The iPhone SE promises an A9 processor with faster LTE and Wi-Fi speeds, better battery life, 4k and 240 fps slow-mo video recording, live photo support, and Apple Pay. The starting price for the 38mm Apple Watch Sport is now $299, down $50 from the introductory price. Apple announced the launch of Carekit, a companion to ResearchKit that allows six partner medical organizations, including John Hopkins University and Stanford Medicine, to create apps to help patients monitor their symptoms and care with their doctor. Apple also gave an update on its goal to run all facilities on 100 percent renewable energy. Many firms create a 10-20-page written information security plan that formalizes the definitions and policies that govern the creation, access, and deletion of confidential information and computing services. Regulatory Risks – Following the right security practices will enable you to achieve clean audits from industry and government regulators. Personal Email – Even if your employee is following all of your processes and practices with work-related email, you could still be vulnerable if her private, personal email is breached or corrupted. By developing an internal culture of security, the organization does far more than deploy and configure bits and bytes. Show investors that you have a 3+ year budget for working capital without any performance fees.
Make sure to properly allocate expense and investment opportunities if you decide to launch a single investor fund or separately managed accounts.
When it comes to seed arrangements, pick the right partner and put parameters around potential issues that could arise. Become familiar with the changing expectations on the cybersecurity front, from both investors and regulators. Investment firms often place too much emphasis on managing portfolios and not enough on managing the business as a whole. The decisions you make from the outset will define how your firm is regarded within the industry, by both investors and competitors. Since the 2008 economic collapse and scandals caused by the likes of Madoff, transparency has become a key requirement for investors.
By investing upfront in operational and technology systems that can support your business and propel operations, you provide your firm with marketing tools that will far surpass the capabilities of a presentation or pitch book.
These critical considerations are ideal for new managers to address as they enter the startup phase.
Operating capital may be limited in the first few years after your launch, so careful budgeting and long range planning will serve your firm well. Governmental oversight of the financial industry has evolved dramatically in the last decade.
Apart from registration, you should also determine if there are any legislative implications for your new firm.
Since 2014, cybersecurity preparedness is also a critical area of focus for regulatory bodies. Cloud services offer more flexibility than traditional infrastructure models and, beyond cost-savings, can reap rewards for new launches. Of course, one of the greatest benefits to using an outsourced cloud service is professional management and monitoring.
Beyond infrastructure safeguards, it is critical that firms implement policies and procedures to protect firm and client assets. While the list of considerations is surely long for new hedge fund managers, we've whittled it down to 10 Keys to Launching a Hedge Fund Successfully - a guide for new startups to use when setting off on their new journey.
We at Eze Castle Integration have identified the top four reasons why backups are critical to not only a firm’s growth, but also their survival.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has instituted regulations on the storage of financial records and electronic communication, and financial industry regulatory agencies such as FINRA now provide standards and guidance information on potential threats.
The reasoning behind these recommendations is the volume of things that can go wrong with your data storage solution.
Regulatory and compliance organizations recognize the necessity of data security and advocate for firms to have a comprehensive backup solution in place. As reported by Gartner in the 2015 Gartner MQ Report for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances, by 2017, the number of enterprises using the cloud as a backup destination will double, growing from twelve percent (12%) today.
Consider the impact to your business if you lost the data held in your CRM, financial, or reporting systems. Backups should be an integrated part of not only the IT department, but of the overall business strategy.
Businesses invest large amounts of time, money and resources into their operations; however, most are lacking a plan to protect this hard work. Because the security of data is imperative, it’s critical that firms choose the right provider to maintain tight control and visibility over business critical information.
Marc Berger’s opening statements emphasized the extent of the cybersecurity threat currently facing firms across a wide swath of industries. Where there is reliance on third-party service providers, the AAM is NOT relieved of its cybersecurity risks but rather, has the obligation to assess and monitor the provider’s security policies and procedures and conduct adequate due diligence. While the SEC has issued various Risk Alerts providing guidance on areas of focus, the guidance and rules are not prescriptive.
Only 39% agree that their organization has ample resources to ensure all cybersecurity requirements are met. We spend a lot of time educating our clients about security best practices and encouraging them to implement comprehensive security policies and procedures to mitigate risk and protect both the firm and its employees. While companywide policies should reflect long-range expectations and corporate best practices, they should also include tactical recommendations that employees can follow to ensure they are complying with the company’s overall risk strategy. Provide information such as login IDs, passwords, social security numbers, account numbers, etc. But what effect do these changes have for the person responsible for technology at a hedge fund or investment firm?
Regulatory Requirements: With the Dodd-Frank Act and other new regulations in effect, investment management firms have a whole new host of requirements to meet.
Compliance: In addition to complying with the regulatory requirements above, there are also new internal compliance procedures hedge fund CTOs have to grapple with. Communication Skills: Despite the fact that they are forced to work with inanimate objects all day, technologists must also maintain good communication skills to support their technical operations.
While dealing with increased focus and responsibilities relative to regulations, compliance, and due diligence have added to the plates of hedge fund CTOs, another phenomenon has also contributed to this change in role. While some firms have opted to reduce or eliminate their IT staffs and outsource all technology, others have opted to maintain internal technology resources while also utilizing the cloud. Regardless of the approach, the prevalence of cloud computing in the hedge fund industry is driving technologists to evolve their technical and non-technical skills. 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. Call quality is a key concern and can be impacted by a number of items including the network, available bandwidth and even the type of phones being used. When evaluating VoIP for financial firms, it is important to inquire about the underlying network and how voice traffic is prioritized and routed. According to the FCC, if you are moving from one geographic area to another, however, you may not be able to take your number with you.
The report found that in 55 percent of all cyber attacks in 2014 were carried out by either malicious insiders or inadvertent actors and that unauthorized access triggered nearly twice as many incidents in 2014 compared with 2013. Another example cited was that malicious code and sustained probes together accounted for 40 percent of all the incidents observed.
These examples demonstrate that the risks facing large organizations and smaller firms (read: hedge funds) are just as real. Feedback on eSentire’s offering and approach is always received positively and the spark for this tech spotlight article. Eze Castle Integration and eSentire are working together to give hedge funds using the Eze Private Cloud or on-premise IT complete protection from security risks that could jeopardize operations and threaten proprietary information.
In a SaaS model, firms are offered a complete range of applications via the Internet, all of which are managed by the hedge fund cloud provider. Infrastructure as a Service provides data centre, infrastructure hardware and software resources over the Internet. The Internet, of course, is an essential vehicle for collecting and distributing market data, as well as communicating with your clients, investors and partners via email. Whichever Internet access method you select, seek out a plan that bundles proactive monitoring and security features to ensure the highest possible availability.
The subject of hedge fund operational due diligence is one that has risen to the forefront for both hedge fund managers and investors in recent years. Historically, there has been a general lack of transparency within the hedge fund industry; larger funds, in particular, often balked at investor inquiries. Due diligence, as a process, did not gain significant importance until just a few short years ago.
Hedge funds managers and investors are now taking due diligence seriously and making conscious steps to maintain open communication and increase information-sharing.
Operational excellence has become one of the most important factors to hedge fund investors today as they determine where to allocate their money. What service providers are you engaged with and how do you determine their quality of service? Investors need to understand why hedge funds have made each of their operational choices, including when it comes to technology.
Investors have become much more aware of technology and how important a role it plays in the day-to-day operations of a hedge fund. Hedge funds should be prepared to recover from both short- and long-term disasters and be prepared to outline their processes and procedures (in writing!) to investors. Hedge fund operational due diligence is an opportunity and a marketing exercise – one that funds should undertake with educated personnel and a willingness to be open and transparent. The Cybersecurity Interpretive Notice applies to all membership categories--futures commission merchants, swap dealers, major swap participants, introducing brokers, forex dealer members, commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors. But whatever approach is taken, the Cybersecurity Interpretive Notice requires Members to adopt and enforce an information systems security program (ISSP) appropriate to its circumstances.
Description of ongoing education and training related to information systems security for employees.
NFA recognizes that some Members may face a significant challenge implementing ISSPs by the March 1, 2016 effective date, and any programs that are adopted will be refined over time. Eze Castle Integration’s Cybersecurity Practice Team is available to create Written Information System Security Programs for firms. Communicate – It is important to let your employees know as soon as possible that they will no longer be able to get to work. Technology – Technology has facilitated the ability for an employee to work remotely during a storm, but there are still some considerations to think through. Hunker Down –During severe storms employee safety should be at the top of the priority list.
Set Workload Expectations – As an employee, a storm can be disruptive to their normal work day. Updates – As a consistent theme throughout BCP, communication is key, and continued updates will keep the employee centered on their work and allow them to respond to changes quickly such as the reopening of the office building. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), El Niño conditions occur when abnormally warm waters accumulate in tropical latitudes of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. La Niña conditions occur when cooler-than-average waters accumulate in the central and eastern tropical Pacific and tropical rains shift to the west. The key to a successful business continuity plan lies in understanding the impact a disaster situation could have on a business and creating policies to respond to any such impact.
The final critical element of a BCP is ensuring that it is tested and maintained on a regular basis. Or contact Eze Castle Integration to speak with one of our certified business continuity planners about best practices or to learn about why leading hedge funds rely on Eze Business Continuity Planning Services. It is no surprise that the investment industry landscape is becoming more and more competitive. A comprehensive DDQ covers a wide range of topics, from assets under management to audited financial statements and investment strategies. So, to help you get started, we have compiled the following list of some frequently asked DDQ questions. Does the firm have established, documented service level agreements in place with its technology partners to ensure a stable computing environment?
Is the policy regularly reviewed to determine whether the controls are operating as intended?
Do the appropriate management officials approve the policy and any changes that may be made? Does the firm’s IT staff (or technology partner) ensure appropriate access control to applications and sensitive company data? Is a solution in place to ensure mobile devices and laptops are secure in the event of loss or theft? Has the firm established a dedicated location to retain backup copies of all critical data?
Has a secondary working location been established to which employees should report in the event of a disruption or outage? Is a comprehensive disaster recovery solution in place to provide system redundancy and ensure protection of critical data in the event of a disaster or system failure? Has the firm determined its crucial recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs)? A component of Disaster Recovery that deals with the restoration of business system software and data, after the operating system environment has been restored or replaced.
A pre-identified group of individuals that is reponsible for maintaining and executing the recovery process. A system of planning for, recovering and maintaining both the IT and business environments within an organisation regardless of the type of interruption. A collection of information on a wide range of areas from recovery assumptions and critical business processes to interdependencies and critical staff that is then analysed to assess impact a disaster may have. The process of restoring and maintaining the data, equipment, applications and other technical resources on which a business depends. A disaster recovery hot site is a remote physical location where you can maintain copies of all of your critical systems, such as trading applications, data, and documents. A computer system or application that is essential to the functioning of your business and its processes.
In the context of a primary and secondary site, the primary site contains the original data that cannot be recreated. The RTO is the duration of time and service level within which a business process must be restored after a disruption in order to avoid unacceptable losses. The RPO is the point in time to which a firm must recover data as defined by the organisation.
A system of using multiple sources, devices or connections so that no single point of failure will completely stop the flow of information. The identification and prioritisation of potential business risk and disruptions based on severity and likelihood of occurrence. The secondary site contains information and applications that are built from the primary repository information. If regular testing is a critical component of an effective DR solution, why do many firms fail to do so?


Here at Eze Castle, we strive to educate our clients on different testing methods so that they find an option that best meets their unique business requirements. As we continue to educate our hedge fund and investment firm clients on disaster recovery testing methods and the available options, we have seen a drastic increase in the number of clients that elect to implement regular testing procedures.
A: Users should verify that they have the functionality needed to work successfully from the DR site during a disaster. A: If a firm fails to test its DR systems, they run the risk of the DR site not meeting current business requirements during a disaster.
Q: Will testing our disaster recovery site disrupt our production site (and therefore normal business operations)? Since we frequently work with our hedge fund and alternative investment clients on developing comprehensive business continuity plans (BCPs), we feel it is important to review and test our own BCP procedures on a regular basis to ensure they will meet our most current business needs in the event of a disaster. A BCP table top exercise is an informal brainstorming session used to encourage participation from business leaders and other key employees. Gather the firm’s executive team (and any other individuals within the organization that play a leadership role in the BCP activation process) in a conference room-type setting that is conducive to open discussion and interaction. To begin, the consultant or group leader should develop a hypothetical disaster scenario to use as an example. Once the scenario has been established, the members of the management team will break down what steps need to be taken (and in what order) to ensure all employees are safe and accounted for, communications are made to all necessary parties and the business remains operational. A company’s ability to recover quickly from an unexpected disruption is directly associated with the quality of the preparations that have been completed prior to the event. Being able to quickly communicate and respond in the case of a business continuity emergency or interruption can make a big difference to building management and tenants alike. During non-business hours, if there is an interruption or emergency occurring, facility management will most likely notify all tenants and provide updates until the event is over. Meeting with building management to review emergency procedures and contact information should be done at least annually, even if there isn’t turnover in either organization. The following are key points building management and firms should address and be aware of to help ensure effective communication during scenarios of emergencies and interruptions. Fittingly, CEO Tim Cook also discussed security at length – not shying away from concerns resulting from the current fight with the FBI.
The 16GB model, as well as a 64 GB model for $499 go up for pre-order on March 24, 2016, with the first units shipping March 31, 2016. In addition, the screen of the new iPad pro will be 40% less reflective than that of the iPad Air 2, but will be 25% brighter. The most important development is the introduction of voice dictation support – meaning you can ask Siri to search for a specific movie as well as enter your username and password. Users can record, track, and compare their symptoms with their doctors, and in turn the physicians can create a list of care instructions that are adjusted based on the CareKit information. Currently, 93 percent of its facilities run on renewable power, and 100 percent of US facilities are environmentally friendly.
That can be everything from a definition of personally identifiable information (PII), a description of user access privileges and roles, or policies regarding USB thumb-drives.
It commits to defining and following thoughtful, far-ranging policies to eliminate the needless internal vulnerabilities that often go unrecognized. Not only must emerging managers evaluate traditional deployment strategies, but consider current factors influencing the financial landscape.
There was quite a bit of content discussed during the 1-hour event, so we’ve pulled out some key takeaways.
Target those who have a history of being receptive to founder share class and who may offer lower management and performance fees.
Recognize where the private cloud has an edge: high-touch, industry-specific service and support, scalability and application integration, and security and compliance.
Value is derived from knowledge of the application, knowledge of business, and having a dedicated support team. By taking into account all aspects of your firm and relying on trusted service providers to support operations, you prove to the greater investment industry that you should be taken seriously and can operate successfully in a challenging environment. Nothing less than full disclosure is expected of firms from the newest launches to the most established investment firms. And while that goal is certainly reachable, the process does not stop on your go-live date.
These decisions can put your new firm on equal footing with established firms and demonstrate to investors that you are built to succeed. Our advice centers on everything from marketing and operations to IT budgeting and service provider selection. Don't forget to visit Hedge IT on Thursday as we reveal the last of our key considerations for starting a hedge fund. Hedge funds, private equity firms and registered investment advisers now operate in a world where they are beholden to regulatory bodies with growing expectations and requirements. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which redefined the registration requirements for hedge funds, also set forth new reporting requirements and standards for safeguards. With the prevalence of cyber threats and attacks, the SEC’s Office of Compliance and Examinations (OCIE) has incorporated cybersecurity into its examination targets.
Firms can add users nearly instantly – a welcome benefit for startups looking to ramp up quickly. You can do this by conducting employee awareness training to keep all users informed and educated about the cyber environment and the threats that may arise.
And be sure to come back to Hedge IT later this week when we'll be sharing an excerpt from our brand new whitepaper on the same topic!
Regulatory agencies and investors now expect businesses to have backup solutions and comprehensive record-keeping practices.
In addition, international regulators such as the FCA, a financial regulatory body in the United Kingdom, are also demanding firms to have a data backup solution.
From hardware failure, software corruption, virus or network security breaches, to natural disasters and human error, the threat to your data is endless. Businesses that demonstrate that their data is secure and backed up have a competitive edge when security questions inevitably come their way.
And by 2017, seventy-five percent (75%) of organizations will have replaced their remote-office tape backup with a disk-based backup solution that incorporates replication, up from forty-five percent (45%) today.
A SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey by Symantec found that downtime costs small businesses an average of approximately $12,500 per day and medium businesses $23,000 per day. Eze Castle partners with KeepItSafe, a leading provider for managed online backup and recovery, to deliver our Eze Vault services. As a result, firms are challenged to understand what level of cybersecurity readiness will be deemed sufficient to meet regulatory obligations given their AUM. According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Global Megatrends in Cybersecurity, sponsored by Raytheon, 25% of respondents in a study say C-level executives currently view cybersecurity as a competitive advantage, versus 59% who say it will be a competitive advantage three years from now. In an industry historically known for protecting its information, recent regulatory developments may foster a change in how firms think about sharing information. In addition to providing employees with security best practices they should follow, don’t forget to also include a list of actions they should not. There is little doubt that the hedge fund industry has evolved in recent years with the rise of new regulations, the wide spread adoption of cloud services and deep focus on cybersecurity risks.
In addition to needing knowledge on a variety of technical skills such as networking, storage, virtualization, telecommunications and resource management, a CTO must also possess a variety of business and non-technical skills to support the organization.
CTOs have to run daily or intraday reports to satisfy new legal requirements, store and archive emails and other messages, and work with regulators on a regular basis to ensure their firms are complying with all necessary directives. Particularly in the post-Madoff era, firms are implementing policies to combat insider trading and other securities risks.
The increased focus on transparency and due diligence has led to many CTOs interacting directly with investors on a daily basis, educating them on how technology is supporting and protecting their assets.
The popularity of cloud computing (and outsourcing in general) has prompted many hedge funds and investment firms to reevaluate their technical strategies and reallocate their technical resources.
It can be done effectively and efficiently, and many larger firms, in particular, find it beneficial to use the cloud and also have internal staff dedicated to other technical projects.
While many of the traditional roles of the hedge fund CTO are changing, others remain the same. But when things turn bad, it could be downright scary," so here is our latest video that covers four signs you may be outgrowing your IT service provider. In honor of this global availability, we want to debunk some common myths associated with VoIP for financial services forms. However, a well-designed business-caliber VoIP system can deliver quality of service comparable to an in-house phone system. You want a provider that has full control over network traffic and can ensure high quality of service. While consumer-grade VoIP services work over the Internet to deliver low cost services, Business-grade VoIP services often use the Internet as a backup and have private IP point-to-point lines for primary connections.
It is important to ask providers about the availability of financial industry specific features such as bridged appearances and IP ringdowns. Therefore, be sure to ask your VoIP provider about how they handle number portability when moving outside a geographic region.
Contact Eze Castle Integration to learn more about our Eze Voice Service that was built specifically for hedge funds, financial services firms and alternative investment firms.
A 2015 Cyber Security Intelligence Index study by IBM found that over 62 percent of cyber incidents targeted three industries -- Finance, Insurance, and Information and Communications -- highlighting the serious risk cyber intrusions present to financial firms. To that end, we regularly team with eSentire to speak with hedge fund CTOs about the security landscape and their managed security technology.
We've talked through Why Cloud Computing is Right for your Hedge Fund and Understanding Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds. This means firms can forego upfront investments in servers and software licenses and pay a predictable per-user, per-month fee.
The PaaS model enables hedge funds to create Web applications quickly without incurring the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying software and hardware. Through IaaS, applications are delivered as a virtualisation platform by the cloud provider and can be accessed across the Internet. They are all delivered over the Web, and services can be accessed in the cloud on demand, usually via subscription payment.
High-speed Internet and voice connectivity are necessary to access market data feeds, communicate with investors and facilitate trade orders and other investment decisions.
You’ll likely find four Internet access choices, depending on availability in your area. You could also consider using multiple providers and a router in order to establish a safety net in the event one of your sources fails. Your PBX will be installed in your data center and provides several options for routing calls and storing voicemails, as well as services such as caller ID, auto-attendant and integration with ring-down lines to various brokers. Prior to the economic downfall in 2008 and high-profile investment scandals made infamous by Bernard Madoff and others, hedge fund due diligence was viewed as an unnecessary assignment. They figured there would never be a shortage of investors, so there wasn’t a need to spend extra time satisfying their needs. In the past, the responsibilities associated with hedge fund due diligence would often fall under the role of a CFO, CCO or other executive – someone who had very little time to devote specifically to due diligence.
There has, undoubtedly, been a significant increase in the number of due diligence inquiries by hedge fund investors, and the questions they are asking are much more relevant and involved - that rings true across business and operations functions, technology departments and the investment side of the business. They want more information, more transparency and more assurances that fund managers have done their own due diligence in assembling and managing their infrastructure and overall businesses. Small-scale disasters, such as winter weather scenarios, and larger incidents like the Madoff scandal have initiated a real shift in the hedge fund industry and highlighted the need for hedge funds to have robust technology solutions in place and systems and procedures to keep them operational at all times.
During the due diligence process, they often ask to see systems at work, the processes through which data is transmitted and stored, and how testing procedures work.
Explain the designs and processes of your operations, particularly when it comes to your technology.
If you do not have an in-house IT staff, you can ask your technology service provider to do this for you. You will score points with investors if you are up front about everything and don’t attempt to hide anything.
Hire a consultant to help you with this – it is the single easiest way to prepare for a real investor review.
Test your disaster recovery system frequently (at least twice annually), and show the results to investors.
Investors want to see that funds are serious and that they value operations and technology as vital aspects to their businesses.
It does not begin when an investor comes in for a meeting and end when they walk out the door. The NFA's Interpretive Notice to NFA Compliance Rules 2-9, 2-36 and 2-49 entitled Information Systems Security Programs requires Member firms to adopt and enforce written policies and procedures to secure customer data and access to their electronic systems. Executive-level participation and annual review of the information security program is expected.
NFA expects to devote appropriate resources, such as providing additional guidance, to assist Members as they develop and implement their ISSPs.
For example, what exactly will your employees need to fulfill their functions remotely and are they trained to do so? Therefore, if the storm seems to be impassable it is best to allow employees to work remotely.
In the United States, seasonal precipitation impacts are generally opposite those of El Niño.
Over the past few years, as regulations have changed and investors increasingly seek transparency, hedge funds are spending more time than ever preparing for the due diligence process. As this trend continues, investors are raising their expectations and looking towards hedge funds that display the highest levels in operational excellence. One major area of focus is the hedge fund’s IT and accompanying cybersecurity policies and procedures. Are steps being taken to ensure visitors do not have the ability to observe or access sensitive employee systems and documents? Have appropriate training and documentation been established and shared with all personnel? In addition to the IT infrastructure, it covers people, facilities, workplaces, equipment, business processes, and more.
High availability can be implemented into a firm's IT infrastructure by reducing any single points of failure using redundant components. In working on the Eze Disaster Recovery team, I have heard a variety of reasons from clients as to why this is the case.
Current technologies allow IT providers to overcome just about any objection users may have with regards to DR testing. We often find that firms grow, evolve, and change their production environments as they develop and expand their businesses. At Eze Castle, we typically recommend that users think about their daily workflow when testing to help ensure all critical applications and data are available in the event of an outage.
Typically, DR solution agreements will include regular testing as part of the service package, and we strongly recommend all firms take advantage of this component.
However, the reality is that many disaster recovery solutions (including Eze Castle’s!) can be tested in a manner that avoids any disruption to the production environment. Even just a few moments of downtime could be extremely costly, so it is essential that firms implement sound business continuity procedures.


To this end, Lisa Smith - one of our certified business continuity professionals - and her team recently conducted a BCP table top exercise with our management team here at Eze Castle.
Read our complete Manager's Guide to DR and BCP for a comprehensive overview on hedge fund business continuty best practices. Scenarios may include a regional electricity outage, building fire, terrorist attack, violent storm, or the like. The group should identify realistic and unrealistic expectations and work together to bridge any gaps between leadership and the established BCP plans. BCP table top exercises are conducted to provide an example of how the management team would work together to get the organization through a disaster. Additionally, having each other’s contact information can be extremely helpful during regular business hours, as well as, off-hours or holidays and weekends. Depending on the type and severity of an emergency, facility management may choose to utilize passive notification, such as email, or they may use more aggressive notification like public announcement (PA) systems or alarms.
If the building is closed, and the notification doesn’t reach the appropriate people, then employees may show up for work, wasting employee time and causing frustration. Although this review may not lead to any updates or changes to documentation, it’s important to ensure protocols are understood, notification plans are clear and information is accurate.
Other new features include Folders, allowing users to organize apps in the home screen, access to the iCloud Photo Library, and Live Photos. The bank believes hackers executed a hack that allowed $81 million to be taken from the bank’s foreign exchange account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And the way that starts to happen is through systemic and comprehensive training practices.
Prepare an institutional set of documents up front if you are looking to attract institutional money versus high net money. They include risk assessment, governance, training, access control, vendor management, and information sharing.
That means you have to demonstrate to investors that you take your business seriously and that you’ve made investments in your operations, technology, etc. As such, fund managers should take this to heart and make strong efforts to comply with increasing investor expectations.
From your legal paperwork to security practices and technology safeguards, the importance of documentation cannot be understated in today’s environment. For example, system safeguards such as data protection, disaster recovery measures and email archiving are requirements under Dodd-Frank.
Having released two extensive questionnaires and several risk alerts focused on security, the SEC has made it clear to investment firms that they will be investigating the practices employed at firms and increasing expectations for the future. Startups have a variety of options when it comes to settling on their technology infrastructure. Users can gain access to email, file services and applications from virtually anywhere, and built-in disaster recovery provides confidence that everything is protected from the inside out. Users should understand how security threats may present themselves (phishing schemes, social engineering, etc.) as well as how they can become cybersecurity assets to your firm. Successfully operating a new startup beyond the first year is a feat many managers struggle to accomplish, therefore it's critical for emerging managers to gain a full understanding of the industry that awaits them and the hurdles they should expect to face.
Understanding the need and importance of implementing a backup solution can add instrumental value to your business.
With today’s financial services companies managing exponentially growing volumes of sensitive data, the risk of loss grows as well.
If something were to happen to the data center where your production system lives, you can resume operations in DR.
Having a third-party backup solution provides geographic diversity of data assets, which is key for a complete business strategy. Recently, KeepItSafe highlighted the success of a backup and recovery case when a company’s servers crashed, and with it, so too did their records of billing history, accounts receivable and accounts payable. Highlighting the importance of information sharing, on December 19, 2015, after years of failing to enact cyber threat information-sharing legislation, Congress passed the controversial Cybersecurity Information-Sharing Act of 2015. Take a look below and discover a vast range of security tips and tricks from email encryption to proper security measures for protecting computers and mobile devices.
But as the industry has experienced rapid change over the last several years, so too have the CTOs and their responsibilities. Mobile security and BYOD issues are another area for technology directors to focus their attention. Working more frequently with investors and regulators means CTOs need to work on their interpersonal communication and ensure they are properly representing their organizations.
Many firms still maintain that they need an internal resource for troubleshooting and other projects. 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. For added confidence, ask to speak with existing VoIP customers (over the phone!) to hear about their experiences first-hand.
If Internet is the primary transit, be sure you are working with a VoIP provider who manages the entire network and has control over traffic prioritization.
Additionally, Eze Castle Integration utilizes eSentire intrusion detection technology within our Eze Private Cloud and to power our Eze Active Threat Protection services. The firm has full control of the virtualised platform and is not responsible for managing the underlying infrastructure. Hedge funds can easily upgrade or downgrade plans in real time to accommodate business needs for cloud business solutions. To help you make an informed decision about your voice and Internet needs, we’ve provided a few suggestions below. As you consider your options, it will be useful to know the approximate number of users and required functionality of the system. But as the hedge fund industry has evolved over the last several years, so has the need and desire for operational excellence. You can also compile a comprehensive presentation or simply have an open question and answer session with your potential investors. Due diligence is an ongoing process that can continue to improve and evolve as investors and fund managers open the lines of communication and maintain an open dialogue. Additionally, firms must provide employees training during the onboarding processes as well as periodically during employment. With these unprecedented levels of snow, New York City was forced to halt public transportation and implemented a mandatory restriction on private transportation as well. One must also consider licensing, infrastructure, security, and employee comfort as working from home will be a change for them. If essential functions are unable to meet their workload demands from home, then temporary office space with redundant power is always an option. It is always important to review your business continuity plan and make sure employees are aware of their roles if an issue were to occur. In the coming months, there is expected precipitation in Southern California, extending along the South coast. In today's landscape, however, investors and regulators alike expect and demand that firms implement preparedness plans for disasters and cyber-attacks.
One important way to ensure your firm meets these high standards is to complete a due diligence questionnaire (DDQ) that can be shared with potential investors. At Eze Castle, we frequently assist our hedge fund clients in completing DDQ questions on technology, and we often see the same types of questions popping up. In addition, a great resource for conducting due diligence on a hedge fund's service providers is the 200 question document published by the Alternative Investment Technology Executives Club (AITEC). Be sure to read our articles on the difference between DR & BCP and preparing for a worst case scenario. Additionally, we are hearing from a growing number of hedge fund clients whose investors now require them to test their DR solutions and report on the results from those tests.
In turn, the DR site needs to evolve and change simultaneously in order to continuously meet business requirements. Results should be documented and provided back to your DR provider so that they can assist you with resolving any issues that may have arisen during the course of the test. Regular testing helps to capture the ever-changing requirements of a business, so that gaps or issues can be addressed in advance of a disaster.
After this successful meeting, we thought it would be valuable to share some insights on the BCP table top exercise process with our readers to spotlight the importance of this activity. The group covers all of the actions necessary to ensure employees are safe and accounted for and the business can continue to operate.
Be sure to hash out all of the details of the scenario, including a hypothetical date and time, an assessment of the immediate impact of the event and how employees are being affected. While alarms and PAs might help grab the attention of tenants, they aren’t the most effective tools to communicate long or detailed messages. Failing to evaluate these plans could lead to confusion, tarnished reputations and more serious damages following an incident. It appears that the initial point of entry for the hackers was a spear-phishing email, potentially sent weeks before the fraud took place, which allowed the criminals time to remotely monitor and probe the bank’s networks without detection. Tools such as risk management or document management systems can give extra peace of mind to demanding investors with high expectations.
Regardless of the assets your firm is launching with, you will be expected to have sophisticated and comprehensive policies and procedures in place from day one to combat cyber threats. With the birth of cloud technology, firms can save on upfront capital expenditures and host their infrastructure in the cloud – providing flexibility within those startup budgets.
A reputable cloud services provider not only provides world-class infrastructure and resiliency; it also assumes responsibility for the management and daily maintenance of your cloud environment.
Investors also have high expectations, and before they will even consider allocating money to your firm, they want to understand what protections you’ve put in place to protect their assets. However, if something is deleted in the production environment, that action is typically mirrored, thus deleted in DR as well. DR allows the rapid recovery of IT operations while cloud backups provide another layer of protection by leveraging a third-party vendor to secure your data in an alternative location. As of June 30, 2015, per ITRC data, in 2015 the banking industry experienced an increase of 85% versus 2014 data for the same period. However, regulators may also be looking at whether enforcement action is warranted if the AAM failed to implement appropriate security measures that would have prevented the attack from occurring. In most cases you want to ensure voice traffic takes precedent over data or travels on a different network. PaaS is great for firms creating or managing their own applications or looking for testing and development environments. Hedge funds should continue to take the time to understand where the real risks are within their businesses and work to instill confidence with their investors.
Jonas proved to be kind in the fact that the majority of the impact fell on the weekend but many firms can recall more disruptive storms occurring during regular business hours leaving many employees feeling stranded. Temperatures are also expected to be warmer than average for most of the Northern parts of the country - a welcome gift for places like New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. This trend is putting more pressure on firms to participate in regular testing than ever before. By regularly testing their DR sites, firms can ensure all of these needs are met and they will be fully prepared to continue operations should a disaster occur. This requires less coordination with user groups, and therefore has minimal impact on the firm’s daily operations.
They also serve as a reminder that these events can happen at any time and often occur rapidly and without warning. Typically, that is where the relationship ends, and if so, that can potentially lead to some issues in the future. Even planned drills, such as fire drills during regular business hours, are not fool-proof.
With competition for investor allocations at an all-time high, you’ll have to work to determine what sets your firm apart from the others.
Be sure to enable your firm’s processes to comply with SEC recommendations including risk assessments, infrastructure practices, policy documentation, etc. With hackers savvier than ever and financial firms as known targets, it’s critical that firms establish a comprehensive approach to security to not only meet investor and regulatory demands but also to protect firm assets and mitigate business risk. Backups, on the other hand, create an offline copy of your data which is not accessible except to restore, sometimes utilizing a third-party vendor to store that data in an alternate location. The importance of protecting this data is interconnected to the importance of the overall operations of the business.
Firms can no longer act in silos, but must share information with industry peers (including competitors) to protect the entire sector. Disaster recovery, business continuity planning and cybersecurity preparedness should all be viewed as full business exercises, not solely technology ones. To alleviate the stress incurred during winter storms, we sat down with our own Business Continuity Analyst, Matt Donahue, who creates, writes, and audits hedge fund’s business continuity plans.
As far as specific remote access technologies, Matt recommends Virtual Private Networks (VPN), Citrix or Outlook Web Access (OWA), depending on a user’s specific needs. These tests do not need to be elaborate, for example, a work from home day or a call tree run through might suffice.
During this commotion, it may be difficult to locate members of building management and even harder to efficiently communicate. If you don’t learn how to differentiate yourself, your chances of getting lost in the crowd are much higher. If not forthcoming, you may open up your firm to serious regulatory and criminal prosecution. Your cloud services provider should act as your trusted technology adviser and, as such, give you the flexibility and time you need to focus on your investment priorities without worrying about security updates and patch controls. If access to a file was lost in both production and DR, backups grant the ability to recover the data and continue business as usual. This is an example of a successful case; however, many businesses lacking a backup solution are not so lucky.
Cyber-attacks carried out on the financial community have almost doubled in 2015, and industry experts believe these numbers will continue to increase unless adequate precautions and prevention measures are taken. AAMs can expect to see investors placing greater emphasis on cybersecurity as a part of its due diligence and regulators focusing on cybersecurity in their routine regulatory exams.
The role of the hedge fund CTO has certainly changed in recent years, and like the technology these professionals support, it’s safe to say their job functions may be markedly different in the years to come. Matt spoke with us about different BCP scenarios and provided tips to keep your firm operational during the worst of storms.
In California - a state tortured with drought in recent years - rain might, at first, seem like a positive. Typically, drought conditions impact vegetation and other natural defenses that hold surface soil and sediment in place, meaning floods and landslides could develop with heavy rains.



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Rubric: Business Emergency Preparedness



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