4 Reasons Why Alternative Investment Managers Should Consider the Public Cloud
The public cloud is in demand for small start-ups and larger existing firms alike. How can you take advantage of all the cloud has to offer?
Here are the benefits to consider when moving from on-premises to cloud computing, including real-life examples from Thrive, Managed Service Provider (MSP) and trusted advisor to the alternative investment industry.
1. Layered Security
Human error is the biggest security risk any company faces. In the cloud, you remove all internal human error from physical data center security. Working with an MSP experienced in creating cloud environments, you have the ability to add layers of cybersecurity around data access.
For example, Thrive applies automated cybersecurity warnings to our clients’ environments to detect any attempted breaches immediately. “One of our hedge fund clients recently experienced an attempted breach, which was immediately identified and blocked via multiple conditional access policies, resulting in zero data loss or compromised accounts,” stated Michael Laudenslager, Cloud Architect at Thrive. “Prior to becoming an Thrive client, that same hedge fund experienced a security breach resulting in data and monetary loss. The breach was not discovered for a few days.”
The importance of engaging a knowledgeable vendor was underscored by a recent survey[i] reporting that security misconfiguration errors accounted for 67% of all cloud data breaches in 2020. An expert vendor will know how to avoid these costly pitfalls.
Another security consideration for moving to the cloud is the outages that data centers can suffer. In the public cloud, you don’t have to worry about the physical security and availability of your company’s data. Mr. Laudenslager cited Superstorm Sandy: “We had clients whose buildings were flooded, and some lost equipment.” The risks associated with on-premises equipment vanish for firms fully invested in the cloud.
2. Cost Reduction and Increased Revenue
Right now, the physical location of your data center is racking up costs for maintenance, energy, a generator, and support personnel. The equipment housed inside will deteriorate over time, giving way to necessary and costly upgrades, on top of software licensing and renewal fees. There is the added expense of Disaster Recovery (DR), which requires a second location to allow seamless transitions from the primary system in the case of a disruption. Switching to a qualified public cloud service provider can reduce these operational costs, as well as infrastructure overhead.
The cloud’s flexibility can also drive revenue. “Our customers are hedge funds, private equity firms, other alternative investment companies, and quant [quantitative] funds,” said Mr. Laudenslager. “When we look specifically at quant funds, they trade by programming. The public cloud’s flexibility and agility support them on high-volume trading days, increasing resources based on the volume of trades.” For these types of funds, prices can drop within seconds, so the cloud’s speed is paramount, yielding increased revenue.
Hedge funds, by their very nature, are ideal for the cloud’s flexibility. The average hedge fund employs less than 20 people. If you have14 people in five countries, you can share the same functionality and save money because you don’t need a data center in every single country or location (an additional cost savings).
Migrating to the cloud can also yield cost savings[ii] by eliminating telecom expenses, offloading storage, streamlining data-intensive processes, and creating a unified infrastructure.
3. Flexibility and Agility
It can take a short amount of time to go from a blank slate to a fully functioning cloud environment depending on complexity and need. If you only need to use certain parts of the public cloud, such as solely using Microsoft Teams for collaboration, you can be set up and configured in a matter of hours, with zero interruption to workflow.
With the public cloud, you can easily increase computing and trading speed point-to-point from your office to the data center. AWS’s Direct Connect and Microsoft’s Express Route offer different storage tiers and processing speeds. And it’s important to note that the public cloud is completely customizable for speed and resources, depending on your needs.
In addition, the public cloud allows you to process a tremendous volume of workflow, using collaborative SharePoint sites or web apps, without concerns about memory and storage space. And for international operations, you can go global in minutes, setting up operations in the UK or Singapore, enabling you to expand your global business faster and eliminating the need to be physically in those locations.
A 2017 Harvard Business Review study reported[iii] that “business agility/flexibility” was the primary reason companies either migrated fully to the cloud or adopted a hybrid cloud architecture.
In this fast-moving, agile world we now live in, the public cloud gives your IT infrastructure flexibility to keep up with business, social, and/or environmental changes that may materialize.
4. The Public Cloud Is Always Progressing
New functionality is updated daily in the cloud. At Microsoft alone, just under 1,000 new features are currently at various stages in its roadmap. However, your firm doesn’t have to lift a finger to accommodate these upgrades-—an experienced cloud provider handles all these new functionalities and administers all your software upgrades for you.
As the adoption of the public cloud is exploding, you as a customer are constantly benefitting from extensive R&D and testing. Your company gains from all these innovations without having to undergo the costs of testing or any potential issues that arise during the testing process.
Recently the cloud has been constantly innovating[iv] in response to the pandemic, as enterprises’ IT infrastructures become more complex and remote working expands to home offices and devices.
Lastly, cloud providers build compliance tools and configuration options into their infrastructure, so you have peace of mind your technology solutions are compliant. These compliance features enable you to easily configure and/or audit your environment to address discrepancies in governing body regulations and compliance policies, making it easier to adhere to government regulations.
In the world of alternative investments and hedge fund cybersecurity, there’s nothing you can’t get in the cloud. If you’re interested in learning more about what the public cloud has to offer—security, flexibility, cost savings, and increased revenue—let’s talk about the best solution to meet your business requirements.
[i] Security Magazine; Nearly 80% of Companies Experienced a Cloud Data Breach in Past 18 Months; 6/5/20
[iii] Data Kitchen, Your Cloud Migration is Actually an Agility Initiative; 9/10/20