates a large network of data centers that provide the aforementioned services and more. It currently has 10 VITRO Data Centers located in Cebu, Clark, Davao, Makati, Parañaque, Pasig, and Taguig. All these facilities give ePLDT a total rack capacity of 9,150, said to be the largest in the country.
ePLDT’s flagship data center — VITRO Makati — holds a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) Version 3.2 certification, an international accreditation crucial for the financial industry. Compliance with PCI-DSS standards ensures that the organization is adequately protected against security breaches and theft of cardholder data.
“The boom in digital finance is undoubtedly going to happen,” said Jovy Hernandez, senior vice president and head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Groups. To this end, it is critical for financial institutions to choose the right data center services provider to meet the demands of this new market dynamic. We, at ePLDT and PLDT Enterprise, have been working hard to provide the market data center assets and capabilities that are truly world class and enable agility, scalability, and resiliency. All of these technological capabilities lead to new and better customer experience for a market that is increasingly sophisticated and more demanding of superior quality. In the end, it is all about the customer.”