5 Ways the Financial Sector is Cashing in on Microsoft Solutions

By Core Newsroom

The financial sector is powered by three things: people, technology, and data. A compromise of any one of those elements creates risk. If you compromise on talent, you risk performance. A compromise in technology means the talent can’t do what they’re good at. And if you allow your data to be compromised... well, that’s a huge concern.

The move to a hybrid work place, whether forced by the pandemic, or a strategic business decision, has highlights risks to people, technology, and data that may not have otherwise been considered. We spoke to Core’s Sales Account Manager for the Financial and Professional Services sector, Natalie Tarrant, to understand what measures financial organisations have taken to enable remote or hybrid working. We asked Natalie what their next steps are, and how Microsoft solutions have enabled the move, while mitigating risk and saving money. Here are some of the trends Natalie has seen among her customers.

Endpoint Management

One of the biggest shifts, which is perhaps not unique to the financial sector, has been the adoption of Endpoint Management solutions to manage devices outside of the LAN.

Employees need devices with the right software and data to perform their functions wherever they are, while the business must ensure security, data protection, and compliance regulations and requirements are met. Endpoint Management solutions such as Microsoft Intune and Autopilot, enable businesses to procure hardware from a distributor and have it delivered directly to the employee’s home. All the employee needs to do is sign in using their company-assigned credentials, and the corporate image for that device and user group dedication is delivered via the Internet, complete with Outlook configuration and preferences. The same applies to patching and updates to ensure ongoing compliance. A single dashboard enables IT departments to push out updates to security and policies at the click of a button – or have their managed service provider do this for them.

In essence, the functionality that was limited to LAN-based devices ten years ago, now has no geographical restrictions. Endpoint Management solutions are critical to the modern workplace, creating a seamless experience for employees, while maintaining security and compliance to risk-aware financial organisations.

Enabling Hybrid Working

When the pandemic hit, businesses reacted to enable teams to work from home. In many cases, the go-to solution was to utilise Office 365. Workarounds were implemented to keep processes moving, but were perhaps not ideal for the long term. Really, who thought the pandemic would go on this long and continue to have such an impact? Employees and their employees did what they had to do to get the job done as quickly as possible in early 2020.

However, now that many businesses are moving toward more flexible long term hybrid working models, those short-term workarounds need to be reviewed because they are unlikely to be the most cost effective, efficient or smart way of working. Power-BI is being adopted to streamline those workflows, and the Microsoft 365 family of products is being utilised far more than ever before.

Teams and Teams Voice

During the pandemic, Microsoft announced that Teams was their fastest growing solution in history. It’s not surprising when you imagine an entire workforce suddenly working from home. Having the ability to reach out to a team member to ask a question, or have some social interaction over video calls, was the saving grace for many. Microsoft are still adding features to enhance the end user experience, with their latest employee experience platform, Microsoft Viva, based within Teams itself. They see Teams as the core platform employees engage with, so it makes sense that everything we need access to can be found there.

For the financial sector however, they needed something more. With compliance on the top of many agendas, financial organisations still needed to adhere to certain regulations such as call recording. That’s where Teams Voice played a huge role. Offering the full UCaaS functionality, and even tying in with existing PBX systems, Teams Voice enabled remote working staff to securely talk to clients, wherever they were.

Now, as we shift into the modern workplace where hybrid working is the norm, that requirement is as crucial as ever. In fact, with a package to suit every organisation, and devices to suit every type of employee, location, and need, many businesses are adopting Teams Voice as their primary telephony solution and moving to an OPEX model to save money in the process.

SharePoint Online

Gone are the days when employees need to either be in the office or connect to a VPN to access SharePoint, just to get a file. SharePoint Online, Microsoft’s leading document management solution, provided employees with everything they need. If they couldn’t access a file, the IT teams behind the scenes could easily access the admin portal to amend permissions.

For many financial organisations, SharePoint serves as both a DMS and an intranet. During those dark days, SharePoint could be used in conjunction with Teams to bring people together, to share news, files, stories, successes, and business updates. In fact, it’s hard to imagine the outcome if the pandemic had hit us ten years ago, before Office 365 was where it is today. It was platforms like SharePoint and Teams that kept industries, such as the financial sector, thriving.

Cyber Security

As fantastic as the Microsoft 365 platform is, the fact remains that adopting a hybrid model can create a lot of risk if not not carried out by experienced professionals who specialise in IT migrations and cyber security. Enabling teams to work remotely, providing them with devices that can be managed from anywhere, and opening communication channels while staying secure and compliant, can be a huge security risk.

Microsoft knows this. That’s why their C3 and C5 security offerings have been designed to work with the E3 and E5 licensing models. Financial organisations that fell back on Microsoft products to enable their workforce to function during the pandemic saw great value in bringing the Microsoft security layer in too. Not only does Microsoft recognise the need for greater security, but Core does too. That’s why we have recently partnered with the UK’s second largest and most accredited independent cyber security firm in the UK, Bridewell Consulting.

What now?

Microsoft are making big plans for the Modern Workplace, Employee Experience, and Hybrid Security, and Core will be part of that journey; delighting customers with our expertise and more than three decades of experience.

Right now, we’re helping businesses and organisations considering their long-term plans for secure and compliant scalability and flexibility look to us for guidance, and book a free consultation to take

advantage of our expertise in case there are areas you may not have considered. We can assess the changes that were made to enable remote working, and plug the gaps or provide more streamlined and long-term solutions so our customers can take future challenges in their stride.

We’re offering a free half-day workshop to financial and professional services organisations who are looking for security and compliance gaps they may have - or just want some reassurance they have the best solutions in place. To book your free workshop, click here.

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