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New Private Equity Technology Survey Reveals IT Priorities, Cyber Weaknesses

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Eze Castle Integration is one of the leading providers of outsourced IT services and technology support for more than 650 alternative investment firms worldwide, including private equity firms, hedge funds and more. Their managed services portfolio includes ongoing IT services and 24×7 help desk support, award-winning Eze Private Cloud platform, which supports over 400 firms, and an array of cybersecurity services including active threat protection, managed phishing and training, security plan development and consulting services.

Below is our recent interview with Mary Beth Hamilton, ‎Vice President of Marketing at Eze Castle Integration:

Mary Beth Hamilton

Q: Why did Eze Castle Integration Commission this Private Equity Study? Who were the respondents?

A: Eze Castle Integration is focused on providing fully managed services and IT solutions to investment management and private equity firms. We commissioned this survey to understand more about how private equity firms are leveraging technology to support their operational goals, how they’re responding to and combating rising cybersecurity threats and how outsourcing is contributing to their ability to complete IT projects.

The survey included responses from 101 private equity firms across a range of asset classes. For respondent demographics, more than two-thirds are responsible for determining the business need for an IT product or solution, while just at or around 60% of respondents are involved in determining technical requirements, recommending or selecting vendors for purchase, authorizing or approving the purchase of products and services and evaluating products/services.

Complete survey is available for download here.

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Q: Based on the survey finds, what is driving IT investments at Private Equity Firms?

A: Security, customer experience and organizational efficiency are the top drivers for IT spend for the next 12 months at private equity firms. I think we’ve all seen how technology can impact day-to-day business and how, over the years, advances in technology have enabled firms to become more efficient and drive growth across the organization. So we asked firms to identify those top drivers impacting their IT spend going into 2017 and found: (1) more than half of firms indicated they plan to increase protection from cybersecurity threats. The other top business drivers are (2) improving the investor/client experience and (3) improving efficiencies by refreshing outdated or legacy technology.

Q: Cybersecurity is an important topic across all industries. What level of impact is it having in the Private Equity industry?

A: Seventy (70) percent of private equity firms surveyed experienced three or more cyber issues in the past year, while 29 percent of firms experienced five or more issues during the same time frame. In the past 12 months, firms indicated that they’ve experienced a wide range of cybersecurity issues, most notably malware, worms and viruses (1 in 3 firms), unauthorized access to corporate data (nearly 1 in 3 firms) and hijacking of social media accounts (nearly 1 in 3 firms).

While two-thirds of firms expressed confidence that they are prepared to address cybersecurity risks, cybersecurity budget findings indicate that increased spending is necessary to keep pace with the growing threat landscape.

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Q: What did the survey show about the role of the Private Equity Chief Technology Officer (CTO)?

A: Survey findings indicate that the CTO/top IT executive at private equity firms may be elevating his/her status across the board. Ninety-three (93) percent of survey respondents believe their firm’s top IT executive is becoming more important to their business, while 85 percent see the CTO becoming more involved in driving the firm to meet regulatory and compliance demands.

The CTO also serves as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), with 86 percent of respondents saying the CTO holds top cybersecurity responsibility. Even at funds with more than $2 billion AUM, the CTO wears a dual hat.

Q: Where can readers find a copy of the survey?

A: The complete survey is available for download on the Eze Castle Integration website.

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