Microsoft Gulf and Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) Monday announced their partnership to upgrade the core information technology infrastructure of QFIB’s Data Center and Disaster Recovery site using Microsoft’s Private Cloud capabilities. QFIB’s Private Cloud model will be the first of its kind in Qatar’s financial sector after it is completed. According to recent reports by Gartner in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), 44% of the financial sector Chief Information Officers (CIOs) expect that more than half of all their institutions’ transactions to be supported via cloud infrastructure by 2015. Commenting on the tie-up, Microsoft Gulf Regional General Manager Samer Abu Ltaif said, “We are very proud that Microsoft was entrusted by QFIB to design and implement such a comprehensive and mission critical project. To reinforce its commitment, Microsoft has provided the highest level of quality assurance guarantees at all stages of the project. We are also very pleased that, as part of this agreement, QFIB will be the first bank in Qatar to roll out the recently launched Windows 8 on all its PCs.” The implementation phase of this project will start in December and will entail a comprehensive transformation of QFIB’s IT environment, ranging from domain consolidation and security aspects, to desktop standardization and advanced solutions for interoffice communications. Once operational, the Microsoft solutions deployed at QFIB will provide greater cost efficiencies, faster delivery and more reliable running of applications, and a flexible infrastructure that can be scaled to meet advanced QFIB requirements. QFIB Chief Operating Officer Slim Bouker said, “We are proud to be the first bank in Qatar to deploy Microsoft’s latest private cloud technology to upgrade our IT infrastructure. Such a step will enable QFIB to enhance data security, reduce cost and efficiently support the future growth requirements of the business including servicing subsidiaries through multi-domain capabilities.” Explaining the technical aspects of the project, QFIB CIO Mahmood Shaker said, “We are confident that this project will reshape our IT infrastructure. By leveraging the Private Cloud capabilities, QFIB will introduce automation which will save on Banking Technologies and Datacenters expansion costs, improve IT service availability and enhance stakeholder experience.” Launched in 2009, Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) is the first independent Shari’ah compliant investment bank licensed by the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority. QFIB offers Principal Investments, Asset Management and Corporate Finance Advisory services.