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.
For investment management firms, downtime caused by technology or application failure is not an option. Efficiency and speed are critical functions in this industry, and if your firm doesn't have the in-house experience to manage and troubleshoot IT issues, unnecessary downtime is inevitable. Continue reading for four signs that your investment management firm could benefit from an IT help desk partnership.
1.) Teams are suffering from downtime.
2.) Processes are stagnant.
3.) The firm doesn't have the in-house experience.
4.) Your IT team doesn't have the bandwidth to support the firm's employees.
If your firm is showing any of the signs above, you could be operating at lower efficiency and wasting valuable time and resources. This is not only frustrating for employees, but bad for the bottom line. Utilizing a help desk partnership is an excellent way of streamlining processes, creating additional resources for employees, improving efficiency and even increasing morale.
When evaluating partners for your help desk, make sure that they have deep financial services industry knowledge and experience, are well known and recognized in the industry, and come with raving reviews. If your firm is global, make sure that they offer global support, and have engineers live 24x7x365. On top of this, having a partner who utilizes a service management system, or a ticketing and tracking system, will keep your tickets organized and helps streamline the client support.
For more information on Eze Castle's Help Desk, contact us here.
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
Technology has changed the working world and continues to do so as it evolves at a rapid speed. Law firms around the globe have seen a significant improvement in the speed and efficiencies of business processes, gained from IT advances over the past two decades. Equally, the number of threats and risks targeting firms are on the rise. Cyber-attacks and social engineering methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated and deceptive in their approach to steal confidential client and firm data. For example, law firm Mossack Fonseca was under international scrutiny when more than 11.5 million firm documents, coined as ‘The Panama Papers’, were leaked in 2017. More recently, we’ve seen reputable businesses such as Facebook and British Airways fall victim to malicious breaches. As a result, firms and their clients are becoming more risk averse and paying greater attention to the security measures and practices in place to protect their reputation. And, with October globally recognised as ‘Cybersecurity Awareness Month’, there is no better time for firms to assess and strengthen any defence practices in place.
The support of a trusted managed services provider can help your firm keep on top of all things IT and leverage new innovations to retain and build your client base - all whilst boosting your operating efficiency as a business. Consider these top five reasons for partnering with a trusted managed services provider to see how you can take your firm to the next level.
When evaluating technology providers, there are a number of factors to consider when determining which is the best fit for your firm. One important, and often overlooked, criterion is the quality of the Help Desk. Firms rely heavily on technology, but no technology is completely infallible. In the event of an unexpected issue, having a knowledgeable, experienced Help Desk at your fingertips is essential.
So, what makes an exceptional Help Desk?
In today's blog article, we will take a look at some critical considerations and provide guidelines for what to look for when selecting a Help Desk provider for your firm.
Reminder: Don't forget to say thank you and celebrate your System Admins tomorrow - because July 27th is System Administrator Appreciation Day!
Here at Eze Castle Integration, we feel lucky to have some of the best and brightest System Administators in the business. From keeping our network up and running to dealing with day-to-day troubleshooting in the office, we appreciate everything that they do to keep our operations running smoothly.
A volatile economic environment, increased investor scrutiny and changing regulations have put the spotlight on organizational transparency and operational risk at investment firms. These factors, combined with the rising overhead costs inherent in owning, managing and monitoring a technology infrastructure and related services, have caused technology to take on a greater importance in recent years. It’s become a competitive differentiator and – with the explosive growth of cloud computing –a game-changer for funds’ operational strategies.
One major change we’re seeing within the industry is a trend toward outsourcing. In the past, we’ve discussed a number of outsourcing options, such as cloud computing, colocation, FIX connectivity and staffing. Today, let’s take a deeper dive into one aspect of outsourced staffing: leveraging a third-party help desk for day-to-day technology questions, systems management and troubleshooting.
It’s no secret that investment management firms (including hedge funds and private equity firms) have historically been divided over the use of public and private clouds. We’ve discussed it in depth here on the Hedge IT Blog, explaining the differences between the two and why most funds are choosing to go with a private cloud solution.
A case can be made, however, that there’s a time and a place for each cloud platform and both offer their own advantages for financial services firms. We’ve taken a look at some of the key areas firms will consider when looking at public and private clouds and identified which we think comes out on top.
Service & Support
Investment firms demand uptime to ensure operational efficiency and profitability. Public cloud providers, however, do not offer investment-specific IT support and rather have limited customer service representatives troubleshooting the most basic of email and desktop support issues.
Spam is essentially a term used to describe emails that make their way into a recipient’s inbox without their consent. According tothe Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG), almost 90% of all email is considered spam. Due to this shocking number, spam filters are widely used to assist users in keeping tabs on emails that are actually relevant. How do these spam filters work? We don’t know a lot about the algorithms used to operate them, and that’s probably a good thing. With that type of information floating throughout the web, spammers would be able to easily beat these filters, and we’d see cluttered inboxes everywhere. But despite our lack of knowledge on the intricacies of spam filters, there are a few red flags to avoid and best practices to adopt to keep genuine emails from entering total oblivion.
How Spam Filters Work
As mentioned, no one can be 100% certain how a spam filter flags an email, as they use many different benchmarks to judge an incoming message. A few hallmarks include:
IP Address – If your IP address has been flagged for sending spam in the past, it will impact the deliverability of your mail. This extends to your ISP as well. Where some ISPs attempt to eliminate spam from their servers, some take a more relaxed approach to spam.
What The Email Looks Like – Filters will look at the subject line and body of an email. If the filter deems either of the two to resemble spam, then your email likely won’t make it into someone’s inbox. Words and phrases such as “free” & “buy now” are often cited as trigger words.
Code – An innocent mistake many users make is using text formatted from Microsoft Office applications. Unfortunately, this creates rather messy HTML code with unnecessary lines of coding.
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.