Few industrial sectors are immune to the burden of legal and regulatory compliance—ensuring all of their IT systems and data are updated and secure, not to mention the testing, paperwork and requisite filings. And perhaps none bear a heavier compliance burden than the financial services and legal verticals.
Compliance is a Conversation Starter
A cornerstone of most compliance laws is ensuring all software is up to date, which includes installation of patches issued by server and application vendors to deal with bugs, malware and vulnerabilities. That becomes more challenging for many banks and law firms running the popular Windows Server 2003, which Microsoft officially stopped supporting in July 2015.
Outdated IT systems leave some firms exposed to problems and compliance violations, says Timothy Horigan, senior channel account executive for legal and finance verticals, Ingram Micro. He strongly encourages solution providers to speak to their customers about compliance, adding that companies ignore issues at their peril. “The compliance fines have teeth, and a couple of them can land you in jail if you’re an officer of the institution,” Horigan adds. “Ignorance is no safe harbor.”
Another compliance requirement, the Securities and Exchange Committee’s consolidated audit trail (CAT), is creating confusion for financial services companies. CAT requires them to be prepared to report all daily trades or transactions, which potentially means sending petabytes of information to the government. CAT is still new enough that customers aren’t sure how much data to provide, the best format or how to deliver it. Businesses are largely left to figure it out themselves.
A Strategic Move to the Cloud
These compliance challenges give solution providers a perfect opening to engage customers in a larger conversation about long-term technology plans. “Everybody is making their decisions now about cloud, compliance and strategy,” Horigan says. “They’re either purchasing their last traditional server system, or as soon as they come to end-of-life cycles, they go to cloud.” Regardless of which way banks and law firms decide to go, a huge technology migration is set to occur in the next five years.
“There’s a maturation of the market that will allow customers to move more easily to the cloud,” Horigan says. “The security, management and technology are already there, and cloud makes it easier to comply.” That’s a potent selling point that helps channel partners and their customers rise above the inertia and confusion. The first step is to start a dialogue with your customers about their compliance challenges.