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Ready for ATM Software in the Cloud?

Written by: Tony R. Luciani, CISA, QSA
Traditionally, ATMs have run on thick client, PC-based software and hardware technologies physically housed inside the machines. However, managing ATMs powered by their own software creates inefficiencies, complexities, and expensive costs. Such challenges have been heightened following recent industry issues related to ATM security and compliance. When compared to other consumer channels such as online and mobile, this legacy PC architecture has become somewhat “ancient” in this day and age.  We also see many institutions struggling to maintain security on ATMs because on the machine’s architecture. Identified issues often include:

  • ATMs not being isolated from the Bank’s internal network
  • ATM misconfigurations and missing patches
  • The monitoring of system administrator activities

Business and consumer applications are increasingly turning to enterprise or cloud-based solutions that redesign security infrastructure and enable an efficient and dynamic customer experience. So why not ATMs? Could your ATM be run in the cloud?

NCR, a leading provider of consumer transaction technologies, is an example of an organization that recently announced that it is launching a new cloud-based enterprise software platform for ATMs. This software will run ATMs remotely on an Android operating system and is designed to reduce costs and increase ATM security. By originating from and being controlled at the server level, financial institutions will be able to deploy software changes and patches across the system at one time.

Moving to the cloud could also help in the fight against ATM robberies. For example, thieves wouldn’t be able to break into an ATM and plug a device into its USB slot that allows them to take direct control and/or expose malware.

Implementations of new technology - especially running in the cloud - will be gradual due to the regulatory environment and lack of understanding around all the controls.  However, community banks need to continually assess these new developments to ensure they are using the most efficient and effective technologies to support their employees and customers.

If you have any questions, contact Tony R. Luciani, CISA, QSA, IT Assurance Senior Consultant, at 617-261-8179 or