Financial Services companies may be the leaders in data analytics technology and specialized trading systems, but often lags behind other industries when it comes to the cloud. The same is true for Microsoft 365, as many financial services firms are adopting the Microsoft SaaS platform slowly. Either out of fears of security vulnerabilities, not enough time expertise, or effective third-party solutions that can manage, govern, and drive Microsoft 365 (M365) adoption. And if you are slow to adopt M365, you certainly are not optimizing this phenomenal SaaS productivity suite.
Financial Services – firms more than any – understand the concept of opportunity costs but don’t always realize how much money they’re wasting by sticking to on-premises productivity solutions.
Here are five tips to drive adoption and get the best return on your M365 environment.
For an individual end-user, M365 is no big deal. The interface is much the same as it is when the software is loaded on your hard drive and the experience is similar. You install it usually with no problems – and simply start using it.
The mistake is projecting that simple experience across an entire enterprise – because if it was that simple every enterprise would be using M365. There’s a lot that IT must manage when Microsoft Office is in the cloud, such as identities, security, data protection, and of course governance (that’s a big one). Governance done right can help you secure M365, drive productivity for end-users, and optimize the economics. You can’t begin an M365 management optimization and governance journey if you don’t come to grips with the fact that you need one.
Microsoft 365 is a phenomenal productivity suite – absolutely first-rate. That is why it is so insanely popular. Microsoft deserves great credit for building such a superb solution, and that’s where the bulk of its effort went – into the applications themselves! As we just mentioned, for simple environments there’s not all that much to do. Think of individual users for whom the suite basically runs itself.
But any financial services company worth its salt tends to expand by making smart – shall we say – financially-driven decisions. Their environments tend to be large and grow briskly. At the same time security is paramount and driving employee and IT efficiency critical. The native Admin Center built into M365 is not up to this task – to even get close to proper management takes a tremendous amount of IT effort. Gartner spotted this issue which faces a range of SaaS applications – not just Microsoft 365. This is where Gartner’s idea of SaaS Management Platform (SMP) comes in. SMPs offer an easier, deeper way to manage, optimize, and secure your SaaS applications, and are particularly suited to Microsoft 365.
CoreView has an SMP focused on making the most of M365 with a range of top financial services firms already reaping the benefits.
If you ask a small or medium-sized business what IT governance is, you’ll likely get a blank stare. But larger enterprises and those that fall under rigorous compliance regulations like financial services shops know exactly what we are talking about. Governance is all about IT efficiency and security. It is driven by internal processes, policies, and internal IT structures to meet those efficiency and security goals. If your financial services company relies upon Microsoft 365, it must be part of your overall governance plan and may even require its own governance rules to ensure that this SaaS solution holding so much of your data is a benefit and not a vulnerability.
The right M365 SMP, such as CoreView, contains all the functions to easily create, protect, manage, and delete employee identities. You can also manage M365 securely through Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and virtual tenants, secure your data and identities through enforceable and trackable security policies, and enjoy the ability to conduct deep forensics in the event of a security incident.
Financial services organizations are all about data and their IT staff should be as well. With CoreView, you have visibility into the entire M365 environment through reports and alerts. While it’s great to have information about what’s going on and where problems lie, financial executives are all about acting and minimizing risk. Fortunately, CoreView reports, and alerts are action-enabled, meaning that when CoreView spots a problem or vulnerability, IT can take immediate rectifying action.
IT staff tends to be busy, so busy they are often overwhelmed and unable to perform all their duties when needed. But what if you could make it so many of these duties are not needed at all? What if you could automate common IT processes so they are done without human intervention and performed based upon a proven process – and therefore always done correctly? That is the beauty of M365 workflows which CoreView is the master and creator of.
You’ve heard of insider trading, but what about insider IT? The data held by your financial services firm is not just the lifeblood of your company, but critical to your clients – and so must be kept safe. For many breaches, IT is the actual culprit, stealing data to sell to cybercriminals and even your competitors. Often IT opens the door to data breaches by accident, with IT mistakes or misconfigurations laying your organization open to hackers. The key is to provide IT with only the privileges they absolutely need. With Virtual Tenants, for example, an admin can only impact their area of the environment and can’t see or manipulate data within another Virtual Tenant. And by setting granular privileges that only allow IT to do what is necessary, there is less malfeasance through either evil intent or error.
Learn everything you need to know about powering Financial Services with M365 in our whitepaper ‘Financial Services and Microsoft 365 – a Blueprint for Optimization, Payback, Adoption, Security and Governance.’