Blogs & Opinions

Scaling security & support: what next for finance firms

For financial service firms, the actions needed to continue business operations have never been more challenging than when faced with the COVID-19 outbreak. Financial services companies have tried and tested ways of working that other industries may see as inflexible, but you knew from experience that they were secure and compliant with the regulatory requirements you need to meet. Offices were full, IT was managed onsite on the whole. In-person was the way of your world.

Getting the best, without being crippled by cost

Now, your teams are far-flung and remote. When the impact of COVID-19 was realised for workforces around the world, the number one discussion point was security, and specifically providing more secure ways of working. Quite quickly, the reorganisation of teams working remotely meant a move to SaaS based infrastructure models, and fast paced migrations enabled remote workers to access their working world in a completely new way.
This has meant that firms have not only had to scale up their physical infrastructure but also the services that support this new environment. Whilst upscaling is of course needed, there will be concerns around the current and future costs. The responsibility of these additional costs weigh heavily on procurement and finance teams, where the decisions are often levelled outside of the IT professionals’ scope. You want the best for your teams, but for example, having to purchase company-wide hardware out of the blue, especially in the present situation, means needing the best configuration at the best price.

Building a new normal, whilst meeting the same regulations

Most firms have found their way through those initial unexpected challenges now, but face a new set with the incremental relaxation of governmental restrictions. Your firm no longer looks the same as it did two or three months ago, and a new normal is emerging. Businesses, outside of this industry too but especially for financial firms, have learnt that they can build in security to suit all environments, allowing them to adapt to the current circumstances and beyond.
The key change for your industry is that onsite support is no longer required in the way it once was. Right now, all of our financial clients are running with remote support and that’s a huge change. Employees now have to, and do, follow the processes rather than relying on in-person assistance. Whether that’s contacting the service desk, or making use of self-service portals – they can make the necessary changes and find answers as a first port of call now.

Although you may have found that IT support, such as via Allied’s service desk, has needed to increase to cover the weekends as well as weekdays to get teams up and running, there has been cost savings realised in these changes. Without having the onsite support, costs can be reduced. As one with our clients, we work to ensure that your Allied trusted team remains the same – be that in person or over the phone – which means you don’t have to be concerned about changing the kind of service you need.

You don’t have to be alone in this

This is just part of the partnerships we form. As a highly regulated business with data sensitivities and security concerns, you need to know you’re working with a trusted team now and as changes continue to occur to the way everyone will work. Looking forward, it seems that a blended approach may well become normal for financial services firms, where some of your colleagues are home-based and some travel into the office. The fixed structures of the past are no more, and firms will need to be flexible for those circumstances to change as needed.
Knowing that you and your IT infrastructure is supported no matter what is important when facing these kinds of changes. At Allied we offer our mobile service desk, so the same engineers can make the onsite visits when required, after taking the calls in the first place. This also reduces costs because troubleshooting can be done remotely in the first instance. We view our responsibilities, as your partner, seriously: be that building a trustworthy relationship or offering cost effective solutions to the challenges you face.

My advice is to trial how your teams will work in the near and distant future, what you will require and what you will need to scale up to meet those requirements. It doesn’t make sense, financial or otherwise, to pay for excess services and instructure when you may not need as much in-office in the longer term or may want different measures to meet the needs of your remote workers. If you are looking for an overhead reduction, we are here to help – from research on where the spend is occurring, to streamlined models reducing the day-to-day costs, whilst gaining benefits for you and the business.