Case study: Why moving to the cloud meant CG Asset Management could improve its security and continuity planning
Chris Taylor, Chief Operating Officer at CG Asset Management, explains why the firm decided to move IT operations to the cloud, the challenges on the way and his top tips for choosing the right data partner.
Sara Benwell POSTED ON 2/11/2021 1:57:16 PM
Sara Benwell: Why did you decide to move your IT operations to the cloud now?
Chris Taylor: “Digital transformation” is a phrase which is used a lot at the moment, but it’s something which really is happening right across the industry. We are finding more of our service providers are using API’s and SFTP for file delivery in order to streamline data delivery.
Our, ever increasing, data storage and security requirements were key drivers which led us to look for new solutions, but the real deciding factor was how robust yet customisable the cloud-based systems have become.
Cloud computing has come a long way in a relatively short space of time and public cloud adoption in financial services has become increasingly popular.
“The real deciding factor was how robust yet customisable the cloud-based systems have become“
I knew a number of large firms were using hybrid cloud platforms but with the back-up and restore services now available we can have a pure cloud solution which would allow us to get back to normal operations by quickly restoring files in the event of a cyber incident or system failure.
Business continuity planning is very important and a solution that allows as many options as possible means we are able to plan for every eventuality.
The service offerings that are available today can give small boutique asset managers the best-in-class security tools and a level of customisation that would only have been available to much larger organisations a few years ago.
Sara: How did you go about selecting the right data partner?
Chris: It’s important to have an IT partner that has the necessary technical knowledge but also has industry specific experience. The firm that we chose to manage our IT services works exclusively with FCA regulated clients, so they understand the level of security that is expected by our regulators and our clients; they have a real focus on cyber security.
We wanted a service provider who would be able to provide a fully managed IT service; from disaster recovery, cyber security and infrastructure maintenance down to the day-to-day help desk support for when you just can’t remember what that password could be.
“We wanted a service provider who would be able to provide a fully managed IT service”
It’s also important to have a service provider who has a local team. When everything is Cloud hosted it is easy to forget the things that can go wrong on site and unless you have a dedicated IT presence in the office you need a team of engineers who can get to your location very quickly.
Sara: What were some of the core challenges in the shift – and how did you overcome these?
Chris: The key challenge when moving to a new platform is knowing what you want. When everything is new, where do you start? We relied on our specialist IT partner to advise us on what our peers were doing and how we could adopt and build on the best practice model advised by Microsoft.
“We relied on our specialist IT partner to advise us on what our peers were doing”
A big challenge was going “live” just before the Covid-19 travel restrictions were being put in place. All staff had received training on the changes but many of the tools we use are already software-as-a-Service (Saas) so the transition was fairly seamless.
I think firms that relied on large numbers of staff physically being in the office will have struggled in the early days of the pandemic but one of the good things about being a smaller boutique is that we were able to be nimble and adapt quickly to a world that was changing very quickly around us.
Sara: What are the main operational benefits that you’re seeing as a result of moving?
Chris: The new solution allowed us to have all staff working from home without any reduction in the quality of service and without compromising the level of security that our clients and the regulators would expect if we were still on site. The team became familiar with the new collaboration tools very quickly and it has allowed us to be just as efficient now as we were in the office.
“Our teams can work wherever, whenever and be confident that they will have everything they need to do their job”
Moving away from thin client devices to devices which use One drive and have a good amount of processing power meant that staff could continue to work as normal when the home internet network providers were being overwhelmed at the start of the pandemic. Our teams can work wherever, whenever and be confident that they will have everything they need to do their job.
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