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.
In a recent survey, we asked 150 IT decision-makers working within the global investment management sector to better understand how widespread technological change is affecting the industry. Managed cloud computing and outsourcing IT services were immensely popular among respondents, with 4 out of 5 respondents attesting to leveraging one or both of these offerings, while the rest are not currently using, but planning to use in the future.
Time for your firm to make the move? After you have deemed that it is time to move to the cloud, your firm needs to choose the right cloud consultant and the right cloud for your firm. Following are five attributes to look for when vetting a cloud consultant:
Depth and Quality of Staff
Strong Communication Skills
A Proven Strategy
Experience in Cloud Deployment
Deep Security Knowledge
Here at Eze Castle, we're 100% focused on client satisfaction and wrap every service in award winning support. Our managed support services combine quality, timely and professional support, as well as 24x7x365 global help desk access.
From our client technology managers and engineers to our global help desk analysits and solution consultants, we're dedicated to ensuring our clients receive outstanding support and the right technology solutions. Our team aims to be a client's technology operating partner focused on building a long term relationship. But, don't take our word for it!
Watch our newest video to see what our clients have to say about our award-winning support!
As investment management firms grow, the cyber threat landscape evolves and new and improved technologies emerge, it is critical for firms to outsource their IT to a managed service provider who they rely on to provide the best possible support, service and products. Continue reading for five signs that your firm has outgrown their 'Mom & Pop' IT shop and is ready for an upgrade.
The service level isn't meeting your needs.
For investment management firms, having the appropriate support and service level is crucial. Investors are vigilant about mitigating operational risk, and by leveraging a provider with a 24/7/365 Help Desk, you can ease their minds by ensuring your employees, systems and network have constant support. Additionally, if your existing IT service provider isn't responding to emails or returning calls in a timely manner, or you if their support is inconsistent with your service level agreement (SLA), it may be time for an upgrade.
They lack experience with cutting-edge technologies and strong partnerships.
If your IT provider isn't using cutting-edge technologies and best-in-breed solutions, it may be time to consider an upgrade. When outsourcing IT, you want to make sure that the provider offers an array of solutions that are going to best meet your firm's needs. It is unusual for one technology provider to be the best at everything, so you'll want to to work with a service provider that leverages long standing partnerships with a wide-variety of technology vendors.
Especially in today's evolving threat and technology landscape, there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to either security or IT, and you'll want to partner with a firm that has the experience and flexibility to build a custom solution right for you and your organization.