Ep#149 Build Trust and Credibility with Cutting-Edge FinTech Solutions using AWS

August 28, 2023

Episode Summary

#awscloud #cloudcost #costoptimization

In this episode of the Jon Myer podcast, the host Jon interviews Kiante Evans, the Director of Business Development at Ibexlabs, discussing the intersection of cutting-edge FinTech solutions and AWS cloud technology. The conversation covers various aspects of the FinTech industry, its challenges, and how Ibexlabs is addressing these challenges for its customers.

Kiante defines FinTech as organizations that provide access to the global economy through digital payment systems, peer-to-peer payment solutions, and other digital banking services, making the economy more inclusive for everyone.

The challenges faced by FinTech companies include compliance with regulatory frameworks like PCI-DSS, which governs credit card transactions, and other financial regulations. Ibexlabs assists FinTech companies in managing compliance and regulatory aspects effectively.

Security is another significant challenge in FinTech, given the critical nature of the data involved, such as financial, personal, and transactional information. Ensuring security is essential for building trust with customers and maintaining the reputation of the company.

The podcast highlights that customer trust is vital in the FinTech sector, especially considering recent security breaches and data-related issues in the banking and financial industry. Building and maintaining security and credibility are crucial for long-term success.

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About the Guest

Kiante Evans

Leveraging AWS cloud technology by identifying potential areas of growth and optimization in their Cloud journey

#aws #awscloud #finops #cloudcomputing #costoptimization

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

Host: Jon

Hi everybody, and welcome to the Jon Myer podcast. Today's topic is to supercharge your AWS success with cutting-edge FinTech solutions. Our guest today is Kiante Evans, director of Business Development at Ibexlabs. Now, Kiante has been leveraging AWS cloud technology by identifying potential areas of growth and optimizing customers' cloud journey. Please join me in welcoming Kiante to the show. Kiante, thanks for joining me.

Guest: Kiante

Thank you, Jon. I appreciate you having me on and working with us and IEX over the past couple of months or so to get our story out there. About FinTech and AWS.

Host: Jon

Ket, today's topic as we are talking about FinTech and solutions out there. First of all, what the heck is FinTech?

Guest: Kiante

FinTech is complicated. It means different things to different people. For us at Ibexlabs, we characterize FinTech as an organization, whether that be nonprofit or profit that provides access to the global economy by way of maybe a digital payment system, something like a peer-to-peer payment system. Digital banking, FinTech just encompasses all of the individuals and players that connect the global economy and make it more inclusive for everyone.

Host: Jon

So we're all using some form of FinTech solution between our mobile banking apps, and those who might be using crypto, but the solution is ultimately the financial and technology and everything that goes behind it.

Guest: Kiante

Yeah, so that's a great distinction. In any way you're using a mobile, you're using a FinTech app, whether it is a mobile banking system, whether you've sent $20 to your brother on the Cash app, whether you saw something on kit.com and you wanted to put it on Klarna. Everyone operates in a world that leverages financial tools of some sort, and we work with customers, and organizations that built products that enabled us to work with those to engage in those things better and just make it easier and more inclusive for everyone.

Host: Jon

What are some of the challenges that you're seeing out there with customers who have a FinTech solution and what are they running into?

Guest: Kiante

Yeah, so FinTech, because you're dealing with global payment systems, you're dealing with transactions, you're dealing with transactional data, you have to accommodate for government frameworks such as PCI- DSS, which regulates how credit card transactions occur via within financial organizations and other financial regulations that essentially FinTech organizations have to use to make sure that they're keeping their business at a very, very high standard that will allow the public to feel trustworthy, build a lot of trust with them. And what we do is we help customers that work within that highly regulated system. We help them build out different solutions for managing that compliance and regulation, that compliance and regulatory aspect of things.

Host: Jon

How challenging is it to navigate the compliance and regulatory systems?

Guest: Kiante

It's sort of like legalese. I would liken it to having an average person try and break down the terms and conditions agreements on any one of the social networks that we sign up for. It's very difficult for the average person to kind of crack through it. So not only is it written in a way that only compliance individuals will be able to action it, it's very long and complicated because it incorporates having to adhere to very specific guidelines that are set forth by the government.

Host: Jon

So customers are trying to navigate, which I equate to the EULA, right? We're trying to read the whole user end agreement like I'm just going to sign and go towards it and whatever it is, and hopefully, I don't mess up or hopefully, the government doesn't come after me. That is

Guest: Kiante

Exactly how people treat it. Jon, it's amazing because these are regulations that are in place and if they are not adhered to any business, no matter how much value they bring to the consumer will not be in business long if they can't remain compliant. But because it's so difficult to get compliant at times they treat it just like how you described it. Like, Hey, I just hope they don't catch me. Hopefully, we can show up some of these things on the backend that makes more sense. But oftentimes we find that customers reference, they try and they just try and get by. And what we do is we make it a much easier process, a much easier standardized process.

Host: Jon

Besides the regulatory, there are several other challenges. What about security?

Guest: Kiante

Security is a big one. I mean, when you're dealing with folks that are connecting the global economy, that lends itself to having to deal with critical data, whether that's social security cards, financial data, credit card data, date of birth, there's a ton of data that's passed, stored and just transported in FinTech and security is paramount to keep that transactional data just safe for your customers.

Host: Jon

I imagine one of the challenges is not only trust, but trusting in your banking system, there's been several things going on with banks recently, data that's out there, missing deposits, and it's really difficult for customers to trust the banking system, a financial system, the security behind it. Lemme ask you, what are your thoughts on this?

Guest: Kiante

I mean, my grandmother doesn't know who to trust when it comes to digital banking at this point. She just goes with what she knows, chase.com, and I think that's what a lot of people go with, and that's why building trust and credibility and distinguishing that within your security posture is something that a lot of FinTech companies lean on. Because if you can, an extra layer of security for your customers, I liken it to your customers are looking for a new place to live. The difference oftentimes in choosing between one place to live and another is the level of security that you can provide and the security that you can come in and you don't have to worry about anybody, any threat actors. And what we've seen in the industry right now is not only are companies distinguishing themselves with new features, but security on the backend, it's become paramount as a way to distinguish yourself and build trust with your consumer.

Host: Jon

Well, I think you outlined it right there is the security of moving from one place to another. Think about it. You're moving to a new house or new neighborhood, and you're going to pick how secure is that neighborhood. How secure is my house? How much do I trust my area and my neighbors? I like that analogy. Now, let me talk to you a little bit more. We've mentioned some of the challenges not only in banking, the security, what happens when these FinTech challenges are not addressed?

Guest: Kiante

Whoa. So we can start on the security end. We've seen security breaches happen in the media and they are so staggering that it's hard to wrap your head around. So when you think about some of the breaches that we've seen, and I won't name anybody specific because we don't want to name anyone specific, but we've seen hundreds of thousands if not millions of customers' data just floating out there. And that's very difficult to stomach that you honestly, you can't get that back, right? It is very difficult to manage the security landscape today, and if you don't do it well, you'll lose your business overnight. It is just that simple.

Guest: Kiante

You can't rebuild the trust that's broken in a specific way. And when someone breaks into your bank, so to speak, you're much less inclined to trust that bank with your money. Now, it doesn't matter how long you've been there, you told me this vault was impenetrable. I trusted you with my life savings. That was yesterday and today it's gone. I'm not inclined to hear what you have to do to improve this. I'm going somewhere else. And that's what businesses can expect customers to feel like. Should there be any true security breach, particularly within FinTech, right? Because I'm not putting my money into a digital banking system that just got hacked. I don't know about you. I work hard for mine. This is something that I want to protect very intently. So any security breach of any kind is paramount for customers. So what that means for organizations is they have to invest in not only the tools to support their infrastructure, they have to bring in the people as well. And that's a journey in and of itself. But if you don't take that journey, you'll lose your customers overnight just because somebody got bored one day and you happen to be the organization that they picked that day.

Guest: Kiante

On the compliance end, it's a little bit different, right? Because compliance is sort of best practice. Best practices are methods that you should take to do good business and perform great things for your customers. But not everybody does them. Sometimes you cut corners, but when you're dealing with financial data, when you're dealing with the world's financial data, the government rightfully so, does not allow for cutting corners in any way with any of their compliance and regulatory frameworks. So you can be the best business under the sun. If you don't follow these compliance regulatory requirements to a T, your business will be shut down. It doesn't matter. And all of the goodwill that you've built up with your customers will be gone because you wouldn't comply with the government's rules, which is it's difficult for a customer to wrap their head around. You're doing business as a FinTech organization, but you want to adhere to what the government says FinTech organizations should do to provide value to the economy. So those are some of the things you can think about and you have to think about when you're talking about not showing up any of the security or compliance initiatives or goals or just challenges that one might face in the FinTech world.

Host: Jon

Well, Kiante talks about some of the people that are affected by some of these challenges, what roles are affected by FinTech, and the challenges that they need to overcome.

Guest: Kiante

So typically compliance, you'll deal with the CTO, right? The C T O and the traditional C-suite, CEO. Those are the folks that will be responsible at the end of the day for ensuring that this happens. But oftentimes when you're talking about compliance and security, you're dealing with a chief compliance officer. And it's interesting because you might also be dealing with the chief financial officer because of the ramifications financially that a security breach or a compliance misstep would have on the company. Those are some interesting new roles that we've seen become prevalent in just our consulting, but you can traditionally expect A CEO & CTO and newly chief compliance officer and CFO to be relevant folks that you're dealing with.

Host: Jon

Well, Kiante, my question next is what is Ibexlabs doing to help customers tackle some of these problems and challenges?

Guest: Kiante

So specifically, we've prioritized gaining competencies and experience that lends itself to working in highly regulated industries like FinTech, like healthcare, but FinTech. So we've enabled ourselves with the AWS DevOps competency, and what that simply states is that we can help customers build out different applications, manage those applications, and modernize those applications, leveraging a W s and the new tools that they offer to build different features for their customers. Not only do we do that, we focus intently on compliance because we understand that it's a function of doing business, but it isn't something that most companies want to focus a ton of time on. So we take the time to build out programs like the FinTech accelerator program, the managed compliance and governance program, and the managed security program that can offload different aspects of managing their infrastructure to us, particularly security compliance operations and application development as well.

Host: Jon

Are you helping customers kind navigate the compliance landscape and achieve some of those compliance regulatory frameworks that need to be happening? Or are you additionally helping them kind of re-up it or go through some of the guidelines?

Guest: Kiante

No, that's a great distinction. So we run the gamut as far as that goes. So I'll give you an example. We help a bunch of customers get SOC two compliant. So to do that, there's an evidence collection period of typically six months, and we work with the customer from day one of deciding that you want to get SOC two compliant. We work with them through the evidence-collection period. We work with them to select the auditor. We work with them to create the report and disseminate the report and help folks that are relevant stakeholders understand what's in the report, and we get them to the point that they are completely SOC to compliant. They know how to maintain that, and they have the best practices, not only in place but written down so that if we go our separate ways, we can still say that we help this customer maintain compliance, and in the event, they do want to continue working with us, we manage that entire process on their behalf. So from end to end, anything compliance we help.

Host: Jon

Hi everybody, my name's Jon Myer, and I just wanted to let you know today we're talking with Kiante Evans about supercharger AWS success with cutting-edge FinTech solutions. Now we're wrapping things up in a few moments, but Kiante, one of the questions that we're talking about is the compliance and regulatory things that customers need to go through, who's ultimately responsible for the compliance and is it a requirement to do business?

Guest: Kiante

Yes. So ultimately what we find is the CEO, if the company's big enough, the chief compliance officer is that will be their sole kind of mandate. Make sure that the organization is compliant with all of the regulatory frameworks that we have to adhere to based on whatever industry we're in. If it's a smaller company, it might come down to the CTO because oftentimes what brings folks out of compliance is technology that's added or subtracted from one's infrastructure, right? So we work with CFOs and CTOs, and if the company is large enough, and I mean enterprise, then there might be a chief compliance and governance officer, and they might split the two functions. One might focus on compliance, one might focus on governance, but those are the realms that we tend to work with it.

Host: Jon

Kiante, what is the Ibexlabs? FinTech Accelerator

Guest: Kiante

Labs? FinTech Accelerator is an accelerator service that we built, especially with FinTech companies in mind. So we tackle three key challenges that we see FinTech customers have that enable them to provide more value to their customers, and accelerate sales, but also manage their technological requirements, compliance, and security requirements. So what it does is we provide 24 by 7, 365 management of compliance, cost optimization, and security for our customers. So with compliance, that means, as we mentioned, if that means establishing compliance, we'll help you. We'll get you from wanting to be SOC two compliant through two through to SOC two compliant in addition to setting up infrastructure security, threat detection, auto-remediation, and network penetration tests, and we'll also manage the cross optimization of a W s infrastructure so that none of this is burning a hole in your pocket while you're attempting to provide value for your customer.

Guest: Kiante

Now, on the other aspect of that, we work with a w s quite a bit about helping other organizations that are building products in W's place, their product on the marketplace, and co-sell with Amazon teams. And what we do as part of the accelerator is we put our accelerator service members on the AWS marketplace and enable them to co-sell with Amazon sellers throughout the nation so that they can take their very niche product and the global Amazon sales system and integrate with them fully to find target customers and find customers that need their product and would value talking to them and receiving demos and just doing business.

Host: Jon

Now, I know Ibexlabs have several skills behind the scenes, but let me ask the question why FinTech? Why is Ibexlabs doing the FinTech accelerator?

Guest: Kiante

So FinTech for two reasons. We are principally built for managing highly regulated companies and their a w s infrastructures. We have the expertise on the engineering front, individuals that have worked at FinTech companies, and managed companies that understand what it takes and the nuances of managing and growing a FinTech organization. Moreover, we've developed a toolset working with our partners that supports that, whether that is ed, what we leverage on the security end or one of our partners on the compliance end, we've developed the right partnership ecosystem that we can put great tools in our engineer's hands to support these initiatives for our customers. But aside from that, financing, FinTech and connecting the global economy, and making it easier for everybody to access the global economy is, in my opinion, paramount to helping just the world become more of an inclusive and just well-balanced place, right?

Guest: Kiante

If we can offer these tools to folks and make their lives better, and we can support the organizations that are doing that, then I feel good about myself. I put a large stake in making sure that underserved communities are benefited by the work that we do and the support that we provide. FinTech organizations ultimately help those communities because we help them focus on being able to provide better value to them by taking care of security compliance and enabling them to connect with customers that need them, right? So that's where we come in. That's why we say FinTech because we can help the world by helping FinTech in our,

Host: Jon

What I'm hearing is Ibexlabs has the skills and the expertise to tackle the top three challenges, not only the compliance frameworks, the cost optimization, and security. Does that sum it up?

Guest: Kiante

Yeah, that sums it up. Yes, that sums it up. But ultimately, I do want to make note that I do believe that supporting FinTech companies do enable underserved communities, and that is part of why we help highly regulated industries because they tend to be the critical industries that support all of our critical ecosystems in the world. So FinTech, healthcare, we can't help every individual in the world, but if I can help an organization that helps millions, then that honestly means something

Host: Jon

Nice. I like that. Well, thank you so much for joining me.

Guest: Kiante

Listen, Jon, I appreciate it. We love hearing from you and looking forward to seeing how this turns out, and we appreciate you being part of helping us get the FinTech Accelerator and Ibexlabs out to the world.

Host: Jon

Of course, everybody, my name's Jon Myer. Thank you for watching the Jon Myer podcast. Joining us today was Kiante Evans, who's a director of business development at Ibexlabs. Our topic was supercharger a w s success with cutting-edge FinTech solutions. As always, don't forget to hit that, like subscribe and notify, because guess what, we're out of here.