The updated platform gives financial services firms access to the tools, support and service they need to enhance their business models in a cost-effective and secure way, while maintaining compliance, according to Sam Attias, vice president of financial services practice, External IT.
In order to protect financial data, especially when moving between systems, External IT’s platform offers built-in controls to manage how sensitive information is shared, in line with requirements by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for device management and who has access to confidential information. Attias notes that if audited, a company will be asked for lists of devices employees use to access information and customer data.
“We have the ability to see every device in real time,”Attias tells PLANADVISER, such as which end users are using which devices to access the company’s applications. “You can set up a process where they can’t use the device until the company signs off on it,” he explains. Devices can be shut down remotely, and it lets an organization control who uses what device to approve, deny and archive information, which satisfies the SEC requirements.
The platform creates what Attias calls good security hygiene: “Each user as well as co-managers can see every action an employee has taken,” he says. “When they are accessing IT; what apps they’ve launched, what device is being used and what files are shared or downloaded. Is there anything that looks suspicious?”
Document retention and archiving can also be addressed through External IT’s platform. The SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) both have compliance requirements for the length of time documents must retained, Attias points out, underscoring that advisers need to retain files in unchanged format—“That’s key,” he says—for at least five years.
Financial services firms’ complicated technology infrastructure combined with intense regulatory requirements, requires set-up and support from industry specialists—available through the External IT platform, built by those knowledgeable in financial services and software integration, implementation and maintenance.
Combining Microfsoft Office 365 with External IT’s enterprise cloud platform enables clients to support new ways to work because it gives them access to their information and tools anytime, anywhere in a compliant manner, according to Attias.
Compliance is critical to an adviser’s business, Attias observes: “Over the years, it’s become increasingly clear that IT is a bigger and bigger part of that picture, and it should be the main driver of how they use IT applications; how they interact with their customers. They can use anything they want, but it’s about how they use it and how they access it. The question is how to use things in a compliant matter. It’s a how question. Not an if.”
More information is on the website of External IT.