In the midst of the escalating and increasingly severe cyber threats, a notable transformation is underway among financial services Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) — The need to efficiently scale IT operations. The demand for efficiently scaling IT operations is driving a shift from in-house management to outsourcing, a direct response to the pressing need to combat the expanding threat landscape. 

The expanding threat landscape amplifies the significance of your role as a CTO, and your impact is evident in your contributions to the organization’s growth, innovation, and security. 

Yet, you also serve as a crucial link between technology and business strategy. Your responsibility extends to guaranteeing the smooth functioning of all technical facets while charting the path for future technological advancements.  

Nonetheless, CTOs face workplace challenges that persist as we approach 2024, and the challenges observed throughout 2023 are likely to continue. The data presented in Agio’s 2023 Hedge Fund Managed IT Trends Report and 2023 Hedge Fund Cybersecurity Trends Report further underscores the crucial role you play in addressing these challenges. 

In this article, we delve into the challenges encountered by CTOs, as unveiled in our 2023 survey series, and explore the strategies they are adopting to navigate the ever-evolving technology and cybersecurity landscape. 

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Key Challenges Confronting Financial Services CTOs 

  1. Escalating Cyber Threats: According to our 2023 Hedge Fund Cybersecurity Report, an alarming 74 percent of CTOs acknowledge the surge in cyberattacks, coupled with their increasing severity. These digital attacks pose a significant threat to an organization’s operations and reputation, making cybersecurity more fundamental than ever before. 
  2. Change of Pace in Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI is emerging as a transformative technology, with 57 percent of hedge funds surveyed in our managed IT consider it an essential capability for their managed service providers. CTOs are keen to harness AI’s potential for streamlining operations and driving innovation. While the benefits of AI are undeniable, in regulated financial firms, it’s vital for CTOs to identify AI users and purposes, ensuring the existence of policies for addressing this and mitigating risks. 
  3. Challenges in Cloud Technologies: The cloud revolution is reshaping the tech landscape, and organizations are increasingly turning to cloud computing to stay competitive. However, this transition is not without its challenges. In fact, 60 percent of hedge funds are seeking new IT providers according to our managed IT report due to inadequate cloud support. This underscores the pressing need for comprehensive and robust cloud solutions to address the complexities of cloud technology effectively. 
  4. Inflationary Pressures and Workforce Challenges: Economic pressures have led 55 percent of firms to intensify their IT outsourcing efforts, while 87 percent have done so in response to the Great Resignation, as per our managed IT report. CTOs must devise strategies to maintain operational efficiency amid economic uncertainties and staffing turbulence. 
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CTOs’ Plot Changes for a Tech-Driven Future 

Now that we’ve covered the pain points, how can CTOs navigate the path forward? Many CTOs are responding to these challenges by strategically adopting managed services, consolidating operations, and embracing new innovative technologies.  

Let’s focus on a few of their techniques: 

  1. Avoiding Intensifying and Increasing Threats: As we know, 74 percent of hedge fund CTOs that responded to our cybersecurity report agreed that cyber threats in 2023 were both more intense and more frequent than years prior. There are several contributing factors to the rapid rise in attack frequency, but the key takeaway for CTOs is to ensure your team is viewing IT governance and cybersecurity governance as a singular, interconnected operational risk (or strength, depending on how robust your policies and practices are).  At a minimum, we would advise conducting regular security assessments and employee cybersecurity awareness training programs. We’ve also developed the Agio IT Infrastructure Assessment for CTOs looking for a more detailed view of how their current enterprise technology configuration and management practices may be exposing their firm to additional cybersecurity risks. 
  2. Transition from In-House to Outsourcing: In our managed IT survey, every CTO who took part that previously managed their IT in-house plan to outsource within the next 24 months. Still, CTOs and their organizations need to be particular in (MSP). Evaluate providers based on your company-specific needs, highlighting factors such as data security, compliance, and stability. Effective communication and collaboration with the MSP you choose will be essential for a smooth transition to alleviate the challenges associated with cloud adoption. And, thus, CTOs can amplify their focus on internal technological issues. 
  3. Scaling IT Operations Cost-Effectively: The imperative to scale IT operations efficiently has prompted 59 percent of firms that participated in our managed IT report result to outsourcing in pursuit of improved cost-efficiency, especially those managing substantial assets. To continue to tackle this issue, CTOs should conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses to identify opportunities for optimization costs within existing infrastructure while strategically outsourcing non-core functions.  
  4. Mastering AI: To navigate the changing landscape of AI, CTOs should take a strategic approach. Begin with a comprehensive assessment of how AI can benefit your business and develop a clear strategy. Collaborate with AI experts to implement tailored solutions and prioritize pilot projects. Ensure robust data governance, address security and ethical concerns, and invest in staff training. Continuously evaluate AI’s impact on your business and adjust your strategy as needed. With this approach, your organization can harness AI’s transformative potential for streamlining operations and driving innovation while also protecting the potential threats and ensuring responsible use.  
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Confidence, Knowing Agio Has You Covered 

As technology evolves and becomes more complex, CTOs are the cornerstone upon which organizations rely for their technological expertise and leadership. With the right strategies and partners, they can effectively address the challenges posed by cyber threats, staffing pressures, and the need for cost efficiency. 

Agio’s Cybersecurity Services contain a 360 portfolio of services that provides next-generation tools combined with our expert security engineers to give you coverage 24x7x365. We will protect you against third-party risk, provide penetration testing, and eliminate human error through employee training and quick incident response. More specifically, Open Extended Detection and Response is an AI-powered approach that will bring your cybersecurity to the next level. This time, we are smarter and faster, with a mission to improve the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of threat detection. 

And to maximize your security, we urge you to consolidate and consider Agio’s Managed IT Services. Our goal is to provide frictionless IT with around-the-clock managed user support. We are consistent, forward-thinking, and transparent, as we even give you personalized insights and recommendations in an IT report. The consolidation of our services will allow you to be more productive and worry less about risk.  

Follow Agio’s lead, as together we navigate the complex terrain and steer towards a future marked by confidence and innovation. Join hands with Agio and embrace the future of technology with assurance! Contact us today.