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Four Signs It's Time to Break up with Your IT Provider

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Broken HeartIn any relationship, when things are good, they’re usually pretty good. And when things are bad, sometimes they are really bad. There may come a point when you need to evaluate whether you’re still a good fit together.
 
Just like with a romantic relationship, your firm’s connection to a service provider (especially an infrastructure/cloud provider you rely on daily) should be strong enough to withstand a few hiccups and healthy enough to warrant open communication at all times. In some cases, it might be clear that you’re in a good place and moving forward together, but sometimes there are sure signs it’s time to call it quits.
 
Here are a few of those signs:

1. Your provider’s service levels are not up to snuff.

Maybe you recently experienced a major service outage or find that you not-so-conveniently have to work around confusing and interrupting maintenance schedules during work hours. You’re constantly frustrated and don’t feel like you are receiving the level of support that was agreed to – both verbally and as part of your Service Level Agreement (SLA).

Your SLA should clearly indicate the uptime standard (e.g. 99.995% availability) as well as repercussions to any breaches in the contract (for example, service credits) and associated RPOs if disaster recovery is involved

Categorized under: Cloud Computing  Disaster Recovery  Security  Hedge Fund Due Diligence  Hedge Fund Operations  Help Desk  Infrastructure  Communications  Outsourcing  Trends We're Seeing 



Back to Basics: What is an Order Management System (OMS)?

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Eze Software GroupWe are excited to be sponsoring the 2014 EzeSoft Client Conference later this week in Boston. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Eze Software Group is the owner of the order management system, Eze OMS, which is frequently used by hedge funds and asset managers across the globe.
 
As a preview to this week’s conference, we thought we’d dial it back to basics a little and explain exactly what an order management system is and why it’s a critical piece of software for many investment management firms today.

Categorized under: Software  Launching A Hedge Fund  Cloud Computing  Hedge Fund Operations  Communications  Outsourcing  Trends We're Seeing 



Apple to iPhone Users: Here's How to Protect Your Devices

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Security has been THE topic of 2014 thus far and was amped up last week when many A-list celebrities’ phones were hacked and racy photos released. The hack was allegedly the result of an iCloud infiltration, prompting many Apple users to question the company’s privacy settings. In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook released a letter to consumers, and the company’s website will now feature a privacy section:
 

Apple CEO Tim Cook


Apple’s privacy site includes details on both the built-in security features within Apple devices as well as how users can manage their own privacy settings and tailor them to individual needs. Here is a brief snapshot of some security functions highlighted:

Built In Privacy

  • iMessages and FaceTime calls are protected with end-to-end encryption

  • iMessages and SMS messages are backed up to iCloud, but can be turned off by the user

  • All iCloud content is encrypted in transit and when stored (in most cases)

  • iCloud Keychain allows users to create strong passwords and stores them securely without giving Apple access

  • Safari blocks third-party cookies on all devices and offers private browsing

Categorized under: Communications  Cloud Computing  Security  Software  Trends We're Seeing 



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 



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