Major aggregator the latest to move to cloud computing - but is it safe?

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Loan Market has become the latest aggregator to move its business platform into the cloud computing realm, announcing its switch to Google services across its broker network late last week.

Cloud computing systems, like Google services, allow users to simultaneously share and edit information and documents online - meaning, for instance, that a broker in Sydney can update a loan document in real-time alongside their client in Newcastle, without having to physically meet or send emails back and forth.

Loan Market’s general manager of operations, Stephen Scahill, says the new system offers a ‘dynamic’ computer technology platform and says more enhancements in broker technology are planned for 2013.

“After the successful deployment of Google Services across the Loan Market and Ray White corporate networks, we’ve begun to offer these services to our broker network, with 150 coming on-board at the end of last year and the remaining team likely to switch over in the next few months.”

While the mention of cloud computing frequently raises security fears, a Loan Market IT spokesperson says clients’ private documents and financial details will be safe.

“It’s all password protected and Google Chrome releases security updates for websites that aren’t safe – no other browsers have that – and it gives download warnings, like for spam and malware.”

The spokesman also says it's unlikely that brokers or other users will accidentally share documents or private client information with others within their network.

“You have to click ‘share’ and if [the person you’re trying to share a document with] isn’t in your organisation, a warning comes up to tell you. You would have to be extremely careless in order to share a document with someone you didn’t want to.”

Loan Market isn’t the first aggregator to use cloud computing - Mortgage Choice, one of the first to do so, switched over back in 2009. But Loan Market mortgage broker, Phil Rogers, says the introduction of cloud computing will make a big difference to how he does business.

“With access required for multiple offices, which includes several brokers and numerous admin staff, we were often faced with challenges regarding remote access. With a platform as real time and mobile as Google, our business is able to run completely live, which allows for considerably less down time and has increased the productivity of our business dramatically.”

 

  • Mary on 14/01/2013 12:28:37 PM

    I think it's a convenient way to go, but they really need to be careful that documents uploaded aren't cached by Google on their way into the system. I have that happen to a friend of mine by an accounting firm - they had all their password protection when he did a search on his name (as everyone should do occasionally) his group certificate was available for public viewing...

  • CD on 14/01/2013 12:03:51 PM

    Google is the most mature cloud solution available, with security certifications to the highest degree. Millions of business are jumping on the google bandwagon as they offer flexible access to data and provide competitive advantage to users, more so than local IT providers are capable of providing with minimal cost.Keeping your files on your local network is becoming an archaic way of doing business. Having data always available, always accessible is how to stay ahead of the pack.

  • Patrick on 14/01/2013 9:44:05 AM

    My concern is that large corporations cannot be trusted. Once you are committed with a large amount of your data stored and systems operating online from an outsiders server, what is to stop them significantly changing their pricing policy to exploit the inertia created by the cost of changing supplier? What if they refuse to allow you to copy or transfer data stored on their system? What if the locate their server offshore to keep costs down and the location becomes politically unstable? The internal politics and policy of large corporates changes with every change in management.

  • Country Broker on 14/01/2013 9:37:19 AM

    Doing this for the last 12 months , it is convenient and secure if two of the big four can do and ensure it is safew why not , I need to store my data off site and be able to access it .

  • MM on 14/01/2013 9:01:19 AM

    Yes it's convenient for brokers but it's ultimately not as secure as keeping files on your local network. And nice passing the buck back onto Google, rather than take responsibility for your own data security!

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