Blog Entries from 08/2011
Last week, we examined some potential security threats within a cloud environment, including shared technology, data loss and unknown risk profiles. But these threats do not have to become realities for your firm’s environment. By doing your due diligence and selecting the right service provider, you can minimize the risk of a security threat in the cloud.
Proper security in a cloud environment requires specialized practices and processes at both the physical and virtualization level. Following are some key features to look for when evaluating a cloud services provider:
Physical Security at Data Centers
24x7x365 manned lobby with visual verification of identity
Two-phase authentication of visitors (card and biometric)
Secured access doors and elevator banks
Monitored security cameras
Additional door, motion and camera sensors
Visitor logs for cages
Key-locked cages and cabinets
Ensuring infrastructure and data security is critical to any investment firm, regardless of whether its infrastructure lives on-premise or in a cloud environment. But there have been lingering concerns throughout the industry about security in the cloud for quite some time, particularly for hedge funds and other financial services firms who rely so heavily on the safety and security of their data.
The reality is that there are security concerns with any type of technology infrastructure. Doing comprehensive due diligence around cloud architecture, management, security policies and service providers will go a long way in satisfying those concerns.
Threats in the Cloud
The Cloud Security Alliance had identified some key threats for both infrastructure and application services in the cloud. They include:
Employees in our Boston, Stamford and New York offices all felt it. Businesses and residents are still reeling over it. The 5.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Virginia today was felt up and down the East Coast, in a part of the country mostly unaccustomed to this type of natural disaster.
But like the tornado outbreak across the country earlier this summer, today’s earthquake is a reminder that a business can never be too prepared for a disruption. This is why we encourage all of our clients to create a business continuity plan that clearly and explicitly outlines business processes if something such as an earthquake strikes.
Business continuity exercises are an essential, ongoing initiative. Your plan must be regularly tested using predefined strategies, which detail the conditions and frequency for testing applications and business functions. The testing strategy should include testing objectives and associated measurement metrics, scenario scripts and test schedules.
Perhaps more than any other industry, financial firms rely heavily on premier technology. However, this typically requires a significant up-front investment in hardware and other IT equipment. To avoid this major cost, many alternative investment organizations are opting to lease the equipment they need rather than purchase it.
Leasing is one of the most flexible and cost-effective financing tools available. Through leasing, businesses can easily make changes to their IT environment without worrying about accounting concerns such as write-offs, depreciation or disposal costs. Leasing is particularly popular among firms seeking to maximize corporate finance efficiency while using their world-class technology infrastructure as a key competitive differentiator. Leasing offers an efficient and effective strategy for organizations looking for maximum return from their IT investments with minimal risk.
I recently sat down with Pam Corrigan, Eze Castle Integration’s Lease & Maintenance Specialist, to discuss why leasing makes sense for hedge funds and other financial organizations.
As we’ve talked about before, cloud computing is one of the hottest trends in the hedge fund industry right now. We recently hosted a webinar, Moving to the Cloud: Critical Considerations for Fund Managers, to talk through what’s driving this trend as well as some of the key factors hedge funds and investment firms should take into account when evaluating their technology infrastructure. The information below was presented by our expert panelists.
What’s driving the move to the cloud?
There is little doubt that the movement to the cloud within the hedge fund industry is significant. For startup firms, especially, cloud adoption is becoming nearly universal. In addition to cloud adoption, the general trend toward outsourcing continues to grow, as investment firms realize that multiple aspects of their business can be outsourced (human resources, accounting, etc.).
There are a number of factors responsible for driving the cloud computing trend, including investor acceptance, the increased need for disaster recovery, staffing considerations, and, of course, cost.
Whether launching a new fund or enhancing the operational efficiency of an existing firm, choosing an external provider to which to outsource your IT needs is an important decision that should be made only after careful consideration of all options. To help with the evaluation process, we have compiled a list of eight factors to keep in mind when selecting which outsourced technology provider is a best fit for your organization.
1. Breadth of Solutions
Does the IT provider offer all of the solutions and services necessary to encompass all aspects of the technology foundation required to help your firm operate effectively and efficiently? These can vary depending on your firm’s specific business requirements, but may include such solutions as backup & recovery services, business continuity planning, disaster recovery, email & IM archiving, telcom services, cloud services, application hosting, consulting and project management.
In this first installment of our Hedge Fund Technology Roundtable Series, we’ve asked technology and service professionals throughout our company to answer one question:
Find out what our experts had to say! And stay tuned because next month we’ll be back with another hot topic as part of our Roundtable Series.
“Cloud computing is the biggest trend in the industry right now. Nearly 90 percent of firms we have engaged with year-to-date are interested in the cloud on some level. With cloud services, firms have increased flexibility and scalability and often lower costs, so it’s no surprise that it’s become such a growing trend.”
As you may or may not know, August 6th marks the day that Verizon union workers have vowed to go on strike if a new contract is not agreed upon. This past weekend, nearly 15,000 union workers mobilized for a large rally outside the Verizon headquarters in New York City; additional rallies are scheduled to take place this week in Boston and around New England.
Contract negotiations involve about 35,000 workers from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and another 10,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), all located in the East Coast region, which spans from Virginia to New England.
Eze Castle Integration works closely with Verizon in helping our clients maintain connectivity to a variety of outlets, and we have informed our clients of the potential outcomes as a result of this looming strike.
Categorized under: Communications
In today’s technologically demanding business environment, hedge funds and investment firms are constantly seeking ways to improve efficiency in order to stay competitive and profitable within budgetary restraints. One strategy for achieving this objective that is becoming increasingly popular in the investment industry is wide-area network optimization, or WAN optimization.
What is WAN Optimization?
A company’s wide-area network (WAN) encompasses all aspects of its global enterprise. This network connects all offices and individuals who are a part of the organization across all physical locations. Traditionally, connectivity between workstations is faster and more efficient when both are located within the same office space. When sharing information between PCs, laptops or mobile devices that are in different geographic locations, the lag time is often greater.
Ideally, firms would, of course, prefer to have rapid information sharing capabilities between all points on their WANs. However, the costs involved in implementing telecommunication lines with enough bandwidth to accommodate this type of connectivity are typically very high. Since telcom charges are incurred on a recurring monthly basis, this could result in an astronomical investment over the long run.