Moving to the cloud is one of our favorite topics here on Hedge IT, and there is a compelling argument for hedge funds and alternative investment firms to consider leveraging the cloud for some or all of their infrastructure. INDOS Financial, an independent Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) depository based in London is one firm that chose to utilize the private cloud for their growing firm, and we’re excited to share their experience with you.
Watch the video below for an interview with Bill Prew, CEO and founder of INDOS Financial, as he talks about selecting the right technology infrastructure for his firm’s increasing demands.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Nasdaq was reconsidering its Amazon-based cloud product, FinQloud. According to the Financial Times, FinQloud has failed to gain significant traction in the marketplace amongst financial services firms including broker-dealers and exchanges. If Nasdaq pulls out of the deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS), it would be a major disappointment to Amazon, who is actively pitching AWS to large financial institutions and enterprises.
Whether the limited adoption of FinQloud is a sign of a product flaw or a larger industry trend, we feel it important to draw attention to a longstanding debate within the financial services industry – a debate that we’ve shared our thoughts on here on Hedge IT many times: public vs. private clouds.
It’s certainly possible that the slow adoption of FinQloud is a result of concerns over mass public cloud usage – a stern reality for many financial services firms who expect and demand that their critical applications and data be stored in a highly secure and available environment. Hedge funds and investment firms, in particular, cannot afford unexpected downtime, and unfortunately, we’ve seen several public cloud providers experience major outages in recent years. Just last week, Dropbox users logged in to find the service was unavailable, and Amazon and Google have both found their services in the headlines in recent years over very large and public disruptions.
Earlier this week, we hosted a webinar on the topic of application hosting in the cloud and featured our newest partner, Black Mountain Systems. Our speakers looked at the benefits firms can realize from hosting their hedge fund applications in the cloud as well as the future of cloud adoption. Let’s take a closer look at what was covered. If you’d like to watch the full event replay, click here.
Here at Eze Castle Integration, we see the adoption of cloud computing continuing to grow in a significant way, particularly among new startup firms. Realizing the operational and financial benefits of a cloud infrastructure, nearly 95 percent of new startup funds are opting to utilize the cloud. Existing firms are also shifting in this direction (though at a much slower pace), and we’re seeing on-premise infrastructure deployments starting to decline.
It has been said that cyber weapons can be as dangerous as weapons of mass destruction. To emphasize this, at last night’s FBI Citizens Academy seminar on cyber security in financial markets, the speaker noted that if you take out an industry (think financial, teleco) you can cripple an entire country.
But just how would this happen? What’s in a hacker’s tool kit? Quinn Shamblin, executive director of information security at Boston University, provided a glimpse into the cyber security underworld.
Targeting Your Favorite Device
Let’s start with Mobile Device Security. Hackers are shifting their focus and resources to mobile devices. They recognize that a user’s life is virtually encapsulated on his/her mobile device. From contacts and email to documents, passwords and banking apps, mobile devices now hold as much as or more personal information than PCs or laptops. And most devices do not have anti-virus/malware software installed.
Just last Friday, Apple released a critical update to its iOS 7 operating system after a flaw was identified that could give an attacker with a privileged network position the ability to capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS (aka public key encryption). Following that announcement, researchers at a cyber security firm (FireEye) published a proof of concept for a surveillance app that, if created and distributed by hackers, could capture every tap on an iPhone’s screen. The information captured, including passwords and credit card numbers, would be accessible to the attacker. These are just two examples of the cyber security threats facing mobile devices. Users need to be aware that these threats exist and practice smart computing on all devices.
Investment risk plays an important role in the life of a hedge fund manager, but technology risk should not. When it comes to your firm’s technology systems and operations, you want things to run efficiently, not add more stress to your already crowded plate.
Mitigating technology risk is a critical step to ensuring your hedge fund operates smoothly and successfully. Following are a few areas to keep in mind as you evaluate your firm’s technology risk:
Layers of Redundancy
One way to reduce your firm’s technology risk is to add layers of redundancy throughout your infrastructure. Whether you’re utilizing a cloud infrastructure or an on-premise environment, your servers, networking and telecomm lines should feature N+1 availability, a configuration in which multiple components have at least one independent backup component to ensure system functionality continues in the event of a failure.
At the end of last year, we predicted security would continue to be a hot topic in 2014 - and our experts agree. It's still such an important topic for hedge funds and investment firms to be educated on that we even dedicated our first webinar of the year to it.
Expert speakers from Eze Castle Integration and eSentire spoke earlier today about security incident response priorities and offered best practices for investment firms looking to plan before a security breach occurs.
Watch the video below and learn more about the three critical phases of security incident management:
I know, I know, we say it every year. But can you believe another year has come to an end? Even more amazing? We’ve now been bringing you fresh content on Hedge IT for nearly four years – including close to 400 articles! As we look ahead to 2014, we want to extend a huge THANK YOU to our loyal Hedge IT readers and hope you’ll stick around to see what we have up our sleeves in the New Year. Here’s a hint: it may even include a fresh new look...
With that said, as we do every year, let’s take a look back at some of our most popular Hedge IT articles from 2013. Here are some of your favorites (and ours, too).
Back in September, we revealed the results of our 2013 Survey: Examining Cloud Usage within the Investment Management Industry. In conjunction with IDG Research, we surveyed more than 100 financial services firms and found that nearly all of them (87%) are using the cloud in some way. Other key findings included the dominance of the private cloud (74%) and the growing belief that the private cloud is just as secure as an on-premise infrastructure. Read the complete survey report here.
Categorized under: Trends We're Seeing Business Continuity Planning Cloud Computing Disaster Recovery Hedge Fund Operations Hedge Fund Regulation Infrastructure Launching A Hedge Fund Outsourcing Security Software
They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here is an infographic of our 2013 Global Hedge Fund Technology Benchmark Study that explores the most common front, middle and back office applications and technology used at today's hedge funds.
At last week’s Hedge Fund Launch 2.0 seminar, the topic of the malicious Cryptolocker malware that is circulating was highlighted as a wakeup call for why backup and security are nonnegotiable IT components. Questions abounded about this new evolution in malware so today’s post aims to address the who, what, when and where of Cryptolocker as well as a few other common Qs.
What is Cryptolocker?
Cryptolocker is a new variant of ransomware that restricts access to infected computers by encrypting them and demanding that the victim pay the attackers a ransom in order to decrypt and recover their files. Some versions of Cryptolocker can encrypt local files as well as external hard drives, network file shares and even cloud storage services that allow local folders to sync with online storage. The malware is severe and a real threat. If a company becomes infected and does not have their files backed up the files may be lost.
At Eze Castle Integation we have had clients become infected. Thankfully in these cases the clients had the appropriate backup systems in place and were able to restore the files to the pre-infection state. As of this time, the US-CERT says the primary means of infection appears to be phishing emails containing malicious attachments. The attachments may look like legitimate emails, so it is important to remind users not to click on any email links if they do not know the sender.
As we look forward to 2014, we can expect that the hedge fund and investment management industry will continue to evolve and experience change as in years past. As more and more new funds launch, the competition for investors will increase and firms will be hard-pressed to live up to the successes of the top performing funds in the industry.
Earlier this week, we gathered several panels of experts in Boston to share their insights into the hedge fund landscape for startups in 2014 and the tips and advice for firms looking to compete in the changing marketplace. Following is a brief recap of the event.
Building a Hedge Fund is Like Building Any Successful Business
When starting a new firm, it’s critical to think about all aspects or forming a new business. Yes, your investment strategy is important, but if the foundation of your business is not critically thought out, it will wreak havoc for your firm. Following are a few areas you shouldn’t overlook as you go through the launch process.
Categorized under: Business Continuity Planning Cloud Computing Hedge Fund Due Diligence Hedge Fund Operations Hedge Fund Regulation Infrastructure Launching A Hedge Fund Outsourcing Security Trends We're Seeing