How Santander embraced cloud storage for greater productivity and data security


If you were to think of an industry that would be naturally reluctant to embrace technologies such as cloud and mobility for reasons of sensitive data privacy, which one would you think of first? The two most common answers are usually healthcare and banking – so it is therefore interesting to note how Santander has gone all in on enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) with cloud storage provider CTERA Networks.

According to the bank, the opportunity to move organisational capabilities to the cloud arose as far back as 2011 to increase productivity – yet there was a huge task to be undertaken in terms of finding a solution that would pass all of Santander’s security tests. This is perhaps not unreasonable, but the proposed EFSS solution would need to prove ‘dramatically’ more cost effective, hardware-agnostic, and have high security standards when deployed in Santander data centres, including multi-user encryption keys, data redundancy, and file versioning. The deployment has been made across more than 60,000 employees across Spain and Latin America. 

The benefits, according to Pablo Ruiz Correa, head of open innovation at Santander, are tangible. “We realised the need to provide a solution for simple, anytime anywhere file access and collaboration, but we also needed to meet requirements for total data privacy and security,” he explained, adding: “CTERA has allowed us to transform how users sync, collaborate on and protect their files without requiring any of the security compromises that are common to public cloud SaaS offerings.”

For CTERA, it represents an impressive customer story, and one which fits into their enterprise-secure cloud storage philosophy. Research carried out by the vendor in September last year found that more than three quarters of survey respondents were at least somewhat concerned about consumer-grade file sync and share solutions. The company’s view has been consistent; even though the likes of Dropbox and Box – which is traditionally an enterprise player anyway – have been beefing up their security, it still is not enough against vendors who know the B2B game inside out, a view shared by fellow enterprise storage firm Egnyte.

Speaking to CloudTech in July last year Rani Osnat, CTERA VP strategic marketing, explained: “When you talk to larger enterprises, especially the ones that are in regulated industries like banking or insurance, or healthcare, they definitely have a strong preference for private cloud solutions. They have the know-how, and they have strict security and compliance requirements that are not entirely satisfied by solutions that utilise a public cloud infrastructure.”

An interesting comparison as to how banks are moving forward with technology was evinced by Spain’s leader, CaixaBank. Pere Nebot, the bank’s CIO, told delegates at this year’s Mobile World Congress that by now 80% of all contracts signed are digital, with only 8% of transactions now undertaken in a physical branch.

It is clearly a case of keeping up with the Joneses, and banks would do well not to be left behind. “Santander is now not only more productive and agile, but we’ve managed to increase our data security, control and cost savings in our journey to the cloud,” added Correa.

You can find the full case study here.