IT outsourcing has become commonplace in the financial and professional services industries. More firms are now seeing the value in bringing in a partner or vendor, especially with the increase in new technology and constant innovation in IT. However, choosing a vendor or partner to manage your IT needs requires your time and consideration. Continue reading for some of Eze Castle Integration's best practices when looking to outsource IT for your firm.
Perform a self-assessment of your firm.
The first step when looking to outsource your IT needs is to do some reflecting on your firm's needs. Ask yourself the following:
What is right for your firm?
What are your firm's priorities?
What is the organization looking to achieve?
An assessment can help your firm find a compatible provider who understands your industry as well as your priorities and goals.
Perform Due Diligence
Once you know what you are looking for in a firm, it is crucial to perform due diligence on an IT service provider. Have they done projects similar to this before? Who are some of their clients? Are they familiar with the specific needs of your industry? You want to make sure that your firm is aligned with the provider in terms of expectations of service, project management, as well as expertise.
Pick the Right Projects to Outsource
Not all projects should be outsourced. One common trend in the financial industry is outsourcing migration to the cloud. While a CTO or Director of IT could perform this in-house, it is a complicated project. Your firm has to consider which cloud model fits best with the organization.
In the evolving technology landscape, coupled with regulatory concerns and investor demands, CTOs at investment management firms must be prepared for a host of complex technology challenges in today’s world. Here are some of the top challenges CTOs in the investment management industry are facing today:
1.) Data Security, Privacy and Governance
One of the top challenges, if not THE top challenge, for CTOs is cybersecurity. Troublesome threats include AI-driven cyber attacks, ransomware and malware attacks, phishing schemes and internal threats, among others. Cybersecurity programs require attention, expertise and consistent evaluation to ensure you have a robust security posture, and developing the proper protections, plans and programs is time consuming and challenging.
2.) Multi-cloud Computing Challenges
While cloud computing has grown in popularity and become more accepted by investment management firms, they were more comfortable with using the private cloud based on its inherent security. Now, due to advancements in security, more firms are incorporating the public cloud into their methodology. Challenges lie in every step, from planning and deciphering which cloud model best fits their firms' needs, to implementing and securing the cloud, managing vendors, and educating employees and other internal and external stakeholders.
3.) Compliance Regulations and Audits
All businesses in the financial space need to be especially cognizant of the regulatory bodies and compliance requirements specific to their industry. Compliance audits ensure that the firm is adhering to the regulatory guidelines and drive all technology related decisions. Failure to maintain compliance can result in hefty fines or legal action. This responsibility often falls on the CTO, and it is no easy job to maintain compliance across an investment firm.
4.) Strategic Investment in Technology and Budgetary Concerns
In general, IT budgets are growing among investment management firms, and with the progressive and evolving technology landscape, new tools, technologies and services appear and create tough choices regarding budget spend. CTOs must evaluate which tools are useful, valuable, and trustworthy for the organization. For some CTO's, getting management buy-in for new technologies is a challenge of its own. On the other hand, for some CTOs convincing the management team that a technology or tool isn't the right fit for the firm is the challenge.
5.) Finding Talent
According to our 2019 Global Investment Management IT Survey, respondents indicated that lack of in-house cybersecurity talent was a top 5 concern for 47% of UK businesses and 22% of businesses in the US. The talent pipeline depends on potential hires and their skill sets, and the shortage of talent in general, specifically in security, cloud computing, data analytics and business analytics.
To celebrate World Password Day, continue reading to learn about password safety best practices! Stolen credentials like usernames and passwords and account takeover (ATO) instances are increasing at an alarming rate. This can occur when credentials are stolen and sold to the highest bidder on the dark web. This can wreak havoc on a firm's reputation, relationships, and finances. Continue reading to learn about password safety best practices.
Passwords like “12345” or “password” are very predictable, as are consecutive letters. To ensure the safety of your password and privacy, be sure to:
Keep the password complex, i.e. incorporate letters, numbers, and symbols and that change often. By doing so, this alleviates the option of someone cracking the code of your password. Additionally, aim for a long password (think 8 characters) - the longer the password the better, and same goes for complexity.
Avoid using personal information in your password that may be easy for someone to figure out. Things to avoid include your name, address, date of birth, pet’s name and children’s names. Instead, make up a sentence and use the first letters. For example, 'I love creating complex passwords with eight characters!' turns into this password: Ilccpw8c!
Make sure your passwords vary across different platforms – switch it up. It is okay to use the same word, but be sure to change it up by capitalizing different letters, or substituting letters for numbers such as changing an “e” to “3”.
Here at Eze Castle Integration, we take great pride in listening to our clients and the market as a whole. We follow a security-first approach in delivering complete cloud solutions complemented by the support of our award-winning global helpdesk, which operates 24x7x365. Whether using the public cloud, private cloud or a hybrid cloud approach, Eze Castle Integration excels in providing best-in-class solutions that address a firm’s specific needs.
Across the dark web underworld criminals are buying and selling stolen user credentials, including email addresses, usernames and passwords, to access high value (i.e. executive and privileged user) accounts. Once in a system, criminals steal financial assets, uncover trade secrets and exploit other vulnerabilities. To stop this threat, firms must monitor the Dark Web and respond.
Enter Eze Dark Web Monitoring, a cost-efficient deterrent to ATO activities. Eze Dark Web Monitoring provides early detection, alerting clients when credentials are discovered and forcing users to reset passwords.
“Cybersecurity threats rank as some of the greatest risks facing the industry today with companies of all sizes under attack. At Eze Castle Integration, protecting clients is our mission. We follow a security first approach to IT and deliver fully managed security solutions, such as Eze Dark Web Monitoring, to fortify our client environments – whether they reside in a public cloud, private cloud or on-premise,” said Steve Schoener, Chief Technology Officer at Eze Castle Integration.
Just as iPhones regularly alert us to a new system upgrade, computer networks must also update their software to address vulnerabilities, which left unattended could lead to a potential cyber incident.
The importance of patch management was highlighted in a recent webinar featuring Scott Reardon, Director of Global Technical Services at Eze Castle Integration.
Beyond simply complying with expectations, patch management is an essential line of defense in cybersecurity protection. As Microsoft’s President, Brad Smith, once noted, as cyber criminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems.
Otherwise, they are literally fighting the problems of the present with tools of the past.
“Patch management is really applying new or changing existing code to a software program,” said Reardon. “It stems from enhancements to bug fixes and in today's world it's more popularly associated with security fixes. It is definitely a lot more complex than when I started out in the IT industry.”
For more information on how ineffective patch management can leave your investment firm exposed to potential threats, read the full whitepaper here.
New technology is emerging, cloud computing is becoming the new norm and cybersecurity threats are growing exponentially, but how does this impact investment management firms across the globe? Eze Castle Integration surveyed 150 senior-level executives with IT decision making responsibility to find out how the current landscape has shaped their strategies and attitudes on cybersecurity, IT spend and third-party outsourcing.
Our newest infographic explains the findings: see it here!
More than ever before, technology has become a key element of the already thorough due diligence processes that businesses go through, in order to secure funding from investors. Thus, being able to illustrate a strong and resilient infrastructure is vital for both start-up and established firms operating in today’s wider professional services landscape.
Today’s blog article will take a look commonly asked investor due diligence questions (DDQs), as well as share best practices on how firms can leverage technology to win the trust of investors and subsequently unlock the capital needed to help their business flourish.
Download a copy of our whitepaper ‘Outsourcing in the Alternative Investment Management Industry’ to learn more about managing third-party vendor relationships effectively.
A report by leading global researcher, Gartner, found that 91% of all cyber attacks start with phishing. This reinforces the argument that human error is perhaps the weakest link in the security chain of any organization. In our most recent webinar, we illustrate the value of investing time and money to make employees your strongest security asset.
Social Engineering: The art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information
Phishing: Typically through email, but can also be via telephone or other communications where a user is tricked into browsing a malicious URL designed to appear like a site they trust, or provided with other fabricated content such as an attachment containing malware
Continue reading for a recap of the webinar.
In today’s investor landscape, operational due diligence (ODD) can eliminate a manager from consideration, regardless of a positive investment management analysis. With ODD teams increasingly using this veto-power in the decision-making process, it is important for asset managers to be cognizant and well-prepared for thorough operational due diligence tests.
Together, leading accountancy and advisory firm, EisnerAmper, and trusted global provider of managed IT services, Eze Castle Integration, hosted a breakfast seminar to share secrets to operational due diligence excellence with investment firms, in London last week.
Today’s blog article will round-up the technology considerations concerning ODD, covered at the event by Dean Hill, Executive Director at Eze Castle Integration.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years when it comes to cybersecurity, it’s that there’s a whole lot more to creating a secure investment firm than robust technology. Before identifying infrastructure components and implementing operational policies, a firm must first be clear on what its attitude is toward security. This attitude will filter through the company from the top down, and will therefore dictate how employees and the business as a whole operate on a daily basis.
To give you a clearer understanding of what we mean, we’ve created three security profiles that cover a wide spectrum in terms of security attitudes and practices.
Under the Radar: Low Security
If you’re attitude toward security is low, odds are you’re barely scraping the surface in terms of what practices and policies you should be employing to maintain proper security firm-wide. You likely rely on quick fixes to solve problems instead of looking at the bigger picture and thinking strategically about how security can both benefit and protect your business. You’ve employed minimal preparedness efforts and could be in for a difficult task if faced with a serious security incident. You probably take a “it won’t happen to me” attitude and don’t take security seriously enough – a stance that could endanger your firm in the long term.