With the technological advancements and proliferation of smartphones and cloud-based applications, the way we work is rapidly changing. The workforce is no longer tethered to the traditional PC or to the confines of a physical office, creating a truly virtual work environment. It is estimated by the International Data Corporation (IDC) that the number of U.S. mobile workers will rise from 96.2 million in 2015 to 105.4 million in 2020. By the end of 2020, IDC expects mobile workers to account for 72.3% of the total U.S. workforce.1

Asset managers are in a great position to take advantage of this trend, as their workforces are especially mobile for several key business reasons. Fund executives and support personnel frequently travel to different financial centers and investor locations to attend investor roadshows, industry events, sales meetings, board meetings, etc. It is critical that these employees have remote access to the firm’s systems, data, and documents in real-time while being updated by coworkers.

The Challenge

While all these leaps in technology are great, the move to the mobile workforce has created a conspicuous weakness in the infrastructure of many of the world’s most influential asset managers. Many funds are only now shifting their focus to cyber security for their mobile devices. As the mobile workforce multiplies, so too will cyber-attacks on the mobile device and on your workforce. With many funds allowing their employees to Bring Their Own Device (“BYOD”) to work, the challenges are even greater.

Cyber criminals target security weak points and the mobile device is a prime target. In 2016 alone, 36,601,939 records were exposed due to a data breach.2 Allowing your team to access your data while working remotely can create a real security issue if your infrastructure is not set up correctly to protect against the most sophisticated hackers. In today’s environment, you need to follow where the work is being done and empower your employees to do so. At the same time, the firm and its investors must be protected at all costs.

Are you willing to risk your fund’s future by putting your investment data, and your client’s data at risk? In 2015 The Global Cost of Cyber Crime was Estimated at $315 billion dollars.3 The monetary damages in the form of actual money stolen or fines levied by the SEC is quantifiable at a point in time and can be managed. The damage to your fund’s reputation is not fully quantifiable, and the fallout would be nearly impossible to manage. Loss of investor faith will cripple your ability to raise new funds and would likely lead to a flood of redemptions.

There are two clear opposing issues here:

  1. The protection of your firm’s data at all costs, and
  2. The need to ensure that your team can operate as efficiently as possible while they travel.

Consider the scenario where your Head of Investor Relations travels abroad to meet potential investors from a sovereign fund. Is your company secure enough to prevent a data breach or prepared to take action if one of these events occur?

  • The employee’s phone with company apps or data is lost or stolen.
  • Your company’s email or CRM system is accessed through an insecure or jailbroken phone with a known security vulnerability.
  • The employee saves a file attachment received via company email to the hard drive of a PC at a hotel business center and does not delete it.
  • The employee accesses company data over public Wi-Fi that is inherently not secure.

Many firms are limiting what their travelling executives can access while they are on the road, or requiring them to remote in through limited access protocols like VPN or Citrix. The main question is, can any fund afford to limit what their Head of Investor Relations can access while they are on the road, at meetings with key investors? Maintaining this productivity could be the difference in securing a new Investor for your fund.

The Solution

The good news is that these and many other threats can be handled with the right security package and many are available in the marketplace. In Gartner’s 2016 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management Suites report, these security packages are recognized as Enterprise Mobility Management (“EMM”) products. EMM products provide a comprehensive security package that secures your firm on all data entry points while enabling employee work mobility.

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite

FinServ Consulting has found that Asset Managers are primarily Microsoft-centric in that their infrastructure is Windows based, their productivity suite is Microsoft Office, and their email is on Outlook. With the core systems using Microsoft products, Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite (“EMS”) security package is a natural fit for these organizations.

Microsoft's EMS product consists of several components acting together to leverage Microsoft technologies to form a more comprehensive framework (as shown below) to protect your organization’s data while providing employee mobility.4

Conclusion

Microsoft offers a full EMM security platform that will support your organization today and tomorrow.   As the mobile workforce continues to transform the way your employees work and interact with your firm’s data, it is critical to keep the mobile workforce productive and secure your firm data. Microsoft’s EMS is a comprehensive security package that offers a tight integration with the Microsoft family of products that competitors cannot match. FinServ is a Microsoft certified partner. To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s Microsoft and Enterprise Mobility Suite expertise, please contact us at info@finservconsulting.com or (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

References

1 IDC Forecasts: U.S. Mobile Worker Population to Surpass 105 Million by 2020

2 Identity Theft Resource Center: Working to Prevent Internal Data Breaches

3 Financial Times: Asia hacking: Cashing in on cyber crime - Attacks cost Asian companies $81bn last year. The region is even more vulnerable to new scams

4 Microsoft: Enabling mobile productivity for iOS, OS X, and Android devices at Microsoft

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