Blog Entries from 10/2012
First and foremost, our thoughts go out to all those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and our team is ready to assist clients as they resume business operations.
While effects were minimal here in Boston, residents and businesses in New York, New Jersey and along the East Coast are grappling with immeasurable damage as a result of the hurricane. US markets have closed for a second straight day, and the effects of Sandy will continue to wreak havoc on financial firms nationwide.
Over the next days and weeks companies and the media will reflect on the impact of Sandy as well as lessons learned. Therefore, today’s post recaps previous Hedge IT articles focused on business continuity planning and disaster recovery. Our hope in publishing this article is to provide a handy resource for future planning.
Earlier this week, Tim Cook led Apple's latest keynote and announced product upgrades across the board. New additions here and spec upgrades there are prompting users around the globe to update their holiday shopping lists and hope for steep discounts on Black Friday. And in-between what were many foreseeable announcements, Apple also threw in a few surprises. Here are the big ones:
The new new iPad. In what might have been the biggest surprise, Apple announced it is phasing out the new iPad (released only a few months ago) and replacing it with a newer one (due out next month). Same look. Same price. Less issues. In simplest terms, they fixed all the complaints. Theres’ now more LTE support (including Sprint in the US and local providers in the UK), a faster processor faster WiFi and some better camera features. Oh and with the help of a new power adapter, quicker charging too. No major changes, but it does help to know you are getting your money’s worth and that the company you are buying from really listens to users’ input.
The iPad mini. Users want small. Technology has always been about making devices smaller; even the iPhone 5, with its bigger screen, has smaller components and a smaller weight. And now your iPad can be smaller too. Just as powerful as the current $399 model, the iPad mini has more features (Siri and LTE just to list a few) and a lower price (starts at $329). At over $250, many users might not make the jump away from their Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7, but for users considering Apple and for users who want small, I wish them short lines in the store and quick initial shipments.
Yesterday we unveiled our 2012 Hedge Fund Benchmark Study, which looks at the technology preferences of 300+ hedge funds and alternative investment firms. Since a picture is worth a thousand words (or about 4,000 in the case of our report), we decided to publish this handy little infographic on our findings.
For you lovers of words, you can download the complete report here.
When assessing technology options and evaluating outsourced IT providers, there are a number of questions hedge fund managers should be asking in order to make the best decision for their firms.
As we talk with investment managers – especially those whose firms are considering a move to the cloud – we’re hearing many of these great questions on an increasingly regular basis. One particular area where there tends to be some confusion, however, is the topic of audit standards which govern service organizations and the data centers they manage on behalf of client firms. To help you navigate through the evaluation process, we’ve pulled together a guide to understanding audit terminology and industry standards.
It’s no secret that hedge funds and investment firms have been divided over the use of public and private clouds for some time. We’ve discussed it in depth here on the Hedge IT Blog, explaining the differences between the two and why most funds are choosing to go with a private cloud solution.
A case can be made, however, that there’s a time and a place for each cloud platform and both offer their own advantages for hedge funds. We’ve taken a look at some of the key areas firms will consider when looking at public and private clouds and identified who we think takes the cake.
Service & Support
Investment firms demand uptime to ensure operational efficiency and profitability. Public cloud providers, however, do not offer hedge fund-specific IT support and rather have limited customer service representatives troubleshooting the most basic of email and desktop support issues.
On Tuesday, October 2, the SEC held a roundtable discussion in Washington D.C. focused on technology use within the investment management sector. The following article from our guest blogger, Deborah Prutzman of the Regulatory Fundamentals Group, offers some highlights and insights from that meeting.
The 2010 Flash Crash, the Knight Capital incident, the Facebook IPO and the BATS IPO were all rooted in technological failures. An SEC roundtable held on October 2, 2012 at the SEC headquarters in Washington discussed ways to prevent future incidents like these from occurring again. The roundtable gave a “thumbs up” to the adoption of a “kill switch” and focused on a number of best practices that are likely to find their way into managers’ procedures and investors’ due diligence questionnaires. Perhaps the most important takeaway, however, is that the role of the technology team, and that of the CTO, will continue to grow in importance.
Earlier this year we conducted a survey looking at adoption of cloud services within the investment management industry. One question looked at barriers to adoption of cloud services. We found that 62 percent of those surveyed said a significant “barrier” to cloud deployment was that their investors and/or clients are not receptive to the idea of cloud computing. However, nearly a quarter of firms surveyed (23%) said this factor was not very significant or not significant at all. Education continues to play an important role here, and both investment firms and investors seem to be more open to the cloud than in years past. We expect this trend to continue as cloud services become mainstream.
Categorized under: Cloud Computing
Hedge fund cybersecurity is a serious concern, and our recent webinar highlighted the technical steps that firms can take to prevent, detect and respond to internal and external security threats. But in addition to implementing technical measures to protect your infrastructure, your firm must also employ operational policies and procedures to document incidents and provide transparency to investors and auditors.
The following policies and procedures are recommended as part of an overall technology and security management strategy:
The first step you need to take is determining who at your firm needs access to what. Yes, I’m saying not every employee should be able to access every file, server, etc. Employ the principle of least privilege and only authorize access to employees who need it. The less access employees have, the less damage can be done.
After you’ve controlled access, be sure to keep a log monitoring who accesses what. Do a regular audit to determine what access levels are in place and what changes need to be made. Remember - you aren’t saying you don’t trust your employees; rather, you trust the computers and systems they are using more.
The new iPhone 5 – what do you think?
Anyone who has picked up a newspaper or read the Internet over the past two weeks since the iPhone 5's much anticipated release knows it has issues. The black model scuffs too much. Pictures look too purple. The Maps app is horrible. Everyone seems to have an issue with at least some new feature of the iPhone 5.
But in my observations, there is one thing that stands out among all those articles and negative reviews - everyone has an iPhone 5, and nobody can stop talking about it. And that's rightfully so!
The iPhone 5 comes preloaded with all the new features of the latest iOS, and it rocks. Below I've highlighted a few that you may find most intriguing. I know I've left a lot out (a review of 200 features would keep you here all weekend!), but I’ve tried to highlight some of the most significant changes.
We hosted a webinar on hedge fund security and the internal and external threats firms should be aware of. Following is a short recap of the material presented by Eldon Sprickerhoff of eSentire – a leader in the managed security services space.
For hedge funds and their investors, the reality of cybersecurity threats is a serious one and one that must be proactively and consistently monitored. Investors today expect firms to take steps to thwart potential security threats, which means using vulnerability assessments and penetration tests to identify possible risks.
The reality is that most successful cybersecurity attacks in today’s environment occur via different methods: malware via email, malware via download and transfer via USB. In most cases, an employee will download an unsuspecting virus or open an unsuspecting email, triggering a malware attack that could open the door for further intrusion. Alternatively, a trend becoming more common is the threat of employees transferring information onto USB drives (whether knowingly or unknowingly), resulting in an internal security breach.