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Debunking Common Myths About Voice over IP (VoIP)

By Mary Beth Hamilton,
Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Voice over IP has come a long way, especially in the business world, but many financial services firms still have hesitations about making the switch. To assist hedge funds and private equity firms in making a decision about voice solutions, we're debunking some common myths.

MYTH 1: Poor Call Quality – Everyone Will Know I’m on VoIP

A main concern of VoIP is call quality, which can be impacted by a number of features including the network, available bandwidth and even the type of phones being used. However, a well-designed business-caliber VoIP system can deliver quality of service comparable to an in-house phone system. In business settings, where calls are made over private IP connections, Quality of Service (QoS) can be monitored and guaranteed because the entire IP connection is controlled by the party making the call.

When evaluating VoIP for financial firms, it is important to inquire about the underlying network and how voice traffic is prioritized and routed. You want a provider that has full control over network traffic and can ensure high quality of service. For added confidence, ask to speak with existing VoIP customers (over the phone!) to hear about their experiences first-hand.

Categorized under: Communications  Cloud Computing  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



Top 10 IT Security Audit Gaps and How to Avoid Them

By Katelyn Orrok,
Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

When it comes to cybersecurity there are many factors that you need to be conscious of. During a recent webinar, speakers from Eze Castle Integration and Wolf & Company shared 10 of the most common cybersecurity gaps identified during an IT audit/risk assessment. We’ve listed the top 10 below and shared some particulars on a few of the most critical (in our opinion). For more detail on how these gaps are presenting themselves – and also best practices for avoiding them – click here to listen to the full webinar replay

Top 10 IT Security Gaps  

  1. Risk Management and Governance

  2. IT Asset Management

  3. Vulnerability Assessments

  4. Patch Management 

  5. Social Engineering & User Training 

  6. Business Continuity Planning

  7. Multi-Factor Authentication

  8. Third Party Vendor Management 

  9. User Provisioning and Management 

  10. Incident Response Planning/Procedures 

Risk Management and Governance

Responsibility and accountability for risk management starts in-house – and at the top. Even for firms that rely on third party outsourced providers, it’s imperative (and often overlooked) to establish governance controls and outline who internally maintains ownership of the firm’s security posture – and more broadly, who owns the firm’s risks. 

Categorized under: Security  Operational Due Diligence  Outsourcing  Private Equity  Hedge Fund Operations  Infrastructure  Business Continuity Planning  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



ODD & Technology Advice for Achieving Institutional Operations (Video)

By Lauren Zdanis,
Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Post-launch, many hedge funds and investment firms struggle to gain ground and attract the institutional capital needed to succeed in today’s competitive market. As firms grow – and bandwidth and budget are less likely to be roadblocks – it can be a challenge to reinvent the wheel and position your firm to capture institutional dollars.

During a recent webinar, speakers from EisnerAmper and Eze Castle Integration explored trends in hedge fund operational due diligence and technology operations and offered advice for asset managers looking to grow out of their startup boots and achieve an institutional grade operation. Some areas they explored during the 40-minute webinar include:

  • How institutional investor expectations have changed for firms at the pre-launch and post-launch phases;

  • The importance of (and detriment to not) passing an operational due diligence examination;

  • How cyber security expectations are evolving to increase standards across both technology infrastructure and policy planning; 

  • If the public cloud is suitable for investment management firms looking to solidify institutional investments; and

  • Top mistakes emerging managers make that prevent successful ODD exams and institutional evolution.

Scroll down or click here to watch the replay

Categorized under: Operational Due Diligence  Security  Outsourcing  Hedge Fund Operations  Business Continuity Planning  Project Management  Videos And Infographics 



Cybersecurity Basics for Asset Managers (Webinar Replay)

By Katelyn Orrok,
Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

When it comes to cybersecurity, the list of haves and have nots is constantly evolving due to the changing regulatory and threat landscape. In case you missed it, we hosted a webinar this week on Cybersecurity Basics for Asset Managers, during which we uncovered various elements within three primary cybersecurity layers: from Tier 0 (Basic Protection) to Tier 1 (Industry Standard) to Tier 2 (Advanced Protection).

How does your firm stack up when it comes to your cybersecurity practices? Watch the replay below and find out where you fit in.

  • Tier 0: We call this level Tier 0 in part because, well, there’s zero chance your firm will have long-term success in thwarting cyber risks if you don’t employ these basic security measures.

Categorized under: Security  Hedge Fund Operations  Hedge Fund Regulation  Infrastructure  Videos And Infographics 



Private Equity CTO Survey: Insights in Cybersecurity, CTO Roles & IT Outsourcing [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Mary Beth Hamilton,
Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Our 2016 Private Equity CTO Survey is packed with insights across four primary areas: business priorities, cybersecurity, outsourcing trends and the evolution of the private equity CTO. These findings include:

  • 70% of PE firms report their organizations have experienced 3 or more cybersecurity issues in the past 12 months

  • Nearly 90% of respondents identified cloud computing as a planned investment area, with respondents preferring private cloud solutions over the public cloud.

  • 93% of survey respondents believe their firm’s CTO or top IT executive is becoming more important to their business

Checkout out our infographic (below) for a picture of our findings and download the full report here: www.eci.com/pesurvey.

Categorized under: Security  Cloud Computing  Private Equity  Outsourcing  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



Private Equity CTO Survey Explores IT Priorities and CTO Role Evolution

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Thursday, December 1st, 2016

The tide is changing for private equity firms. They continue to grow in popularity – some say private equity is the new hedge fund – but with increased interest comes amplified speculation and heightened expectations.

In technology, private equity firms have found a fierce enabler for continued growth, and one that has shone the light on organizational benefits to be had far beyond the IT closet.

Eze Castle Integration commissioned its Private Equity CTO Survey to more closely examine the evolution of the private equity industry as driven by – and driven to – technology. In reaching the top IT executives and chief technology officers (CTOs) at these firms, the survey highlights their priorities, successes and even failures, and in doing so, sheds light on this industry that has risen to the forefront of the greater financial community.

Our Private Equity CTO Survey encompasses four primary sections: business priorities, cybersecurity, outsourcing trends and the evolution of the private equity CTO.

Business Priorities

If one thing is to be derived from the advent of information technology, it is that IT enablement extends well beyond the recesses of the Communications Room. Accordingly, technology decision-making is also impacted by an organization’s business objectives, and the two work in alignment to derive achievements across the firm. In this section of the survey, we’ll highlight areas where business goals have impacted IT budgets and where private equity firms plan to focus their attention in the coming year.

Categorized under: Private Equity  Cloud Computing  Security  Outsourcing  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



Preventing Cybersecurity Threats with Email Phishing Simulations

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Social engineering schemes continue to grow in their sophistication, and phishing campaigns, in particular, are causing concern as they make their way to employee inboxes. These fraudulent email campaigns (and phone calls too!) appear legitimate and take advantage of employees who are often too busy or simply unprepared to identify a scam. In either case, if the employee clicks a link, downloads an attachment or provides credentials or financial information to a hacker behind the scenes, it is a gateway to potentially very serious scenarios.

And these scams are working. A 2016 study by Verizon found that 30 percent of phishing emails are opened by the recipient. According to the FBI, spear-phishing campaigns between 2013 and 2015 cost companies more than $2 billion.  

And while there are next-generation firewall protections and email security features and tools to act as security barriers to targeted attack emails, unfortunately, some of these emails are still going to get through and pose a threat to your firm’s security posture. (Side note: to learn more about each of these cybersecurity defense layers, watch our webinar replay below).

Categorized under: Security  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



Hedge Fund Risk Management: Establishing Controls and Governance (Video)

By Katelyn Orrok,
Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

To wrap up and round out our 6-week Risk Outlook Webinar Series, we spoke with John Cotronis, Executive Director at JP Morgan, about hedge fund risk management and governance. Specifically, he addressed the following questions:

  • What have you observed in recent years in terms of changes affecting hedge funds – particularly at the startup phase?

  • Have you noticed a marked shift in the importance managers are placing on risk?

  • Do the firms you typically engage with have staff on hand to manage risk – compliance officers, etc.?

  • In terms of corporate governance, where do you see investment firms excelling when it comes to implementing risk management controls and also fostering a culture of risk management across the firm?

  • Let’s talk a little bit about counterparty risk. What kind of criteria are you looking for that indicates to you a provider has the right risk management framework and best practice structure to support your clients?

  • A lot has gotten tougher for firms, particularly on the investment side with capital raising, also with regulatory reporting, etc. What areas of operations do you think have gotten easier for hedge funds over the years?

  • What is your assessment of outsourcing risk – is it higher or lower than managing various functions in-house?

Categorized under: Hedge Fund Operations  Cloud Computing  Security  Hedge Fund Regulation  Outsourcing  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



Regulatory Risk for Investment Advisers: Guidance, Enforcement and Compliance

By Katelyn Orrok,
Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

As our Risk Outlook Series continues, we recently spoke with John Araneo, Partner at Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP in New York, about many of the regulatory risks facing hedge funds today, including compliance, expense allocations and cybersecurity. Continue reading for a brief synopsis or scroll down to watch our webinar replay below. 

How would you describe the current regulatory climate for fund managers and investment advisers?

For hedge fund managers and investment advisers, the regulatory expectations have never been higher. Looking ahead to 2017, managers and advisers should expect the challenge of having to navigate potentially seismic regulatory changes - each of which has the potential to complicate business practices and add to the cost and complexity of compliance.

How should clients prepare to react to these changes?

It’s a top-down approach that all comes down to compliance. A culture of compliance is no longer a lofty goal or a cliché; it is now a regulatory expectation. There needs to be a robust compliance program, actual implementation, and accountability. Clients should be prepared and able to effectively manage the SEC examinations. Managers need to take time to understand regulatory priorities and expectations before an exam.

What is the current regulatory regime's appetite for outsourcing the compliance function?

There is no requirement for firms to employ a full-time person to service compliance. However, the worries about outsourcing certain functions, particularly the compliance officer function, may lead to weakened compliance culture. The opportunity of outsourcing creates a gap between the compliance function and the operations, decision makers and day-to-day activities. Outsourcing can be effective and sufficient, but management needs to resist setting it and forgetting it.

Categorized under: Hedge Fund Regulation  Security  Hedge Fund Operations  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



Do You Have What It Takes to Fight Malware? #CyberAware

By Mary Beth Hamilton,
Thursday, October 6th, 2016

In honor of October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’ll be bringing helpful articles on a range of topics starting with this one on understanding malware.

We’re also debuting our first interactive game, FreEze!, where your challenge is to hit malware before it hits you (à la Space Invaders). Play the game below or keep reading for more on malware -- or do both!

Play FreEze and be a Malware Fighter

 Play FreEze Malware Game

Categorized under: Security  Hedge Fund Operations  Trends We're Seeing  Videos And Infographics 



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