This week, Research in Motion officially became known as BlackBerry Ltd. But will the name change really change anything for this struggling company? It’s hard to say.
BlackBerry’s woes have multiplied of late, with personnel changes, price cuts and stakeholder dissatisfaction making headlines. Just this month, two long-time board members announced they will be stepping down, while CEO Thorsten Heins continues to ask shareholders for patience as the company tries to reinvent itself and compete with its successful rivals.
On the smartphone market front, BlackBerry’s struggles continue. According to Gartner, market share has dwindled from over 50 percent in 2009 to less than 3 percent. BlackBerry’s newest device, the Z10, has already lost its luster. US smartphone carriers including AT&T and Verizon have slashed prices from $199 to just $99, less than four months after the phone’s initial release. Retailers like Amazon and Best Buy are doing one better, and selling the phones for as low as $49 under contract.
In a move likely to redefine the financial industry, the SEC voted this week to rescind an 80-year-old ruling prohibiting hedge funds from public advertising. The ruling comes as the result of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), which is intended to make it easier for small businesses to raise capital.
The Securities Act of 1933 was originally implemented following the stock market crash in 1929 as a means to regulate and control securities sold, requiring that funds register with the SEC unless they met an exemption.
Under the new rule, hedge funds, private equity funds and other investment firms will have the opportunity to publicly solicit capital via a variety of commercial advertising outlets, including websites, print ads, and social media. Hedge funds have historically been quiet on such mediums, largely due to fear of noncompliance with regulations.
Here at Eze Castle Integration we have a pantry full of thoughtful policies that help ensure we keep everything in tip-top shape. In past Hedge IT articles, we’ve shared our recipes for creating security incident policies, BYOD policies and social media policies.
Today, we are going to share our recipe for creating an Acceptable Use Policy, which governs how a company and its employees use computing resources. The SANS Institute, which has policy templates galore, also has an Acceptable Use Policy template that you can find HERE and is the foundation for our award-winning recipe.
First, define the purpose and scope of your policy by answering questions including:
- Why are the rules in place (i.e. protect firm from virus attacks, compromising of the computing network, etc.)?
- Who does the policy apply to (i.e. employees, consultants, contractors, etc.)?
We hope all of our readers, clients, partners and friends have a great Fourth of July holiday! We'll see you back here on the Hedge IT on Tuesday, July 9th for more tech talk!
You may have heard of it – the newest social media app that’s sweeping the 18-25 year old demographic – Snapchat. But what is it, and how could the technology behind it affect the business world?
Snapchat is a photo messaging application in which users can take photos or record short videos on their smartphones, then add text or drawing and send them to select contacts. When sending the content, users have the ability to set a time limit for how long the recipients can view it (up to 10 seconds), after which the photo or video will disappear from the recipient's device.
Here’s a recent Snapchat ad that depicts how the app is used:
This month, Eze Castle turns 18! The company, founded in 1995 by childhood neighbors John Cahaly and Sean McLaughlin, has grown into a global technology operation with offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia. In honor of the Castle’s (that's our little nickname for ourselves) 18th birthday, let’s take a look at 18 fun facts highlighting not only our successes on a company level, but those of the wonderful employees who make it all possible.
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is certainly nothing new (we’ve been talking about it here on Hedge IT for months). So, now that this movement has hit the financial services sector, and is clearly here to stay, the next critical step is to develop a thorough BYOD policy to help manage this transition at your firm.
Some items to keep in mind when developing your firm’s policy include:
- Company-owned mobile devices should be issued to – and personal devices approved for – only those employees who require immediate and frequent contact with co-workers, clients or partners regardless of whether they are physically located at their desks.
- Devices should only be approved in situations where the productivity gains outweigh the costs incurred by the organization to support and manage the device.
As you set out to establish your firm’s BYOD and mobile device management strategies, be sure to consider each of the following areas in order to ensure your policies are comprehensive and the firm is protected from potential security incidents.
Earlier this week, our friends at Varonis Systems joined us for a webinar to talk about information technology ownership and hedge fund data protection. IT threats as a result of external hackers or internal security breaches are on the rise, and therefore firms are encouraged to protect and audit file data in order to answer two simple questions:
Who has access to my data?
Who has accessed my data?
Let’s take a closer look at how Varonis helps investment firms accomplish this.
Context is king
Firms can hasten data protection by achieving a greater amount of context awareness. Some contextual questions to ask are:
- Who owns the data?
- Who uses the data?
- Who should have access?
- Who should not have access?
- Who granted access?
- Who moved my data?
If your firm hasn’t had to cope with the aftermath of a security breach, you’re probably one of the lucky ones. According to an analysis conducted by Ponemon Institute and Symantec in 2013, human errors and system glitches caused nearly two-thirds of data breaches globally in 2012.
With the threat of security incidents at all all-time high, we want to ensure our clients and partners have a system in place to cope with any threats that may arise. Here is a step-by-step guide to follow in the event your firm suffers from a security breach.
1. Establish an Incident Response Team.
Choose a select group of individuals to comprise your Incident Response Team (IRT). Assign each member a predefined role and set of responsibilities, which may in some cases, take precedence over normal duties. The IRT can be comprised of a variety of departments including Information Technology, Compliance and Human Resources.
2. Identify the type and extent of incident.
Before your IRT can alleviate any incidents, it must clearly assess the damage to determine the appropriate response. For example, if the incident is a computer virus that can be quickly and efficiently detected and removed (and no internal or external parties will be affected), the proper response may be to document the incident and keep it on file. This task could effectively be handled by the IT department.
For years, the role of the chief information officer (CIO) has been to acquire and maintain cost-effective IT services for the organization. Technology was viewed as a basic necessity, so managing costs and ensuring systems were running smoothly were the primary areas of focus for corporate IT leaders.
Today, technology is much more than a commodity. In fact, for many investment management firms, it has evolved into a source of competitive advantage. This change, combined with stagnant IT budgets, has caused the role of the CIO to move away from basic IT management to become more of a forward-thinking innovator for the organization. Here are a few strategies to help ease this transition.
- Expert Tips for Launching a Hedge Fund in a New Environment
- Answering the FCA's Dear CEO Letter on Outsourcing with Some Practical Steps
- Reflecting on What We're Thankful For This Thanksgiving
- Finding Your One-Stop Shop: The Benefits of Choosing an All-Inclusive IT Provider
- Three Ways Your Cloud Provider Can De-Stress Your Life
- business continuity planning
- cloud computing
- data loss prevention
- disaster recovery
- eze castle milestones
- hedge fund due diligence
- hedge fund marketing
- hedge fund operations
- hedge fund regulation
- help desk
- high frequency trading
- launching a hedge fund
- privacy compliance
- project management
- real estate
- startup & relocation
- trends we're seeing
- videos and infographics