Protecting vital systems and sensitive investor data from cyber threats is mission-critical for investment management firms. This is especially prevalent, now that malicious actors are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, active, and proficient at compromising your firm’s data. But what’s the best way to protect your firm? Should you split your managed IT and cybersecurity needs between vendors? Or consolidate them under one roof?   

Historically, investment management executives have approached the notion of having a single provider manage their IT and security programs with a mindset rooted in conventional thinking. The prevailing belief has been that entrusting both aspects to a unified provider might introduce conflicts of interest, raise concerns about accountability, and possibly lead to overlooked blind spots. 

However, when seconds count for resolution, reframing this perspective is crucial. The focus is shifting toward a unified provider that intimately knows your firm inside and out, emphasizing the paramount need for a cohesive partnership aligning IT, cyber operations, and cyber governance. This approach ensures a robust defense, and effective policy implementation, and maximizes return on investment (ROI). Recognizing that the real bottleneck lies in achieving a swift ROI, a cohesive partnership that aligns IT and Security strategy becomes paramount. 

The Growing Complexity of Cyber Threats 

Based on our 2023 Cybersecurity Trends Report, cyberattacks have skyrocketed over 200 percent in the past year, and the time it takes to resolve incidents jumped 53 percent. Bad actors are getting stealthier and more complex in their methods. In some cases, causing chaos takes priority over profit. 

Remote and hybrid work environments have increased the attack surface, expanding opportunities for social engineering. Help desks get tricked into resetting controls. Employees get duped into handing over login info or roped into being accomplices. Vendors become unwitting backdoors into networks.  

In a fragmented security environment, response time drags. Our own company-wide data show that response time takes an average of 40% longer when services are split. Separate solutions are less agile, and you’re ill-equipped to respond to threats and breaches rapidly and efficiently. 

Fighting fires on every front and trying to juggle separate IT and cybersecurity providers on your own is a huge undertaking. There has to be a better way (and there is). 

global service desk predicting issues before they impact

Industry Trends Point to Consolidation 

The investment management industry is leaning toward bundling managed IT and cybersecurity under one roof. Both the cybersecurity report and the 2023 Managed IT Trends Report showed unanimous agreement that integrating the two improves overall cybersecurity posture.  

According to the cybersecurity report, every firm that insources their cyber programs said they’d consider outside help; nearly a third (30%) are looking for an all-in-one managed service provider (MSP) who can oversee their IT environment and cybersecurity programs. 

On the managed IT side, firms that outsource their managed IT said they’re open to a new provider. When we asked why, 81 percent said it was to consolidate managed IT and cyber operations under one roof and a quarter told us they want someone who can manage both IT and cyber governance programs. 

Integrated providers leverage shared threat intelligence, coordinated incident response, and purpose-built tools for robust IT operations and ironclad (but transparent) security. 

Who’s watching the watcher? 

Managed IT and cybersecurity operations are becoming more interdependent. Leading platforms like Microsoft Azure offer robust built-in threat detection and response capabilities but fully realizing the potential of these tools requires unified governance encompassing both ongoing operations and regular penetration testing. By consolidating these functions with a single vendor, investment firms optimize efficiency and enhance accountability.  

With intimate knowledge of your systems and policies, the right partner serves as an extension of your team, overseeing security configuration as well as conducting annual assessments tailored to your regulatory obligations. This merged approach bridges the gap between platform features and practical application, weaving Managed IT, cyber operations, and pen testing into a comprehensive cyber strategy governed by a single trusted advisor. Ultimately, this unified model provides exceptional risk visibility and control while maximizing limited resources. 

By establishing a comprehensive team of risk testers, forward-thinking investment management executives maintain the benefits of vendor consolidation while meeting regulatory and investor demands for independent testing. In this context, outsourcing pen tests becomes a strategic move, allowing specialized expertise to evaluate the tester. Simultaneously, incorporating the results into your holistic IT plan with the guidance of a vCISO ensures a comprehensive and effective cybersecurity strategy.  

Reputable partners like Agio offer stringent safeguards, including regulatory compliance, regular audits, executive oversight, and transparent communication to address concerns and prioritize your security and privacy interests. This approach not only enhances accountability but also minimizes potential blind spots, giving you the peace of mind you deserve.  

One is Greater Than Two 

Bundling managed IT and cybersecurity services under one roof offers a strategic advantage, promoting seamless collaboration and eliminating the inefficiencies associated with managing disparate vendors. In today’s landscape of relentless and sophisticated cyber threats, the traditional divided approach falls short. It’s not just about handing off issues; it’s about teams working cohesively to tackle evolving challenges. 

Consolidation with the right partner ensures tight integration and coordination, enabling your organization to stay ahead of cyber threats. This approach not only optimizes efficiency by leveraging shared tools, resources, and intelligence but also dispels concerns about the fox watching the hen house.  

Don’t let outdated assumptions deter you from considering a consolidated model. For many firms today, it’s the most agile and effective way to manage IT and security in the face of rising cyber risk. And staying agile and resilient? That’s the name of the game now. 

Ready for the next step on your journey toward a more vigilant and capable cyber defense? Contact us today. 

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