Taking a proactive approach to cyber security

HedgeFacts explains how Brandon Global has changed their approach to risk management and compliance in the cyber security area.

HedgeFacts offers a range of software solutions including risk analysis and performance reporting for financial clients such as hedge funds and alternative investment managers. It has offices in Dublin, Ireland and Cincinnati, Ohio. John Hynes is its CEO.

Why is cyber security important to your business? 

We provide software-as-a-service solutions to a range of financial clients such as hedge funds and alternative investment managers, so it’s clear that the data we hold is sensitive – it really is akin to bank account information.  We are obligated from a legal and contractual perspective to ensure that we have done everything reasonably possible to safeguard that data. 

Our clients have entrusted us with a very important responsibility and we take that obligation very seriously.  We are hugely conscious of the need to maximise our cyber security defences to keep their information safe.   

Of course, cyber security incidents can severely hamper business continuity, even if there isn’t a data breach. It shouldn’t be surprising that a company like ours, that is servicing the needs of sophisticated financial services clients, would be focused on the cost/benefit associated with the ongoing investment we’ve chosen to make. We know that the money we spend to ensure we are protected will pay huge dividends, so long as we are investing it on the right solutions with the right solutions partner. 

When did you realise that you may need a new cyber security partner?

As a SAAS provider, we are very dependent on the integrity of our IT infrastructure.  We have never experienced a data breach of any kind, but that doesn’t mean we can ever be complacent.  

Data breaches can come from anywhere and can happen at any time. To win the battle, you have to stay ahead of the “bad actors” out there who are constantly devising new ways to compromise your systems. So, we are always looking for better approaches to remaining secure.  

Our clients are exacting.  Our service must be reliable, responsive, and highly available.   We pride ourselves on exceeding client expectations.  That’s our mission. So, we needed a partner that was as dedicated to its clients as we are to ours, and would be proactive, not reactive. Most of all, we wanted to be confident that they would be there when we needed them.  At a certain point it became clear that our previous vendor wasn’t able or willing to give us that level of service.

After considerable due diligence, including a good deal of research and some informal polling of other financial services companies of a similar size to ours, with similar needs, we found Brandon Global.  From the very beginning, through a number of interactions with our team members, they demonstrated the type of commitment to responsive service that we were seeking.

Outline what you did to future-proof your company from IT threats.

As part of the process of right-sizing the cyber security solution set, Brandon Global works with its clients to assess their current state and provide a plan that allows them to get to the next level of preparedness.  

One of the key things Brandon Global brought to the table was its 365vigilanceproduct, a threat monitoring solution that promised to provide real-time monitoring, altering and reporting capabilities.  So we could experience the solution first-hand before we committed, Brandon Global offered us a no-cost trial of the solution.

From our end, working with Brandon Global was very smooth.  They installed the 365vigilanceTMappliance and had everything was up and running without any disruption to our operation. 

365vigilance™ from Brandon Global provides our first line of defence against cyber threats, and we haven’t been disappointed.  We receive regular notifications to keep us up to date on what has been intercepted. The goal is to improve security, sometimes restrict specific traffic and limit where connections can be made to places where we don’t want our staff to go in the first place. 

What results have you seen since working with Brandon Global?

Active monitoring of potential cyber threats has proven indispensable to our overall cyber security regime. With this type of solution, the best news is no news: Brandon Global monitors the system alerts and is responsible for informing us if there was a need to respond to a threat.    

From the start of the trial, we could see the value in the 365vigilance™ monitor.  It improved our network visibility and prevented malware from infecting our system. Our readiness is enhanced by real-time 24/7 monitoring and alerting, and it is a critical component of our cyber security defence. 

We extended our use of the solution to all of our locations and recently received the latest version. 365vigilance™ from Brandon Global taps into a global database of known threats, which is constantly being updated.   They continue to enhance the capabilities of 365vigilance™;  the next version will provide an improved management dashboard and improved reporting.   Add to this is the proactive “hands on” service that Brandon Global provides and we have I think done as much as we can to address cyber threats, now and into the future.

How has your organization’s approach to risk management and compliance in the cyber security area changed? 

We have always taken a strong line on cyber security but over time, it’s fair to say we’ve come to really appreciate our outlay as a wholly necessary cost – it really is a crucial investment in the business. 

The key thing is that there doesn’t need to be a major incident for there to be a problem; it could be something incidental like getting caught in the crossfire of phishing or spam.  It’s about minimising risks and maximising safety with layers of protection.  And it’s about having a response plan in place that ensures we know how to resolve issues when they arise.  Brandon Global has helped us put the right combination of solutions and processes in place, and stands behind us with a backstop of knowledge and expertise, 24/7. 

What is different about Brandon Global compared with their competitors? 

Brandon Global understands the demands and needs of businesses like ours, as well as our capabilities.  We like dealing with the Brandon Global team because they are a good cultural fit; they understand the importance of responsive customer service and are invested in our success.  At Brandon Global, you don’t have to get through layers of bureaucracy to reach the true decisionmakers – I know I can reach Brandon Global’s owners and top business executives, whenever I need them.

What advice can you give to businesses that are looking to improve their approach to risk management and compliance in the cyber security area? 

In today’s connected world, very few businesses can afford to treat cyber security risk management and compliance as an optional “nice to have”.  It has to be considered a priority. Owners of small and medium-sized businesses sometimes mistakenly assume a comprehensive cyber security regime is something only larger companies can afford.  While it does require investing time, effort and budget to get your solution in place, you don’thave to hire a full-time, in-house, cyber security staff to address your needs. Choosing the right partner to help at the start will go a long way toward ensuring you get a solution that is right-sized for your business. 

I think more SMEs should be aware of the benefits of having a partner like Brandon Global.  They are focused on our part of the market, with a pragmatic approach that minimizes the impact on smaller operations like ours, while delivering a level of quality service that rivals what many larger organizations deliver.

It used to seem impossible for a business like ours to find such a partner, but I am here to tell you it can be done. You just have to know where to look.

For more information, see hedgefacts.com