Thursday 20 October 2016 1:57 pm

Bank of England head of future technologies: Technology can be cure, not cause, of risk

Technology shouldn't be feared as being the bringer of risk to financial institutions, a key member of Bank of England staff has said today.

"We recognise that new technologies can actually reduce risk," said Will Lovell, head of the future technologies division at the Bank of England, while participating in a panel at a British Bankers' Association conference today.

In particular, Lovell said he was keen to see where serverless solutions, like the cloud, would take the financial services sector in the near future.

"Certainly cloud technologies are very interesting and I think there's been a rapid maturing of that in the last couple of years," Lovell said, adding: "We are fast approaching the point where actually cloud will be (for certain businesses)…more secure than trying to do it yourself."

Read more: The nation's firms could face £122bn in cyber security fines by 2018

Despite Lovell's embracing of the cloud, he was still keen to stress that cybercrime was a very real risk to business, remarking: "I think there was some suspicion some time ago that this was perhaps a mechanism for people like myself to inflate their department."

There's no shortage of stories of high-profile companies, including TalkTalk and Sony, falling victim to cyber attacks, and, in reference to the latter, Lovell noted it was worth business leaders asking themselves: "What if that happened to me and how would I deal with it?"

Lovell added one of the key aspects that needed to be examined in the near future was "understanding where the technology is actually reducing risks and where it is just moving it around".

Read more: The government is seeking closer ties with business to battle cyber threat

Speaking on the same panel as Lovell, Andrew Douglas, chief executive of Global Trade Repository Europe and MD head of government relations Europe and Asia at Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, highlighted, while technology could be used to reduce risks, companies still had to take ultimate responsibility if things went pear-shaped.

"You can devolve the mechanics but you can't devolve the responsibility," Douglas said.

Figures from Financial Fraud Action UK, published last month, found there is now an incident of financial fraud once every 15 seconds in the UK.