02Cybersecurity is the biggest IT infrastructure driver

When asked to name the single most important decision factor driving their IT infrastructure investments, ECI respondents provided a diverse range of answers, reflecting a wide spectrum of corporate priorities (Figure 4). Variables such as industry, company size, geography, local compliance regulations, business and sustainability goals, and internal IT philosophies and strategies all play a role.

However, the financial sector and global respondents prioritized cybersecurity above all else (Figure 4). This is not surprising, given the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks and the critical role that IT plays in financial services organizations.

Data services and hybrid cloud flexibility were cited behind cybersecurity as critical factors for infrastructure in the financial services industry. Data services have been and continue to be essential for financial services, and hybrid multicloud flexibility is allowing financial companies to optimize for the right cloud platform and its workloads.

It's worth noting that financial companies are also more likely than the global average to consider cost as a factor in IT infrastructure investments. This is likely due to the high cost of compliance and the need to balance security with cost-effectiveness.

Regulatory compliance is surprisingly low on the list of priorities for financial firms, with just 4% of respondents citing it as a top factor. This may be due to the fact that financial services organizations are already subject to a high degree of regulation and they may feel that they have adequate controls in place.

Other factors, such as data sovereignty, application requirements, sustainability, and performance, ranked lower for financial services organizations, with only a 4% mention, when making IT infrastructure decisions.

Figure 4. Top-ranking infrastructure decision criteria (Q4)

14 %


11 %

Flexibility to run across clouds and on-premises

11 %

Data services (e.g., files, blocks, objects)

9 %

Data protection and recovery

8 %

Data distribution across edge, datacenter, public cloud(s)

8 %

Ability to easily move existing applications to the public cloud

8 %


7 %

Data sovereignty

7 %

Application requirements

7 %


6 %


4 %

Regulatory concerns and compliance

Figure 4: Top-ranking infrastructure decision criteria (Q4)

03Unified management required for diverse Finserv environments and workloads

Most ECI respondents agree that having a single platform to manage their diverse private and public infrastructures would be ideal. Among those from financial firms, 96% agreed, as did 94% of IT pros from the global response pool. It follows that most respondents mentioned data-centric issues as the most challenging aspects of managing growing hybrid IT environments that span multiple datacenter and cloud borders.

For example, those from financial environments chose security most often (49%) as a mixed-infrastructure management challenge (Figure 5). This was followed by data storage costs (47%), data analytics and orchestration (44%), and data synchronization (also 44%). Similarly, the global response pool mentioned data storage costs (43%) and data analytics/orchestration (43%) equally as top management challenges.

Although 96% of financial services respondents agreed that addressing their mixed-cloud management challenges requires visibility into all data across the extended IT infrastructure (Q11), only 42% reported actually having that visibility (Q9). This number is only slightly higher than the global response pool (40%). The visibility findings indicate a gap in capabilities, highlighting the need for integrated tools to improve hybrid IT operations. Without visibility, IT teams are unable to manage, secure, synchronize, or analyze what they cannot see.

Figure 5. Top data management challenges with mixed environments (Q9a)



Data analytics and orchestration


Data storage costs


Figure 5: Top data management challenges with mixed environments (Q9a

04Accelerating data access speed drives application migration in financial services

All respondents in the financial sector (100%) indicated that they had moved applications between IT infrastructures in the past 12 months. Nearly half (49%) cited a desire to accelerate data access as a reason for the move. This driver was followed by aspirations to improve their companies' security posture or better meet regulatory requirements (48%) and to gain the ability to integrate with cloud-native services, such as AI and machine learning (42%). In contrast, the full global response pool most often cited improving security posture and regulatory compliance (46%) as driving their applications to a different infrastructure (Figure 5).

Cost played the smallest role in decisions surrounding application movement across all industries globally. Generally, cost is decreasing in importance as both an investment and application mobility driver. For example, in last year's fourth annual ECI survey, 37% of financial services companies said cost had played a role in deciding to move an application (2021, Q17) compared to just 22% this year.

Figure 5. Reasons for moving apps across infrastructure in the past year (Q6)

Financial services


Improve data access speeds


Improve security posture and/or meet regulatory requirements


Integrate with cloud-native services


Meet sustainability goals


Gain better control of the application


Disaster recovery


Outsourcing IT management


Capacity concerns


Faster application development


Executive mandate




Figure 5: Reasons for moving apps across infrastructure in the past year (Q6)

05Cost factors remain a wild card

ECI respondents tend to be fickle in their attitudes toward IT cost, which seems to be inching downward on IT priority lists – falling to last on global respondents’ infrastructure criteria lists and tying for fourth in importance among financial companies. At the same time, most respondents rank controlling costs high on their list of challenges. For example, 87% of financial services respondents and 85% of respondents globally described cloud cost control as a challenge with managing their current IT infrastructures, and about a third of each group said it was a significant one. (Q5)

One explanation for this is that as the value and volume of corporate data continue to skyrocket, data management, security, protection, synchronization, and backup/recovery concerns are moving to top of mind. Data is a recognized business asset that must stay up to date, secure, and readily available for continued operations, analytics, and monetization.

In addition, infrastructure total cost of ownership (TCO) has many components that make it difficult to make a direct comparison during upfront decision-making, particularly given that public cloud offerings, pricing models and fees are in a perpetual state of change.