“The Cloud is great,” says Sam Attias, vice president of the financial services division at External IT, especially when it comes to innovation and ease of access. “But right now, everyone doesn’t realize what they’re sacrificing when they use it,” he tells PLANADVISER.
Pre-Cloud-based systems often rested on a series of independent, isolated silos, External IT maintains, increasing the potential for security vulnerabilities and keeping advisers from critical security insights. Who is using which applications? Where are they? When are they using them?
Data security is easily compromised, Attias says, which led the firm to add a capability clearly showing user activity, tracking login locations, IP address, time of access and which device is used, along with the specific applications launched. Administrators and advisers can view activity while encouraging users to take more responsibility for the security of their own data and the devices they use.
The single, secure place for all applications and data gives users flexibility while firms gain centralized control of sensitive data.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires firms to maintain a log of any device that advisers use to access firm information. This task was quite easy ten years ago, according to Attias, a simple matter of checking whatever computers were in the office. But in today’s bring-your-own-device world, when information can be accessed on a range of devices and from any location, it is much more difficult.
External IT’s interface creates a log that shows different locations for the user, which can be printed out. The platform also allows sensitive files to be wiped from any device in case of loss or theft.
“As the Cloud becomes the inevitable norm in financial services, advisers’ primary concern is security,” Attias says. “Most would rather sacrifice convenience to keep their data safe. Giving users the freedom to work anywhere, while showing them their own activity, allows them to be proactive about data security rather than waiting for a back office IT professional to notice suspicious behavior.”
Pricing runs between $150 and $200 per user per month. The cost is driven in part by the level of disaster recovery and how much management of the local network, router, firewall and end devices the subscriber chooses. Some types of applications can require a special type of server, Attias says, which are sold separately as a component.
More information about External IT is on their website.