Category: Finance

What COVID-19 Risk Management and IT Risk Management for Financial Institutions Have in Common
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What COVID-19 Risk Management And IT Risk Management For Financial Institutions Have In Common

If there’s one thing that we have learned from the recent COVID-19 crisis is that nothing is without risk. Any salesman that comes along and tells you that something is “risk-free” is not telling you the truth.

Whether you drive a car, ride your bike to work, or take the subway in a big city, there is risk involved.

Section 1

Author: John McMahon

Read time: 6min

Life is Risk

What the financial markets have learned over the past decade is the fine art of managing risk.

Now, more than ever, our economy is dependent on you, our financial services and banking institutions, in conjunction with the Fed to manage the risk of inflation/hyper-inflation – avoiding the financial collapses seen in great civilizations before us like Athens, Rome, and the Weimar Republic in Germany.

But while you and your colleagues are working on helping our country walk this fiscal tightrope on a global stage, there’s one more thing you have to add to your collection of spinning plates.

IT Risk

You’re already all too aware of the problems of cybercrime stemming from lone-wolf hackers, cybercrime syndicates, and rogue nation-states. So, we won’t get into that.

The risk factors that you might not be considering right now are:

  • Internal Espionage
  • Crashes of Outdated Hardware
  • Sluggish Legacy Applications that Drain Resources
  • Mismanagement of Big Data
  • IT Compliance Challenges
  • The Incorporation of Unproven Technology and AI

The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Even if we ignore cybersecurity challenges (and you shouldn’t), there is still inherent risk in running financial services and banking IT systems.

What Do We Learn From COVID-19 About IT Risk Management for Financial Services and Banking?


1. Put the Professionals to Work – Whether you are a fan of the current administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis or not, you can certainly agree that we need to listen to the healthcare professionals. Why? Because most of us are not epidemiologists. The healthcare professionals can diagnose the problem, give us guidance to get things on track and provide ongoing support to keep the virus at bay. In reality, the CDC, WHO, and HHS are risk management teams. Dealing with risk in your IT environment really is no different, you need to get the professionals involved. Not somebody just out of “med school” but an experienced IT team that can give high-level guidance.


2. Containment and Mitigation – Here’s the hard truth. As long as you have an IT system in your firm or banking institution, there are going to be people trying to leverage that IT system against you for their gain. Technology professionals, like those on the IronOrbit team, have numerous ways to contain and mitigate threats (risks) to your proprietary data and confidential client info. One of those ways is called “sandboxing.” Simply put, an IT “sandbox” is a virtual IT environment in which we can run suspicious apps and open strange files and emails, so if one of them is dangerous, it never comes in contact with your cloud-based environment. Sandboxing is just one of the dozens of tools in the Iron-Orbit containment and mitigation arsenal.


3. Build New Systems – You already know that all systems were not created equal. This is a lesson that we have learned the hard way in the healthcare field during the COVID-19 crisis. In this challenging time, everything from medial logistics to food supply has had to be reconfigured or reinvented to meet the risk the virus is to our society. IT systems are no different. Many banking institutions and financial services firms (maybe yours) operate today on IT systems that are on the brink of failure. Their risk is high. To lower the risks we’ve mentioned above, IT systems have to be reimagined by technology professionals that deal with digital transformation technologies on a daily basis.


Want to know more about lowering your IT risk profile?

We’ve got all the details, and we’d be happy to help.

Send an email or give us a call to begin a no-obligation conversation

(888) 753-5060

Or click below to learn more about our finance solutions.

Why Are Businesses with Money Failing in the Coronavirus Pandemic?
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Why Are Businesses with Money Failing in the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Having working capital is important for all businesses regardless of size, but it’s not enough.

Section 1

Author: John McMahon

Read time: 8min

Emergency Business Continuity
Strategies More Important
Than Working Capital


You watch the Coronavirus task force talk each day. The federal government is making money available to try to help companies survive these months of shutdown. And…your heart goes out to those businesses that are struggling.

The ones you don’t feel sorry for? Well, they’re the companies that have the financial reserves to make it through the hard times. So, here’s the question. Why are some of those companies struggling and going under?

It has nothing to do with their finances and everything to do with their technology.



Circumstances outside of your control can test your business continuity plans. Those without plans will find themselves on some kind of life-support (if they’re lucky).

Section 2
When Facing A Disaster Without Business Continuity Technologies and Strategies, Businesses End Up on Life Support


The companies that invested in cloud assets and cloud-based business continuity strategies over the past few years were able to move employees to work-from-home situations without skipping a beat. Their processes, data, and workspaces were already in the cloud, ready to go.

However, those without a verifiable business continuity plan right now are finding themselves swimming against a tidal wave of bad news. They’re watching their competitors get ahead.

If you’re one of those companies, we understand, and we’re on your side. It’s not your fault. Nobody saw this coming. It’s going to take some time to find your footing in the new normal (whatever that ends up being). This is true even for your competitors.

It’s not too late to move to a business continuity strategy. Do it now. This week we can give you access to an anywhere, any-time, on any-device workflow. Moving to the cloud is the single most powerful strategy you can use to put your company on a level playing field with your competition.


Business continuity is all about keeping things running smoothly and staying ahead of problems. How prepared is your company?

Designing and Implementing a Business Continuity Plan While You Are in the Middle of Navigating Rough Waters


1. The Elements of a Robust Business Continuity Plan

Cloud-based Workspaces (Hosted Desktops) – In this setup, your operating system, applications, data, and personal settings are all hosted securely in the cloud and are protected by secure access protocols. This is critical for employees to work from home or for you to be able to utilize a secondary location.

Geo-redundant Data Backups – By moving backups to the cloud and duplicating those backups in data centers in various geographical regions, your backups are not only protected against local disasters that impact your facility but also regional disasters that could bring down a single data center.

VoIP Communications Systems – VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) communications systems allow you to access the full professional features and branding of your office phone system from any internet-connected device. Employees can access their office line from wherever they are, and new lines can be provisioned within a simple online control panel. With VoIP communications systems in place, voice calls, direct messaging, and video conferencing bridge the gap of in-person communications during a crisis.

2. The Implementation of a Business Continuity Plan

Most, if not all of the companies operating in the world today are now operating off of their continuity plan technology. Some had it already in place. While others are having to scramble to get things figured out in a hurry.

If you’re in the second group, IronOrbit has good news for you.

Moving your workflow into the cloud can be simple and painless (for you). We take on all the hard work of migrating your applications, user settings, databases, and emails while ensuring that everything works as well – or better – in the cloud environment than it did when you had everything hosted on-premises.

But there’s more good news! A company like IronOrbit can set up a business continuity strategy and get your business up and running in the cloud without interrupting your current workflow.

3. The Management and Testing of a Business Continuity Plan

The good news about kicking off a migration to the cloud and utilizing the emergency side of a new business continuity strategy right now is that you get to see your investment working for you right away.

Because of the situation the world is facing right now, companies are getting to see the advantages and drawbacks of the business continuity technology choices they may have made years ago.

Investing in business continuity technology now allows you to “test drive” the tech during the remainder of this challenging time and utilize the most promising workflow features as we move into better times. From an investment point of view, this is a smart time to see what the cloud can do for your business processes and profitability.


Management of Your Business Continuity Plan


Have some questions about how to keep your operations and core business functions going?

We’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you about it.

Call us at (888) 753-5060 Or click below to get in touch.

Hosted Desktops for Banks: The Benefits

Hosted desktops are Windows desktop operating systems that you access via the Internet.

They can be accessed from any computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client. A hosting company deploys and maintains these desktops on its servers for you, and you pay them a monthly per-user fee for the service.

Hosted desktops appear and perform the same as locally-installed Windows desktop operating systems.

Each hosted desktop is assigned to a specific user and will retain that user’s applications, files, and settings even after they log out. You can learn more about what hosted desktops are and how they work here.

The benefits of hosted desktops to banks include:

1) They can save you money.

hosted virtual desktop lower cost

Hosted desktops (also called hosted virtual desktops) don’t require the purchase of any expensive onsite IT hardware such as servers or storage arrays.

They also don’t require the hiring of any additional IT personnel. You can access them from low-cost, low-maintenance, long-lasting devices such as thin clients (which use a fraction of the energy of “fat client” PCs) and old PCs.

Hosted desktops feature enterprise-level:

  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance

But they’re still affordable to small-and-medium-sized businesses. This is because you share the hosting company’s costs (for its data centers, personnel, etc.) with its thousands of other customers.

2) They’re extremely reliable.

hosted virtual desktop reliable

IT downtime/outages can result in lost business, lost productivity, and frustrated customers and employees for banks.

Hosting companies prevent downtime with measures such as 24/7/365 monitoring, data backups, redundant hardware, Internet, and power, environmental controls, uninterruptible power supplies, and backup diesel generators.

3) They’re compatible with all of your applications.

hosted virtual desktop application

You can install any application on your hosted virtual desktops, including core banking applications and internally-developed software.

These applications will appear and perform the same as locally-installed or -hosted versions.

4) They don’t store any data on the local device.

hosted virtual desktop anywhere

Hosted desktops don’t process or store any of their data on the hard drive of your local device; this data remains on the hosting company’s servers at all times.

As a result, you don’t have to worry about data loss occurring as a result of the physical theft of end-user devices such as desktop PCs and laptops.

5) They are well-protected by the hosting company.

hosted virtual desktop secure

Hosting companies protect their hosted desktops with advanced security measures such as enterprise-level firewalls, IDS/IPS, and antivirus, and 24/7/365 security monitoring by certified engineers.

They also protect their data centers with physical security measures such as barbed wire fencing, locked metal doors, biometric access panels, server cages, closed-circuit video surveillance, and 24/7/365 onsite security guards.

6) They comply with GLBA and PCI DSS.

hosted virtual desktop compliant

Due to the security measures mentioned above.

7) A single, centralized deployment of hosted desktops can be used by all of your bank’s locations.

hosted virtual desktop decentralization

Hosted virtual desktops can be accessed from anywhere with any standard end-user device, so all of your bank’s branches/locations can rely on a single deployment of hosted desktops.

Having a single, centralized deployment for your entire company allows everyone in your organization to access the same versions of files and applications.

This makes it easier for employees to locate files and eliminate problems with file version inconsistencies.

8) Your employees can access their work files and applications from anywhere.

hosted desktop anywhere accessible

Hosted desktops allow your bank’s execs, knowledge workers, and other employees to securely access all of their work applications and files even when they’re away from the office, including when they’re visiting clients or at home.

9) They can be used to access resource-intensive applications such as big data analysis software from any device.

hosted desktop remote access

Hosted desktops are processed on the hosting company’s servers, so they’re always fast and responsive no matter what type or quality of end-user device they’re accessed from.

Bank execs and knowledge workers can use hosted virtual desktops to access resource-intensive applications such data analysis software from their smartphones, for example.  And the applications will be as fast and responsive (processing large sets of financial data in mere seconds) as they would be if they were running on a $2,000+ workstation!

10) They can be used as kiosks.

hosted desktop kiosk

In addition to persistent hosted desktops that retain your files and settings after you log out, many hosting companies also offer non-persistent hosted desktops that delete all of a user’s files and settings after he or she logs out (like the kiosks/communal computers at libraries and hotels).

Banks can use these types of hosted desktops to allow their customers to securely, electronically access their accounts at one of the bank’s branches.

11) They are monitored, protected, backed up, updated, and supported by the hosting company.

hosted virtual desktop company

IronOrbit’s hosted virtual desktops, for example, come with 24/7/365 security and performance monitoring, managed IT security, managed data backups, patch management (we update your desktops’ operating systems and applications for you), and 24/7/365 technical support.

Hosted desktops being fully-managed and -supported allows your bank’s IT department to focus on more important tasks and projects.

To sign up for hosted desktops, contact your preferred hosting company today.