We’re in Hurricane Season so let’s look at some best practices to ensure you and your employees are prepared for the unexpected. Remember, these four Eze Tech Tips are great for the next Snowmageddon too.
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Business continuity planning. Disaster recovery. BCP. DR. You know the terms. You know investors are looking for them. But do you know what the real differences are between them?
Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery have the same goal: to implement procedures that will enable a business to recover in the event of a disaster or disruption. But each has its own focus. Business Continuity Planning revolves around people. A hedge fund business continuity plan should identify the steps necessary to get operations up and running as it relates to business functions and personnel. BCP plans usually identify mission-critical services, communication strategies, employee recovery procedures and training methods.
Disaster Recovery Planning is directly related to the technology and infrastructure that supports business operations. In developing a disaster recovery strategy, hedge funds typically examine what applications and services they have in production and which ones are mission-critical. File shares, email, accounting and trading applications and voice capabilities are often the first that come to mind, but firms should evaluate which are most essential to them. The two most important factors associated with disaster recovery planning are the recovery point objective (RPO) and the recovery time objective (RTO).
People take vacations. Companies don’t.
Hedge funds, just like most financial firms, need staff to run their technology, handle special projects, build (and manage) complex applications and of course execute core business activities. But in many cases it is not realistic or cost-effective to keep everything in-house. Enter outsourced staffing.
Outsourced staffing options for hedge funds abound. So let’s take a look at five common outsourcing practices. If you want to learn about other areas to outsource your hedge fund's technology, read our Manager's Guide to Outsourcing here.
This article first appeared in HFMWeek's Special Report: How to Start a Hedge Fund in the EU 2015.
HFMWeek catches up with Eze Castle Integration’s executive director, Dean Hill, to discuss the importance of selecting the right business service providers and the key technology factors new funds must consider when starting out in the EU.
HFMWeek (HFM): Are you seeing a healthy market for new hedge fund launches in the EU?
Dean Hill (DH): Yes. I think going into 2016 we will see an increase in terms of the amount of new hedge fund launches across the UK and European markets. Not only are these launches coming more frequently, but their size, structure and launch AuM is greater than anything we have seen in the last two-to-three years. It is certainly on the uptake.
As cloud services continue to become increasingly popular among hedge funds and investment firms, there still seems to be an area of confusion that surrounds this technology. We've talked through Why Cloud Computing is Right for your Hedge Fund and Understanding Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds. Now, let's look at three key elements to consider within the cloud: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
In a SaaS model, firms are offered a complete range of applications via the Internet, all of which are managed by the hedge fund cloud provider. This means firms can forego upfront investments in servers and software licenses and pay a predictable per-user, per-month fee.
PaaS is the delivery of a computing platform over the Internet. The PaaS model enables hedge funds to create Web applications quickly without incurring the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying software and hardware. Firms have control over the deployed applications and environment-related settings. PaaS is great for firms creating or managing their own applications or looking for testing and development environments.
Among the many technology decisions your firm will face during the launch phase is selecting the appropriate telecommunications needs to power daily operations. High-speed Internet and voice connectivity are necessary to access market data feeds, communicate with investors and facilitate trade orders and other investment decisions. To help you make an informed decision about your voice and Internet needs, we’ve provided a few suggestions below.
The Internet, of course, is an essential vehicle for collecting and distributing market data, as well as communicating with your clients, investors and partners via email. You’ll likely find four Internet access choices, depending on availability in your area. There are benefits and drawbacks to each, as described below.
Following is an excerpt from our 21-page Guide to Hedge Fund Technology Outsourcing. Skip ahead and download the full paper HERE.
As technology continues to grow as an important competitive differentiator for hedge funds and investment firms, funds are continuing to leverage technology outsourcing as part of their operational strategies.
A variety of circumstances in the industry have driven this move to outsourcing including:
The changing economic environment as a result of the financial crisis;
Increased investor focus on transparency and operational risk; and
Rising overheard costs relative to owning, maintaining and monitoring one’s own technology infrastructure.
Hedge funds and investment firms can leverage outsourcing in a variety of ways – everything from help desks to document management, virtual Chief Technology Officers and other staff to disaster recovery plans, FIX connectivity and more. But regardless of the specific elements being outsourced, funds should look for a few baseline requirements as part of an outsourcing solution:
A secure physical infrastructure;
Efficient and reliable communications;
Data protection; and
Vendor strength and stability.
On September 15, 2015, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a Risk Alert providing additional guidance on key focus areas for round two of its cybersecurity examinations. Specifically OCIE stated exams will “involve more testing to assess implementation of firm procedures and controls.” The Commission intends to focus on the following areas as a means to collect information on cybersecurity-related controls and assess the controls in place at firms:
Governance and Risk Assessment: According to the Alert, OCIE may evaluate the governance and risk assessment process for areas including, but not limited to, access control, employee training, third-party/vendor management and IT systems management. Examiners also expect to see that assessments and associated policies are specific to a firm’s business.
Access Rights and Controls: OCIE warns that the lack of basic access controls and user management policies can result in unauthorized access to systems and information. Examiners may request details on how a firm manages user rights and what supporting technologies are in place.
The following article originally appeared on HFMTechnology.
Although we are faced with change on a daily basis, especially in the hedge fund technology industry, keeping pace with ongoing tech metamorphoses does not come easy for everyone. Fear, the biggest contributor of hesitancy toward change, masks the opportunities innovation presents. Fear is what leads to IT limbo, and in an ever-evolving technology landscape, this effect can be crippling. However, with the support of expert IT service providers, the pains and fears of migrations and upgrades are alleviated.
In this article, we’ll examine the recent end-of-life (EOL), of operating system (OS) Windows Server 2003, its resultant challenges and how to overcome them.
Doing Nothing and Risking Everything
Windows Server 2003 extended support ended on July 14, 2015; however, not all users have made the transition to Windows Server 2012 R2. Why are firm’s remaining on an out-of-support OS?
The primary influencers are fear and a lack of sense of urgency to replace a still functioning OS. In the case of users still utilizing the legacy application, the risks they face largely outweigh the benefits. By doing absolutely nothing, firms are risking everything. As patches and bug fixes are no longer being provided, hackers have an unguarded entrance to access a firm’s sensitive information, passwords and banking accounts. This not only increases the firm’s odds of being hacked, but also raises the gravity of ensuing damages should an incident occur.
Additionally, if a firm’s network does crash that’s still deployed on Windows Sever 2003, the odds of finding expert support become increasingly limited with each passing year. This is predominantly due to the industry’s forward marching nature. An outdated system will only continue to fall behind in the race of technology, trouble shooting will take longer, future applications will fail to run, or crash the server altogether, and the cost to migrate increases concurrently as the pool of experts shrinks.
The bottom line is change is inevitable, and eventually 2003 will reach a point where the surrounding ecosystem won’t work with 2003 servers. Ultimately, MS will make it so the OS becomes inoperative as the company continues to evolve. So what can we do?
The world watched yesterday as Apple’s CEO Tim Cook unveiled the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus along with a number of new products and applications. Apple also introduced the latest Apple TV featuring new capabilities for games and apps, a new iPad Pro that caters to professionals and enhancements to Siri that allow iPhones, iPads and Apple TV to be more tailored to the user’s interests. In case you missed yesterday’s announcement, here is a quick recap.
Apple announced the release of 10,000 new apps created for the Apple Watch over the last year. The company has added Facebook Messaging, iTranslate and Airstrip features to the new watch. Apple claims that Airstrip is going to revolutionize the health industry by having a health monitoring tool that allows doctors to check real-time feeds of heartrates and other measurements for their patients. Apple is also looking to give the watch a makeover by working with Hermès on new models. They have added leather bands and two new anodized aluminum colors: gold and rose gold. The devices will ship out today in 24 countries; however, customers will have to wait until September 16 to download the new Watch OS 2 software to their devices.