It's an unfortunate fact of life that we all make mistakes. Sometimes they can’t be helped and sometimes the fallout can be contained with relatively little impact. What happens, however, when a mistake is made that could cost you and your investment firm dearly? How could you overcome such an issue and how frustrating would it be if you knew it could have been easily avoided?
IT mistakes are incredibly easy to make, but just as easily avoidable as well. And being able to avoid them in the first place really comes down to your approach to IT. Simply put - is your approach proactive or reactive? And depending on how you answered this, helps you answer whether or not you're putting your firm’s IT requirements first.
The following are five key IT mistakes that LA Investment Advisors can’t afford to make:
1. Failure to keep data secure
Your firm handles a lot of data during your average working day, including clients’ details, sensitive documents, and market information. What would happen if that data fell into the wrong hands, or if it was lost for any reason at all? It's essential that you protect your firm’s data in every way that you can, including the use of firewalls and malware, encryption software and data backup and recovery programs. The loss of your company’s information could cost you dearly, so this is one mistake that you can’t afford to make.
2. Failure to properly manage 3RD party vendors
Outsourcing your IT is incredibly popular these days, enabling someone outside of your firm to handle your every IT need while you focus on the job at hand: your clients and their investments. It is, however, essential that you handle outsourcing appropriately. For example, relinquishing control of your IT simply because you don’t understand a particular aspect can cause horrendous problems down the line, while failing to outsource simple tasks will eat up your time and that of your staff.
When you outsource your IT, first off - make sure the partner you choose understands and has experience working with RIAs. Make sure that you've vetted them fully - talk to their references, determine their level of expertise in your industry, make sure they're mature in their operations. Then, on an ongoing basis, make sure that at a minimum you always have all of your information documented and on hand. You should never be at their mercy.
3. Relying on technology without the appropriate safety net
Interacting with technology, more likely than not, pretty much defines your day-to-day operations. But, it’s important to know when to take a step back. You’re an Investment Advisor – focus on what you do and let others experienced in IT ensure your IT is solid. Don’t rely on technology without making sure you’ve minimized its failure points. Require that the appropriate level of redundancy is in place to ensure uninterrupted computing resources. Learn to ask the right questions to ensure this is always happening.
4. Failure to keep up with the times
The world of investing is always changing, as is technology. As an RIA, it’s your job to make sure that you’re always up to date with current affairs and investment opportunities, and your involvement in the IT world should be no different. Have you updated or upgraded your software recently? Are you aware of the latest IT developments? Are you protected against the latest ransomware? Are you secure against the latest hacks? Don't just assume that your IT Service Provider is on top of this. You should be getting proof that this is happening. Failing to follow the latest technological innovations can be as damaging to your business as neglecting the investment markets.
5. Failure to embrace the app
In much the same way that it is essential to keep up to date with technology, it is also vital to embrace the future. Apps are everywhere these days, and they can be a real asset to a business such as yours. Clients can contact you, monitor investment opportunities and receive updates with no effort at all, yet you could be missing out on a whole new realm of time management and customer service.
There is, of course, a whole range of IT pitfalls that you’ll want to avoid careening into. It’s essential to accept IT as a vital part of your daily routine and to understand how technology can complement your business and reduce your workload. If you choose to outsource your IT, just like your clients expect from you, it’s equally important that you, yourself, partner with a Trusted Advisor experienced in your industry for your IT service. If you’re unsure about where you stand, please feel free to contact us – we would be more than happy to discuss any IT issue you may have.
Has your firm run into an IT issue that you're struggling with? Have you ever been hit by Ransomware? How are you going about addressing your cybersecurity requirements? Who's making sure your IT is optimized? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments box below, or feel free to send me an email to discuss things more in-depth.