This case study is the latest in a series on the real-world benefits of the cloud.
At External IT, we believe wealth management firms know their business better than anyone. What motivates one firm to adopt cloud technology is not necessarily the same thing that motivates another firm.
Yet, any firm considering such a transition deserves to see what their peers have gotten out of cloud computing. By capturing the real-world experiences of advisors, support staff and customers, case studies can help firms decide if the cloud is right for them.
Eileen Friestad had been evaluating cloud computing for some weeks before disaster struck. As President of CWP Management, Inc., a busy family office based in Chicago, IL, she listed IT management among her many duties. A webinar by External IT and hosted by the Family Office Exchange, a peer-to-peer network for family offices, had shown her that a cloud desktop system could be the ideal replacement for CWP’s aging technology.Arriving at work one morning she was confronted by a shocking scene. One wall of CWP’s data center had been ripped open in error by a construction worker. Thick plaster dust worked its way into delicate hard drives and within weeks the entire data center, including the backup system, was out of commission.
In a recent blog post we offered guidance on how to write a secure password. It’s sound advice: every RIA, broker-dealer and asset manager reading this would do well to make it company policy. However, a new report by Recorded Future, a data mining firm, has highlighted the inherent inadequacies in IT security based on a single password – no matter how carefully constructed.
If your firm is making plans for an office move, you might think you have enough on your plate without scribbling, “Complete refresh of IT infrastructure” on your to-do list. If you want to leverage your move for additional benefit, you’ll follow the example of Michael Goodman and do just that. He took advantage of what is arguably the perfect opportunity to solve many common IT challenges, such as outdated servers and software, security compliance headaches, and unpredictable maintenance costs.
Michael is President of Wealthstream Advisors, a registered investment advisor and full-service wealth management firm. Highly specialized in its field, the company was not large enough to warrant in-house IT support, leaving its eight staff to maintain their own systems. Clearly this was not ideal.
What would happen to your business if staff couldn’t get into the office? What if the office itself was put out of action? These were just the sort of questions facing the leaders of First National Corporation (FNC), a registered investment advisor (RIA) located in Rockland, MA, when they sat down to think about business continuity and disaster recovery.
Their top priorities were maintaining service to clients during relatively rare yet probable events, such as extreme bad weather, and limiting downtime to an absolute minimum in the case of more serious misfortune. Less anticipated was the extent to which continuity and disaster planning would bring new flexibility to staff, freeing them to work at any location without compromise to data access or IT capability.
Growth is great news for any business, so congratulations if your firm is in this happy position. Of course, if you’re responsible for IT you’ll know that more staff, expanding operations or additional services can all put significant pressure on your infrastructure.
This was the situation at HTG Investment Advisors. Founded in 1993, the firm had built its business on the basis of close partnerships with clients to develop portfolios tailored to their goals, rather than selling pre-made investment products. This was achieved thanks to a high degree of direct client contact; HTG has always relied on technology to enable staff to stay close to clients and build productive, trusted working relationships.