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Say Hello to Eze Voice, Our Next Generation Cloud Voice Solution

By Mary Beth Hamilton,
Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Last month we covered the five myths about Voice over IP (VoIP) in preparation for the general availability of our next generation Eze Voice service. In case you don’t recall, the myths we debunked were:

  • MYTH 1: Poor Call Quality – Everyone Will Know I’m on VoIP

  • MYTH 2: VoIP is Unreliable – I’ll Experience Downtime

  • MYTH 3: I’ll Lose Critical Functionality Required by My Investment Firm

  • MYTH 4: I Can’t Keep My Phone Number

  • MYTH 5: Someone May Hack My Phone System

Now that Eze Voice is officially here and already being used by many clients, we wanted to give it a little shout-out, so here goes. Eze Voice is an innovative hosted voice solution that combines high levels of redundancy and quality of service with the communication features financial firms require.

The newest version of the Eze Voice service leverages Eze Castle Integration’s premier global cloud platform, Eze Private Cloud, and is ideal for firms that want to benefit from the flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness offered with a cloud-based voice service. Featured benefits of Eze Voice include:

Categorized under: Communications  Cloud Computing  Eze Castle Milestones  Trends We're Seeing 



19 Tips to Prepare for a Power Outage, Part 2: Individuals and Families

By Matt Donahue, Business Continuity Analyst,
Thursday, August 28th, 2014

In Part One of Tips to Prepare Your Investment Firm for a Power Outage, we shared 21 key steps from one of Eze Castle Integration's Business Continuity Experts, Matt Donahue, which can help firms to develop a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

In Part Two, we discuss measures that individuals and families should take to prepare for a power outage or blackout.

19 Tips to Prepare You and Your Family

During an outage, it pays to have yourself and your family prepared.  Take time and talk to your family about outages and what to do when they happen.  Consider impaired or elderly family members and neighbors that may need assistance during an outage.  Do research on your town's or city's emergency preparedness plans. Learn how they will identify shelters, warming/cooling stations, and announce their opening.

Categorized under: Business Continuity Planning  Disaster Recovery  Hedge Fund Operations  Communications  Software 



21 Tips to Prepare Your Investment Firm for a Power Outage

By Matt Donahue, Business Continuity Analyst,
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Extended power outages and blackouts have the potential to impact not only businesses but also our personal lives. Without electrical power, some business functions may cease entirely, resulting in the loss of valuable data and production time.  

With Hurricane Season here and Tropical Storm Cristobal brewing in the Atlantic, we are running a two part series contributed by one of our Business Continuity Experts here at Eze Castle Integration – Matt Donahue.

In today’s article Matt looks at the steps or actions investment firms and other businesses can follow in order to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from an extended outage or blackout. Then Thursday’s article will focus on these same topics but for individuals.

Preparing for Power Outage21 Tips to Prepare Your Business

During an outage, investment firms risk data losses, experience logistical issues and experience unfavorable or impossible working conditions. Heavy reliance on technology items, IT systems and software can put businesses in a difficult situation during an outage, especially if they have not pre-planned or completed a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).  Other mitigation activities such as purchasing alternative or back up power sources such as batteries or generators are good ways to ensure power for essential items.

Here are some other helpful steps and precautions investment firms should consider.

Categorized under: Business Continuity Planning  Disaster Recovery  Hedge Fund Operations  Communications  Software 



Assessing Your Firm's Attitude Toward Security: What's Your Type?

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Thursday, August 21st, 2014

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years when it comes to security, it’s that there’s a whole lot more to creating a secure hedge fund (or any business for that matter) than robust technology. Before identifying infrastructure components and implementing operational policies, a firm must first be clear on what its attitude is toward security. This attitude will filter through the company from the top down, and will therefore dictate how employees and the business as a whole operate on a daily basis.Security
 
To give you a clearer understanding of what we mean, we’ve created three security profiles that cover a wide spectrum in terms of security attitudes and practices.

Under the Radar: Low Security

If you’re attitude toward security is low, odds are you’re barely scraping the surface in terms of what practices and policies you should be employing to maintain proper security firm-wide. You likely rely on quick fixes to solve problems instead of looking at the bigger picture and thinking strategically about how security can both benefit and protect your business. You’ve employed minimal preparedness efforts and could be in for a difficult task if faced with a serious security incident. You probably take a “it won’t happen to me” attitude and don’t take security seriously enough – a stance that could endanger your firm in the long term.

Categorized under: Security  Launching A Hedge Fund  Cloud Computing  Disaster Recovery  Hedge Fund Due Diligence  Hedge Fund Operations  Hedge Fund Regulation  Infrastructure  Communications  Outsourcing  Business Continuity Planning  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



Putting the Smart in Smartphone Security: Six Consumer Tips

By Katie Sloane,
Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Mobile devices have transformed the way we manage our everyday lives: from how we track our bank accounts, to interacting with friends and family to booking travel, and so on.  Everything you need is at your fingertips, but are you taking the proper security measurements to protect your device?  Below are a few tips to help keep your smartphone’s data safe. 

  1. Set a Password: When you do not set a password to lock your phone, anyone who obtains possession of the device has instant access to all of your apps that automatically log-in upon launching. This is a simple security measure to take and yet, according to Consumer Reports' annual State of the Net Survey, only 36 percent of smartphone owners have a passcode. From a business use perspective, any device that accesses corporate email or networks should have a complex password and be managed by mobile device management tools such as AirWatch or Good Technology.

  2. Mobile Security Apps: Looking to the future, we expect the adoption of mobile device security apps that provide antivirus, privacy and anti-malware protection to increase. And for good reason. According to the June 2014 McAfee Labs Threat Report, mobile malware has increased by 167 percent in the past year alone. Companies, such as AirWatch, aim to ensure your enterprise mobility deployment is secure and corporate information is protected with end-to-end security. 

Categorized under: Security  Communications  Software  Trends We're Seeing 



Five Myths about Voice over IP (VoIP): Hedge Funds Take Notice

By Mary Beth Hamilton,
Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Voice over IP has come a long way especially in the business world, but many investment firms still have hesitations about making the switch. In honor of our recently enhanced Eze Voice service, which runs over the Eze Private Cloud Network, we decided to tackle five common myths about Voice over IP.

MYTH 1: Poor Call Quality – Everyone will know I’m on VoIP

Call quality is a key concern and can be impacted by a number of items including the network, available bandwidth and even the type of phones being used. However, a well-designed business-caliber VoIP system can deliver quality of service comparable to an in-house phone system. In business settings, where calls are made over private IP connections, Quality of Service (QoS) can be monitored and guaranteed because the entire IP connection is controlled by the party making the call.

When evaluating VoIP services, it is important to inquire about the underlying network and how voice traffic is prioritized and routed. You want a provider that has full control over network traffic and can ensure high quality of service. For added confidence, ask to speak with existing VoIP customers (over the phone!) to hear about their experiences first-hand.

MYTH 2: VoIP is Unreliable – I’ll Experience Downtime

A natural extension of the call quality concern is the reliability concern. While consumer-grade VoIP services work over the Internet to deliver low cost services, Business-grade VoIP services often use the Internet as a backup and have private IP point-to-point lines for primary connections. If Internet is the primary transit, be sure you are working with a VoIP provider who manages the entire network and has control over traffic prioritization. In most cases you want to ensure voice traffic takes precedent over data or travels on a different network.   

Categorized under: Communications  Launching A Hedge Fund  Cloud Computing  Hedge Fund Operations  Infrastructure  Real Estate 



FCA to Financial Services Firms: Social Media Promotions Require #Ad Compliance

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Hedge fund marketing and advertising has greatly evolved in the past few years, both with regulatory changes taking effect (in the US, the JOBS Act now allows public advertising) and new forms of media emerging, particularly social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.Social Media Apps
 
In the UK this week, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took steps to further regulate how financial services firms market to consumers by launching guidance consultation on social media usage. As evidenced by FCA Director of Supervision Clive Adamson, the consultation is intended to ensure financial promotions on social media platforms protect consumers and are disseminated in a way that fairly balances both benefits and risks.
 
“The FCA sees positive benefits from using social media but there has to be an element of compliance. Primarily, what firms do on social media must ensure customers are at the heart of their business. Our overall approach is that financial promotions, whether on social media or traditional media, should be fair, clear and not misleading. We have had extensive industry engagement on this issue and we believe our guidance is a sensible approach that doesn’t affect industry’s ability to innovate using new forms of media. We recognise social media are constantly evolving. We, therefore, welcome feedback to [the] consultation and look forward to continuing the discussion with industry."

Categorized under: Hedge Fund Regulation  Security  Hedge Fund Operations  Communications  Trends We're Seeing 



Cloud Computing: The Growing Competitive Advantage for Hedge Funds

By Katie Sloane,
Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The competition amongst firms in the financial services industry is ever burgeoning, and in order to achieve differentiation, it is imperative for firms to create and maintain robust, manageable, scalable and reliable technology infrastructures. Increasingly, we’re seeing more than just emerging managers opting for a cloud solution and established hedge funds and alternative investment firms shifting gears from traditional on-premise IT infrastructures to cloud services.Why the Billion Dollar Club is going Cloud
 
If you missed our webinar yesterday on Why the Billion Dollar Club is Going Cloud, read our recap below or scroll down to watch the full webinar replay, featuring Eze Castle’s Managing Directors Bob Guilbert and Vinod Paul.

The Business Case for the Cloud: Why Established Firms are Making the Move

Across the industry, established firms that have been in business for several years are moving away from physical infrastructures and adopting the cloud. Traditionally, investment firms would allocate substantial capital budgets to build on-premise Communication (Comm.) Rooms. These cost-intensive infrastructures can take months to build out, and specific expenses can vary depending on a firm’s unique needs. For example, at minimum, investment firms require file services, email capabilities, mobility services and remote connectivity, as well as disaster recovery and compliance. Beyond those, many firms also require systems and applications such as order management systems (OMS), customer relationship management tools (CRM), and portfolio management or accounting packages.

Categorized under: Cloud Computing  Disaster Recovery  Security  Hedge Fund Due Diligence  Hedge Fund Operations  Hedge Fund Regulation  Infrastructure  Communications  Outsourcing  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



BCP Testing Outside the Conference Room: Hello, Real World

By Matt Donahue,
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Business Continuity StatisticWhen most people envision Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and testing, they conjure up images of conference rooms, hardcopy documents, projectors and key personnel. But the real world is a different reality.

In recent memory, there have been many situations that have disrupted businesses - be it by natural disaster or as a result of human interference. In either event, people need to be able to reestablish essential business functions, communicate, and make decisions as quickly and easily as possible. 

Although many organizations do an annual BCP review, the big question is whether they truly test the process, ease of accessibility, and the time it takes an organization/leadership group to go from unsure about the situation to confidently executing a thoughtful game plan.

What can make a considerable difference in terms of functionality and familiarity with the plans and recovery procedures is to practice -- not only verbally in the conference room setting, but also by taking time to troubleshoot and brainstorm to determine what works and what may need a second look. There is a lot that can be learned from being unplugged and “kicked” out of the conference room and asked to assume a role outside of the comfort zone. This can be done simply by taking away some of the accepted norms during a test. The following scenario illustrates issues that arise when the accepted norms are chipped away.

Categorized under: Business Continuity Planning  Disaster Recovery  Security  Hedge Fund Operations  Communications 



IT Security Dos and Don'ts to Live By

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

We spend a lot of time educating our clients about security best practices and encouraging them to implement comprehensive security policies and procedures to mitigate risk and protect both the firm and its employees. And for good reason. Just today, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a report stating data breaches across the state more than tripled from 2006 to 2013 and cost businesses more than $1.37 billion last year alone.

While companywide policies should reflect long-range expectations and corporate best practices, they should also include tactical recommendations that employees can follow to ensure they are complying with the company’s overall risk strategy. In addition to providing employees with security best practices they should follow, don’t forget to also include a list of actions they should not. Here are just a few pieces of advice we regularly offer our investment firm clients:

DO:

  • Lock your computer and mobile phone(s) when you leave your desk and/or office

  • Use care when entering passwords in front of others

  • Create and maintain strong passwords and change them every 60-90 days (We recommend a combination of lowercase & uppercase letters and special characters)

Categorized under: Security  Cloud Computing  Disaster Recovery  Hedge Fund Operations  Infrastructure  Communications  Business Continuity Planning  Trends We're Seeing 



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