With the new year now upon us, what better time to create your 2019 resolutions for your firm's IT strategy! As we know, the threat landscape is constantly evolving, cloud computing has gained momentum and is now widely accepted in the investment management industry, and new technologies and trends are emerging to support firms with their IT and operational needs.
Continue reading for Eze Castle Integration's recommendations for IT resolutions for 2019:
1.) Create a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan
As the experts in the industry say, it's not if, but when, a cybersecurity incident will occur. According to a recent report by TechCrunch, cyber attacks are set to spike again in 2019, meaning firms need to continue to stay on top of cybersecurity best practices, utilizing layers of security to protect sensitive data, of course, have a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan. This includes creating an Incident Response Team consisting of members throughout different departments in the organization, and mapping out the steps to take before, during and after a security incident.
Building on this, developing a Written Information Security Plan, or a WISP, is critical to securing your information, but also required if your firm is registered with the SEC. Having documentation of your firm's plan and systems in place to protect personal information and sensitive company information can help mitigate threats and risk against and protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of your firm's data.
3.) Create a comprehensive employee security training program
If you don't have an employee training program, it is critical that you create one in 2019. If you already have an existing employee training program, you must periodically audit this program, ensuring it is both effective and current. Having a managed phishing and training program is an effective way to train employees on how to spot and report phishing and social engineering attempts. These simulated phishing attacks against your employees provide real-time and interactive training.
Despite the recent strides by the financial industry towards improving cybersecurity policies and safeguards, studies reveal that a less-heralded group is responsible for the majority of successful cyber-attacks. Flying under the radar and opening the malware floodgates with one click of a spoof email are employees ill-informed of cyber threats and potential risks.
Unbeknownst to the employee, upon release of their mouse they have guided hacktivists into his or her company’s network, exposing business critical information, financial records, and passwords. But that’s just the beginning. The quantity and severity of subsequent damages are limitless, but so are the opportunities for improvement in the firm’s case.
Having a strong technology infrastructure in place is the backbone to any successful business. It helps firms to ensure uptime, unlock maximum operating efficiency and be risk-averse. A ‘strong’ infrastructure model is futureproof. It’s capable of responding quickly and effectively to any new opportunities and threats in the ever-evolving landscape that businesses operate in. Firms today are encouraged to evaluate their existing IT, and to think about shifting from a traditional, sluggish and inflexible structure to a more fluid model.
Keep reading for three key considerations to help your business achieve a futureproof stance.
In 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
Outsourcing in the Alternative Investment Management Industry: Navigating Cyber, Legal and Operational Risks + Webinar Replay
Investment firms are increasingly drawn to outsourcing to manage complex technology and operational requirements. And, of course, with this evolution comes a range of considerations. In a recent webinar, Eze Castle Integration’s Executive Director, Dean Hill, and, Lawrence Brown, Information, Communications and Technology Partner at law firm Simmons & Simmons, explored the cyber, legal and operational risks for firms looking to outsource.
Watch the full webinar replay here.
When it comes to protecting your business, you can never be too prepared. In the competitive investment management world, downtime for any reason is not an option. Whether it be a natural disaster, inclement weather, or even a flu epidemic sweeping the office, your firm needs to have both Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans to ensure that your firm doesn't undergo the costly financial and reputational losses in the case of downtime.
Firstly, it’s important to understand difference between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans.
Disaster Recovery refers to the policies and procedures to enable the recovery of key technology systems after the event of a disaster. A robust DR program ensures that data centers are highly redundant, have multiple entry fiber paths and multiple power grids, undergoes annual testing, and comes with around the clock support, as outages can easily occur outside of business hours.
Business Continuity refers to a document that outlines how your firm will respond when confronted with unexpected business disruptions. A cohesive Business Continuity Plan has proven methodology to ensure your firm is prepared for the unexpected, includes a detailed risk assessment and business impact analysis, has strategies and plan development, includes testing and training, and is continuously evaluated and maintained. Our new eBook outlines the seven steps to create a BCP, download your copy here.
When confronted with unexpected business disruptions, alternative investment firms must react swiftly, methodically and successfully or else risk significant financial loss. This level of response requires extensive business continuity planning to ensure all aspects of a firm’s business are evaluated and protected. In this blog, we will help you create a Business Continuity Plan and help you identify which threats pose a risk to your firm.
Operational due diligence has become a hot topic that continues to gain importance and attention throughout the alternative investment industry. Over the past few years, as regulations have changed and investors increasingly seek transparency, funds are spending more time than ever preparing for the due diligence process.
It is no surprise that the investment industry landscape is becoming more and more competitive. As this trend continues, investors are raising their expectations and looking towards funds that display the highest levels in operational excellence. One important way to ensure your firm meets these high standards is to complete a due diligence questionnaire (DDQ) that can be shared with potential investors.
A comprehensive DDQ covers a wide range of topics, from assets under management to audited financial statements and investment strategies. One major area of focus is the fund’s IT and accompanying cybersecurity policies and procedures.At Eze Castle, we frequently assist our clients in completing DDQ questions on technology, and we often see the same types of questions popping up. So, to help you get started, we have compiled the following list of some frequently asked DDQ questions.
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.
An often overlooked, but critical component of disaster recovery (DR) solutions is testing.
If regular testing is a critical component of an effective DR solution, why do many firms fail to do so? The most common reasons include:
a lack of time to commit to DR testing;
a lack of understanding as to how to go about testing their solutions;
and a belief that testing could hinder normal business operations, and is therefore too risky for the firm.