Cloud computing is here to stay, and the buzz throughout industry and government is that hybrid clouds will become the new norm going forward. Hybrid clouds, according to industry experts, can offer the security of on premise, private clouds and the flexibility and agility of commercial public clouds. The Gartner research firm predicts almost half of all large, global enterprises will have deployed hybrid clouds by the end of 2017, with 2016 being a defining year where they will start to move away from private into hybrids.

As inevitable as the cloud is to most organisations, this migration could challenge the management of identity and access privileges of users on your networks and IT systems. There are a few things to keep in mind as your company decides to push forward into a hybrid cloud and the necessary unified management framework that doing so will require.

The virtues of virtual private networks

Virtualization is a means of positioning computing resources (e.g. servers, operating systems, storage, networks) so they may maximise the use of physical computing resources across multiple users. It’s a huge step in the journey toward the hybrid cloud. Thankfully, over the past few years, virtualization technology has expanded from simply running virtual machines on supercomputers to offering all levels and types of virtualized services and networks.

Moreover, virtualization allows a single physical server to run multiple guest operating systems as a way of making more efficient use of the hardware. The technology allows organisations to free up data center space and achieve greater IT operational and energy efficiencies.

In fact, many organisations have been engaged in server virtualization projects for a number of years and are moving on to client, desktop and storage virtualization projects. Part of the formula for success is evaluating capacity planning and other infrastructure assessment tools that can give IT managers a sense of their resource utilisation and help them decide which applications to virtualize.

But like most powerful tools, this is a double-edged sword. Remote access to online resources can effectively negate perimeter defenses and extend the domain of the insider threat worldwide.

Systems need to be able to authenticate the identity of users, and in some cases also the devices being used for access together with the location and type of networks or resources being used. Only then can access privileges be securely granted, based not only on identity, but also the user’s role in the organisation and the circumstances of the connection. An employee connecting to a system during business hours over a secure network might be given wider privileges than when connecting from the other side of the world in the middle of the night, for instance. Hypersocket Software is introducing a suite of access management tools that provide a common user experience and enable organisations to enforce least privilege policies for remote users.

The Hypersocket VPN provides a cost effective alternative to IPsec or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol for secure browser-based remote access with the ease of use of SSL. It lends itself well to Bring Your Own Device scenarios, because the client has no direct access to the network. The ability to have connections to multiple sites at the same time enables secure access to a corporate LAN and other resources such as a private cloud without the need for a permanent bridge between them.

The VPN comes in two editions, a free Open Source version that provides basic connectivity under the GNU General Public License v3 and an Enterprise Edition that provides the additional features required by security-conscious organisations. The server can be installed on any operating system supporting Java and client support currently is available for Windows and Apple OS X.

To enable access, the administrator defines one or more Network Resources using the HSF resource architecture, which identifies individual TCP/IP services that can be assigned to users through their roles.

The Enterprise Edition adds further support, including support for users logging in from Active Directory, branding, auditing, accessing file systems over WebDAV and extended file system support such as Amazon S3, SFTP. It allows for configurable authentication flows and new authentication mechanisms. An Audit Log records all events, which are searchable by event type, session or user. Reports can be exported as CSV, XML or PDF, and administrators have full control over how long the server keeps the data before it is archived.

Published with consideration from ITProPortal. SOURCE

In the current world, business continuity planning (BCP) is imperative to the sustainability of your business. Without a well-thought-out plan in place, it is highly unlikely that your company will be able to survive and recover from disasters. However, there are several major roadblocks to the successful implementation of a business continuity plan. If you’re struggling with BCP, check out our list of some common challenges organizations face, and learn how to address them properly.

Challenge #1: Prohibitive costs

Business continuity planning has become exponentially expensive as availability requirements increase. Many solutions require substantial investments on the installation and maintenance of additional hardware, software, and data center infrastructure. These requirements drive up the cost of business continuity, and many company owners are reluctant to invest in protective measures.

The solution

Instead of relying on costly physical servers to accommodate your backups, consider using efficient and affordable cloud computing solutions. You can transfer your important business files to the cloud and eliminate the expense of having to install and manage hardware infrastructure and software licenses.

Challenge #2: High complexity

Traditional business continuity planning is complex to implement, manage and execute. From managing the recovery infrastructure to updating disaster recovery documentation and testing the BCP to find and close potential loopholes, the prospect of embarking on a BCP project can be daunting, and the whole experience can prove time consuming. Combine with the pressure of your ordinary day-to-day duties, it can seem almost impossible to focus your attention on initiating a BCP.

The solution

With all this in mind, it makes more sense to engage with a company like GCInfotech (a professional IT service provider) to plan, implement, and execute your business continuity plan. This way you can leverage our experience and expertise to ensure that, in the event of a disaster, your company will be able to get back on its feet and resume business operations as quickly as possible.

Challenge #3: Lack of staff involvement

There are so many requirements to be considered in a business continuity plan. And the more employees your organization has, the more difficult it is to relay the essence of the plan for everyone to understand. Staff involvement isn’t an option – it’s an absolute necessity if you wish for a successful BCP implementation!

The solution

Depending on the size of your organization, you can either hold a company meeting to announce the essentials of your BCP, or schedule a meeting with key staff members who take an active role in the planning process. To create a long-lasting BCP program, you need to get everyone on the same page by emphasizing the importance of the plan in an easy-to-understand way.
Business continuity planning is one of the most important things you need to have in place. You never know when, or in what form, a disaster will strike – all the more reason to take a preventative approach to securing your company and all you’ve worked for.

Need a reliable partner to take care of all your business continuity planning needs? Get in touch with us today – we have exactly what you need to prepare and protect your company.

Now more than ever, selecting the right technology is critical to the successful operations of any organization. Given the advances in financial services industry, this is particularly true in the Investment Management and Hedge Fund industry.  The fervent controversy surrounding Michael Lewis’ new book ‘Flash Boys’ illustrates how technology has become the most important competitive differentiator for hedge fund managers.  Selecting the right IT services for hedge funds is critical to addressing investors’ growing desire for secure, robust and reliable infrastructure.

Below are Six Considerations for Hedge Funds evaluating outsourced IT providers

1. Quality of IT Consultants

In today’s environment, your IT provider will be the most important service relationship you will have.  When selecting an outsourced IT provider, it is important to know whom you will potentially be working with. What is the quality of the management team?  Are they seasoned and reputable? What about their support staff?  Are they a skilled technical staff of engineers who can help in all stages of the infrastructure build-out and maintenance?

2. Breadth of IT Solutions

A key criterion that any Hedge Fund CTO must consider is the scope of the firm’s service offering and capabilities. Does the IT provider in question offer all of the solutions and services necessary to address the technical requirements needed for your firm to operate effectively, consistently and efficiently? Remember, these needs will vary based on your firm’s specific business requirements.  They can range from private cloud services, backup & recovery services, security, application hosting, business continuity planning, disaster recovery, data storage and mining, telecom services, IT consulting, electronic communications systems and software development.

3. Industry-Specific Deployment Expertise

Specialization is critical.  Make sure you find out if the service provider possesses deep experience in deploying enterprise solutions and services in an investment management environment. What is the scope of this experience?  Do they have a wide range of experience having worked with small start-ups as well as larger, well-established firms? IT firms are a commodity so be sure to select one that is experienced in deploying systems that are specific to your industry with a track record to prove it. Check references of past clients and ask for examples of clients whose technical needs and scope are a match to your firms.

4. Disaster Recovery approach

Things happen.  Hurricanes, blackouts, floods, disasters, are all too common.  So it’s important to know the IT firm’s disaster recovery process and procedures. Do they employ proper risk controls designed to allow continued performance and availability? What are their data security and retrieval protocols?  Will the provider ensure that your data is secure, protected, and accessible even in the face of disaster?

5. Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud computing has become the de facto infrastructure option for investment firms.  While Cloud services have been in the market for a number of years its still a very specialized and nuanced aspect of the IT service industry.  Be sure to look for a provider that has a robust, scalable and secure cloud infrastructure protocol. As mentioned earlier, Cloud computing for the financial services sector is a specialized skill, so make sure that the firm employs highly trained and certified professionals with experience in financial services operations. As a standard, Tier II or III data centers that are SAS 70 or SSAE-16 certified are a good bet for critical data hosting.

6. Vendor Partners and Network

No IT firm does it all.  Any good IT firm maintains key relationships with partner vendors who fill critical service gaps.  This is a simple reality and the quality of these partners – and their relationship with them – is of high importance. Does the firm have strong vendor relationships? Are they the right mix of best-in-class providers for your unique needs? Strategic partnerships with top-tier technology companies are crucial to maintaining a world-class IT environment for your firm.

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GCInfotech offer IT Services for Hedge Funds and Financial Companies in CT, NY and NYC area. Call us 203 327 5700 to discuss your technology needs.