As a new firm, your to-do list is probably going to be quite lengthy. It will include things such as formation structures, legal requirements, service provider evaluation, etc. On the technology front, there are also many items to think through. Here’s a quick IT checklist cheat sheet that financial firms should keep handy during the startup planning process.
To learn what today’s investment management firm CTOs can do to tackle the top 7 technology challenges, download the Top Technology Challenges for CTOs and How to Avoid Them
Networking & Infrastructure
Define networking requirements
Data circuits featuring N+1 redundancy
Wireless and Local Area Network (LAN) capabilities
Design network infrastructure: Cloud, On-Premise or Hybrid
Workstations (PCs, monitors, laptops, servers)
Peripherals (printers, phones, etc.)
According to our 2019 Global Technology Survey, 64% of firms are currently using a of cloud platform, with an additional 26% of respondents planning on moving within the next two years.
As your firm evaluates moving to the cloud – as most firms today will inevitably do – your list of priorities will likely include:
Regulatory and investor impact
Migration plans and operational effects
Hardware disposal and infrastructure changes
But another critical business area your firm should put some thought into is the effect of the cloud movement on your internal IT department (assuming you have one). What exactly happens to a firm’s IT team once it moves operations into a cloud environment? Is there still value in maintaining an in-house staff?
The simple answer is ‘yes,’ but the day-to-day responsibilities for those staffers may not look quite the same post-cloud. Outsourcing to the cloud continues to grow in popularity among firms small and large. With a fully managed service provider, everyday management is typically taken care of – leaving internal resources with a lot more time on their hands. But that doesn’t mean there’s no longer a need for an IT department. And it certainly doesn’t mean IT managers should be left to twiddle their thumbs.
Cybercrime in the Legal Sector is very widespread in the UK. Law Firms are targeted for money and or information and attacks can threaten a firm's operation and or reputation. It is imperative to understand how to spot these cyber-crimes.
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.
Public cloud computing is growing in popularity among investment management firms. In the past, firms embraced cloud computing technology via the private cloud methodology due to its inherent security features and service and support model. Now, with technological advancements enhancing security, investment management firms are embracing the public cloud model. Continue reading to learn why the investment industry has warmed up to public cloud computing.
Agility, Flexibility and Scalability
The public cloud's flexibility, agility and scalability make it an ideal option for fast-growing or evolving investment firms. The ability to add or remove cloud computing resources as your business needs evolve provides flexibility (not to mention cost savings, but we'll get to that later). This also allows firms to deploy new applications, solutions or technologies in a timely manner and with greater ease.
To learn more about the public cloud, you can read Microsoft's whitepaper, "10 Myths About Moving to the Cloud"!
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.
Once you’ve decided to adopt cloud computing, it’s time to begin your search for a cloud services provider.
Likely, the first you will come across when looking for a cloud service provider is that there are many cloud service providers (CSP) out there. So, how do you know which provider is the right one for your investment firm? Following are five attributes to look for when vetting a cloud consultant:
Depth and Quality of Staff
Strong Communication Skill
A Proven Strategy
Experience in Cloud Deployment
Deep Security Knowledge
For investment management firms to embrace a security-first approach, they must regularly audit and evaluate their cybersecurity risk profile and adjust as necessary based on the evolving security landscape and technological advances. Continue reading for six questions your firm should reflect on regarding their cybersecurity risk profile.
What is our commitment to cybersecurity and what is our outlook on the future?
Regulators and investors continue to ask more questions about cybersecurity because they want to know that firms are effectively mitigating risk. To meet these growing expectations, firms must demonstrate that you take cybersecurity risk seriously and have implemented sound systems, policies and procedures to combat those risks. As the threat landscape and technology continue to evolve, investment management firms need to evolve accordingly and develop better ways to counteract threats. Firms don’t necessarily need to implement every available security technology, but they should be keenly aware of their options and have a plan to effectively mitigate as much risk as possible.
How are we addressing third party risk and oversight?
Investment management firms often rely on third party vendors to obtain functionality or capabilities that they need, want or can’t afford to produce on their own. But moving functions out of the firm's control can present challenges. With any outsourced function, the firm inherently takes on additional risks at the hands of the third party. But it's critical for investment managers to limit those risks through sufficient due diligence. To combat vendor risk, financial firms need to maintain strict oversight of all third party relationships and investigate security practices and protocols, particularly for those vendors who have access to the firm's confidential information. An outsourced vendor should be providing the same level of security (or better!) as your firm would if the function was under in-house control.
Though sometimes underestimated, developing and implementing a comprehensive employee training program creates an internal culture of security and ensures that all employees maintain a "security-first approach" to everything they do. This will make your employees an asset to your data security as opposed to a threat and bolsters your firm's cybersecurity strategy.
To learn more about creating an internal of security, downloud our guidebook, Four Step Guide to Employee Security Awareness, Culture of Security.
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.