SOX Compliance Requirements

As cyberattacks increase and intensify, the hardening of security measures becomes even more of a necessity, as does compliance with a network of laws and regulations, including SOX compliance.


SOX Compliance Requirements

What Is SOX Compliance?

First passed in 2002, the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) requires publicly-traded companies to maintain transparency in financial reporting, preventing fraudulent accounting activities, protecting investors, and improving investor confidence.

The Act includes compliance requirements about external auditors, corporate governance, internal control assessments, and financial disclosures.

SOX IT Compliance Requirements and Reporting

When it comes to IT, SOX compliance requires firms to have policies and procedures in place to prevent, detect, and disclose material cybersecurity risks and incidents. Companies also need to prove that they have data safeguards and procedures in place and that they are operational. This includes quality access management, preventative security measures, and redundant and secure backups.

Additionally, another requirement is that security systems must be able to detect data breaches, and the organization needs a communication plan for notifying leadership and investors of identified breaches. In reporting and during an annual SOX compliance audit, businesses must attest to and provide evidence that these internal controls exist.

One extremely challenging SOX cybersecurity requirement is that businesses are responsible for reporting material cybersecurity risks within four business days after the registrant determines that it has experienced a material cybersecurity incident. This can mean that an organization must disclose a risk or incident before regular reporting or a yearly SOX audit.

Related Content → IT Security and Compliance. What’s the Difference?

SOX in 2023

In both 2011 and 2018, the SEC published guidance for interpreting existing rules in connection with cybersecurity threats and incidents.

However, in 2022, the SEC recommended a proposed rule that would require registrants to provide enhanced disclosures about “cybersecurity incidents and cybersecurity risk management, strategy, and governance.” This rule is part of the Fall 2022 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions released by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. SEC Chair Gary Gensler released a statement in early 2023 acknowledging the Commission’s support of the proposed agenda.

It is significant to note that SOX requires signing officer(s), typically an Executive Officer, to attest that the information in their internal control and financial reports is accurate. They cannot contain any false statements, nor can they omit material information. They also need documentation demonstrating that the organization is SOX compliant. Intentionally or inadvertently generating misleading compliance reports or falsifying information not only leads to noncompliance but can also result in upwards of $5 million in fines and 20 years in prison.

In 2022, the news that Uber’s CISO was convicted of federal charges for failing to disclose a 2016 data breach broke, demonstrating just how severe the consequences of non-compliance can be for individuals as well as companies.

Understanding Risks and Their Impact

How do you know what your material cybersecurity risks and incidents are? How do you know if your firm has experienced a breach?

If your IT team does not have the expertise to continuously analyze risks and understand SOX compliance requirements, they may not see correlations that signify a material risk. Without expert guidance, your firm may miss the context or severity of threats. Businesses may not report minor security incidents deeming them to be immaterial. But what if all these smaller threats and incidents turn out to be a much larger problem? Unable to see the connection between events, an organization could unintentionally omit a material cybersecurity risk in its reporting.

Even worse, failure to evaluate the risk appropriately can lead to security breaches, data loss, lawsuits, and other costly damages.

With such high penalties for failure to appropriately disclose material cybersecurity risks and incidents, it is critical for businesses to implement compliance processes and risk management practices to identify and assess threats across their network. Identified risks need to be assessed and treated appropriately and promptly. This process of assessing and implementing measures to modify risk is known as risk treatment.

To understand the risks in your firm’s environment, it needs continuous network monitoring and the expertise and systems for evaluating and conducting a risk assessment. Partnering with an IT firm with specialized knowledge of the compliance requirements outlined in SOX is ideal to ensure compliance and improve your security posture.

Actively Monitoring for Cybersecurity Threats

There is a difference between performance monitoring and cybersecurity monitoring.

Performance monitoring lets you know if systems are operating efficiently, but it doesn’t tell you what security threats exist or the severity of those risks.

In 2023, the risks from malicious cyberattacks and technology are substantial and are a constant threat. It is no longer acceptable to run occasional cybersecurity scans and assume you are seeing an accurate picture of your overall security posture. Instead, to have a complete understanding of the risks and incidents that occur on your network, you need 24x7x365 activity monitoring.

With a managed detection and response (MDR) platform, a team of security analysts with skills in forensic analysis can identify, evaluate, and provide a response plan to threats and breaches within your network.

SIEM Technology

Without the help of security analysts and security information and event management (SIEM) technology, you may not see the significant link between small risks or incidents.

Security experts use SIEM platforms to correlate and analyze threats. This helps to provide context and severity of risks, which is instrumental in determining materiality.

Keep in mind that you need a security expert to utilize the full benefits of these types of internal security controls.

Meeting SOX Compliance Requirements with Comprehensive Cybersecurity

As mentioned, to maintain SOX compliance, your organization needs to be able to measure the materiality of cybersecurity risks and incidents.

Without the right tools, expertise, and testing, your business could experience a breach causing tremendous financial costs, permanent data loss, or even closure.

Even if your organization is not required to be SOX compliant, implementing internal controls and data protection procedures increases your overall security posture. For a private company or a non-profit, which are not mandated to have SOX compliance programs, creating and monitoring security controls is considered to be a cybersecurity best practice.

Related Content →  Evaluate your security readiness with our  Cybersecurity Checklist.

To learn more about SOX cybersecurity and compliance solutions, reach out to Coretelligent’s team of experts.

Financial Services Compliance

Financial services compliance is a dynamic target with extreme consequences for non-compliance. For financial services firms, there is absolutely no room for error. Firms must remain vigilant to ensure they meet their obligations under a growing set of laws, regulations, and standards.

The Intersection of Financial Services Compliance & Technology


Financial Services Compliance

In the financial services sector, compliance has always been a significant concern. While earlier methods of compliance reporting were largely manual, the intricate nature of today’s financial services compliance and security challenges renders such methods obsolete. To navigate this intricate landscape, firms need to move beyond traditional check-box compliance methods. Instead, they should adopt comprehensive compliance platforms complemented by specialized advisory services.

Regulatory agencies introduce security and compliance measures to bolster the global economy’s stability and safeguard consumer privacy. The surge in third-party affiliations further underscores the importance of enhanced management to minimize risk. Meeting the specific reporting and data management standards set by these entities requires financial services firms to establish intricate, often expensive, and time-intensive systems. Yet, the cost of non-compliance is even steeper, with potential repercussions ranging from fines and sanctions to reputational damage and revenue loss.

The Compliance Landscape for Financial Services

Highlighted below are several of the most critical regulations and standards that must be met by the financial services sector:


The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is an independent body that oversees the brokerage community, assisting both investors and firms. Its primary goal is to maintain a safe and fair market. To achieve this, FINRA regularly updates its rules in response to global market changes. A significant focus of these regulations is on advanced cybersecurity measures. These standards aim to guard against cyberattacks, identify system breaches, and establish plans for business continuity and breach responses.

  • SEC

Financial firms must adhere to regulations set forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC promotes fairness, transparency, efficiency, and compliance of all publicly-traded companies in the U.S. Financial firms are required to comply with the SEC’s Financial Reporting Requirements, which include annual and quarterly reporting as well as other periodic filings. Financial firms must also adhere to SEC governance and risk management standards, such as cyber risk policies, identity theft prevention plans, data security processes, insider trading safeguards, and more.

The SEC Chair, Gary Gensler, recently expressed his support of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Fall 2022 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, saying the agenda “reflects the need to modernize our ruleset, moving deliberately to update our rules in light of ever-changing technologies.”

  • SOX

First passed in 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) was established to protect individuals by increasing transparency in the financial services sector and requiring formalized checks and balances for individual entities. In today’s world, SOX compliance is aimed at limiting access to internal systems that contain confidential or financial data. Fortunately, SOX internal controls are also solid business practices that can enhance your firm’s cybersecurity risk profile and reduce the threat of insider attacks.

  • Due Diligence Requests (DDQ)

Compliance with investor due diligence requests (DDQs) has become more and more complex as the Financial Services industry grows. DDQs typically involve detailed information about financial operations, accounting practices, and related risk factors. Responding to these inquiries can be difficult, but it’s necessary in order to maintain regulatory compliance and build trust with investors. Financial services firms need to develop a reliable system for tracking and responding to DDQs quickly and accurately, as well as an audit trail of the communication process to prove compliance.

  • Cybersecurity Insurance

Cyber insurance carriers have expanded their compliance requirements and increased their schedule of audits to ensure that firms have robust controls in place. These audits assess security protocols, policies and procedures, disaster recovery plans, and more. Financial services firms must plan ahead for these inspections by having the right personnel prepared with well-documented processes and systems to prove compliance. Additionally, firms should have an external cybersecurity partner who can provide executive-level support to ensure the audit is successful.

Cybersecurity & Compliance: What’s the Difference?

Security and compliance are often mistakenly assumed to be synonymous, yet they are, in fact, distinct. Security and compliance are both essential, yet their purposes vary. While security is meant to protect data and infrastructure, compliance serves as a means of meeting legal or regulatory obligations.

Compliance and security have similar objectives around managing risks and securing sensitive data and systems but have different processes and workflows to accomplish these goals. Put simply, compliance is the act of meeting contractual or third-party regulatory requirements by adhering to set guidelines and standards. On the other hand, security requires implementing effective technical controls in order to safeguard assets from cyber attacks.

Both are critical for the financial services sector.

Solving Compliance Now & Into the Future

As we move into 2023, financial services firms face an evolving landscape of stricter and more comprehensive regulations. To navigate this, it’s imperative for these firms to stay informed and adapt. They should invest in the right IT infrastructure, recruit skilled personnel, and collaborate with trusted external partners. Moreover, having efficient systems to address DDQs promptly and accurately is crucial. Ensuring they maintain robust cyber insurance policies is equally important. By proactively taking these measures, firms can not only ensure compliance but also effectively mitigate potential risks.

Understanding the evolving world of IT compliance for financial services firms is an ongoing conversation, not a one-time decision. Learn more about the compliance obstacles facing the financial services sector. Download Coretelligent’s complimentary whitepaper: How Financial Services Firms Can Manage Compliance.


What you need to know about cyber insurance requirements with image of shield and technology and coretelligent logo

The average cost of a data breach in 2022 in the U.S. reached a new all-time high of $9.44 million, according to IBM. With this continued rise in cybersecurity incidents, financial services firms are a popular target for cyberattacks.

However, obtaining cyber insurance can help mitigate these attacks’ financial burden. Now more than ever, financial services firms are strongly encouraged to get cyber insurance due to the intensifying threat landscape and increasingly complex requirements from regulatory bodies or authorities such as the SEC and FINRA.

Because of these developments, many businesses have turned to managed service providers (MSPs) for their expertise to manage cyber insurance compliance.

Cyber Insurance Compliance

What is Cyber Insurance Compliance?

Cyber insurance helps to mitigate or lessen the financial burdens from a data breach or other cybersecurity incident should your business fall victim. Still, as more and more companies file claims, the cost of cybersecurity insurance continues to rise. Premiums increased 79% in the second quarter of 2022 alone.

As the cost and frequency of cyberattacks increase, cyber insurance companies are forced to cover more payouts which causes a premium increase across the industry. Along with this premium increase, insurers also implement increasingly more stringent minimum security requirements for applicants for cyber insurance coverage.

Previously many of these requirements were simple checkbox practices you could complete once and forget; now, insurance companies are shifting to an active monitoring approach. This includes conducting periodic scans of your cybersecurity systems to ensure you maintain the required standards for coverage. If your external cyber footprint strays from secure standards, you expose yourself to a risk of adjusted premiums or a complete loss of coverage.

Benefits of Partnering with an MSP

Due to this active monitoring approach, many financial services firms are partnering with the experts at an MSP for guidance and maintenance of their internal and external cybersecurity environments that adhere to the insurance requirements.

Partnering with an MSP can provide additional benefits to firms, too.

  • Access to industry expertise and knowledge

As with the financial services industry overall, there is no one-size-fits-all for insurance coverage. Internal and external security posture and cybersecurity practices play a big role in deciding required insurance minimums so working directly with an MSP can help you become a better candidate for cyber insurance coverage at a lower premium.

MSPs help ensure you have the proper cybersecurity and data protections before applying to improve your chances of approval for coverage. In fact, in many cases, an MSP has established relationships with preferred cyber insurance providers that benefit their clients.

  • Compliance as a Service and Cyber Insurance

With compliance as a service (CaaS) products, a Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) platform is included with your service. This platform allows organizations to track, manage, and report on compliance related to industry-specific laws and data security standards. This is integral should you experience a data breach or other cyber incident.

When filing your claim, proof of a business’s compliance is often required at the time of the incident, or you will be denied—utilizing compliance as a service product makes obtaining this proof much more straightforward. Access to a GRC and assistance filing a claim from your MSP through these services save you time when it matters most.

Streamlining the Requirements of Cyber Insurance

Gone are the days of simple checkbox requirements for obtaining cyber insurance. Companies must adhere to more stringent requirements in today’s market to obtain and maintain their policies. Working with an IT partner to gain cyber insurance coverage has many distinct advantages.

MSPs assist you during the application process and help secure lower premiums through vendor relationships. They ensure your company stays compliant with your policy and external regulations. If you face a data breach or attack, MSPs guide you in filling out claims forms. They also provide the necessary documentation to your provider when submitting your claim.

Next Steps

The cyber insurance market and models will continue to evolve. With compliance assurance and engineering excellence, the professionals at Coretelligent are helping financial services organizations find the path forward. A partnership with Coretelligent can help financial services firms establish themselves as insurance candidates, lower premiums, and mitigate overall risk.

Learn more about CoreComply, Coretelligent’s full compliance solution that streamlines and enables compliance, third-party risk management, DDQ, and cyber insurance audits.

What is HIPAA compliance?

what is HIPAA compliance

Healthcare businesses face mounting regulations these days. But ask any healthcare provider, “What is HIPAA?” and they will certainly tell you it’s the most important regulation of all. But what is HIPAA compliance?

Understanding HIPAA and how to adhere to it is vital not only to healthcare providers but to those who support them, including IT providers of cloud-based tools, storage media, and hardware.


What is HIPAA Compliance?

HIPAA, short for the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is a federal act that enforces specific laws and regulations to safeguard the privacy and security of patient data, also known as protected health information or PHI.

HIPAA compliance refers to the implementation of specific security, privacy, and operational measures required to protect sensitive patient health data. This includes an array of actions and oversight that must adhere to specific federal regulations, including secure storage, transaction, and disposal of patient data, safeguards against data breaches and unauthorized disclosure, and data encryption.

Who needs to understand HIPAA?

The meaning of HIPAA compliance must be understood by several market segments:

  • Healthcare Providers
    Healthcare providers must understand the meaning of HIPAA compliance and be equipped to properly manage PHI, including medical records, financial information, and personal identifying information (PII). Healthcare providers that violate HIPAA rules and work outside of HIPAA compliance are at risk of fines and penalties.
  • Patients
    Patients benefit from having a basic understanding of the meaning of HIPAA. Awareness of how healthcare providers are required to treat their information allows patients to be equipped to advocate for their rights and be alert for dubious practices.
  • Insurers
    In addition to doctors and healthcare facilities, health insurance providers must also adhere to HIPAA, since handling PHI is also part of their daily operations. Medicare and Medicaid providers, employer-sponsored health plans, and organizations managing private insurance sales must all be aware of HIPAA requirements.
  • Information technology (IT) providers
    Two major provisions of HIPAA have to do with information: the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule. In a nutshell, these rules govern how patient information should be handled and how it should be kept safe. IT providers must be aware of both rules since it will fall to them to create and maintain secure infrastructure for digital PHI.

  Related Content – Therapeutics Company Benefits from Compliant Infrastructure Case Study

How does IT impact compliance?

HIPAA and IT connect on two major points: information handling and information security. Here’s how:

  • HIPAA compliance requires dedicated personnel.
    Here, “dedicated” calls for a specific person in the organization to be directly responsible for putting policies in place for HIPAA compliance. An enterprise organization may hire a privacy officer specifically to oversee these requirements, while a small doctor’s office may appoint an office manager to manage requirements; each approach is valid and must consider the needs and capacity of the business.
  • HIPAA requires a basic strategy.
    One of the key points that dedicated personnel will be responsible for is HIPAA compliance strategy. That person will subsequently work with IT providers to establish the framework for security and compliance operations.
  • HIPAA demands basic security principles.
    IT providers must take special care to understand the HIPAA requirements for security and privacy of PHI. While security appliances and antivirus tools will be useful, this is just the beginning. Policies like Unique User Authentication and access control are critical. The IT provider working with the dedicated HIPAA officer will offer further recommendations accordingly.
  • Don’t forget disasters.
    One key component of HIPAA compliance planning is creating a disaster recovery plan. Healthcare providers must have such a plan in place that allows PHI to be continuously available, even during a disaster. Disaster recovery plans offer benefits beyond compliance, including cost savings and improved customer experience.
  • Test and assess.
    Once a disaster recovery plan is in place, testing and assessment will be required to ensure it delivers as promised. As security needs change, and new threats emerge, the disaster recovery plan will continue to evolve. Thus, staging new plans, and testing these routinely, is crucial to the ultimate success of HIPAA compliance.

Some Miscellaneous Points About HIPAA Compliance

  • Basic requirements
    HIPAA requires a standardized format for all stored data, whether it’s health, financial, or administrative. Each healthcare entity needs a unique identifier, though an ID number will work.
  • HIPAA Compliance Best Practices
    HIPAA contains a set of best practices that mandate HIPAA compliance as part of its Security Rule. Though these standards cover a lot of ground, sticking to them will ensure the clearest path to compliance.

Need HIPAA Compliance help?

There’s no way around it: HIPAA compliance is a massive undertaking, but Coretelligent can help you through the labyrinth of HIPAA requirements, rules, and regulations. Get in touch with us to learn how Coretelligent can help you establish security principles, address compliance issues, and generate disaster recovery plans and systems.

Multifactor Authentication

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a security technology that requires multiple methods of authentication from distinct categories of credentials to verify a user’s identity. It is a crucial component of a robust multilayered cybersecurity posture to help mitigate the risk of a cyberattack.

It is also considered a best practice for organizations of all sizes and across all sectors to meet compliance standards—especially in highly-regulated sectors like financial services and life sciences.


Multifactor AuthenticationMultifactor Authentication Explained

The multifactor authentication method should be familiar to all readers at this point. Companies from Apple and Google to Facebook and Amazon utilize (or require) multifactor authentication to reduce risk. Many more will follow in their footsteps as the threat landscape intensifies from cyberattacks and data breaches and as more regulatory agencies require the process.

When MFA is implemented, systems require users to present a combination of two or more qualifications to verify their identity for login. The first authentication consists of a password, which is all that’s required with single-factor authentication. The second verification can vary but often involves asking for a code sent via text or email to a device or account that has previously been verified.

MFA increases security because even if one credential becomes compromised, unauthorized users will not be able to meet the second authentication requirement and will not be able to access the device, network, or database. MFA prevents the unauthorized access of data—including personally identifiable information, intellectual property, and financial assets—by a third party who may have discovered a single password through illegal channels or via a phishing attack.

Multifactor authentication is an element of identity and access management, which consists of policies and practices designed to manage access to enterprise resources and keep systems and data secure. Additionally, Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a subset of IAM that allows for an even more granular distinction between users and access to more sensitive data.

Two-Factor vs. Multifactor vs. Adaptive

  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is the simplest and most common form of multifactor authentication. With 2FA, users must supply two distinct proofs of identity for access. In nearly every case, two-factor authentication is a massive improvement over single-factor.
  • On the other hand, 2FA might not be flexible or robust enough for certain situations and specific industries. With MFA, more than two factors are required for authentication, enabling more variables and security. To elaborate, MFA can grant degrees of access across a broad spectrum of possibilities depending on various data points and multiple factors obtained from the login.
  • Adaptive Authentication is yet another certification tool that uses contextual information and business rules to determine which authentication factors to apply to a particular user, at a certain time, and in a specific situation. It combines user authentication with AI and is an effective tool for balancing security requirements and the user experience. Adaptive MFA also makes access decisions based on data, such as: consecutive login failures, geo-location, geo-velocity (or the physical distance between consecutive login attempts), device type, time of day, and 3rd party intelligence data.

MFA and Multilayered Cybersecurity

While MFA can help strengthen your security, it is still best employed as part of a multilayered cybersecurity program based on a defense-in-depth strategy. Defense-in-depth is a cybersecurity model that employs continuous multilayered security for real-time, holistic protection. The reality of today’s cyber threats is that no one cybersecurity practice is enough to protect on its own. Instead, overlapping layers of cybersecurity protections are recommended. A layered defense helps security organizations reduce vulnerabilities, contain threats, and mitigate risk.

It is also important to note that it is still critical to practice good cyber hygiene, even with MFA. Organizations should set password management policies and educate end-users about best practices. Such policies should include requirements for unique passwords and review the frequency of password rotation, among others.

Related Content →  Evaluate your cybersecurity posture with our  Cybersecurity Checklist.

What is Right for Your Organization?

The answer to this question depends on the specific needs of your business. However, in general, as the threats faced by organizations have become more sophisticated, it has become clear that single-factor authentication is no longer enough to protect data and systems.

Organizations must implement additional layers of security, and MFA is an essential part of that process. Therefore, when selecting an MFA solution, it is important to consider your firm’s needs and choose a solution that will be easy to use and manage by both your IT team and your end-users.

Reach out to our security experts for help in determining which is the right solution for your business and security needs. We can help you assess your risk exposure, determine any compliance requirements for your sector, and evaluate the ease of deployment and implementation necessary, along with other factors.

About Chris

As Chief Technology Officer at Coretelligent, Chris Messer is a transformational and strategic IT leader who establishes and leads Coretelligent’s technical vision and technological development. Click here to learn more about Chris.

Cybersecurity for Broker-Dealer Firms

Cybersecurity for Broker-Dealer FirmsAs a broker-dealer firm executive, you know that one of FINRA’s key mandates is to help prevent cyberattacks against its regulated firms. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, is, of course, a not-for-profit regulatory organization authorized by Congress to protect investors and ensure market integrity in the United States. This post will explore some of the most common cybersecurity threats faced by FINRA firms.

What are the Most Common Cybersecurity Threats for Broker-Dealer Firms?

Now more than ever, broker-dealer firms rely on their technology infrastructure the cyber landscape presents a regular number of security challenges requiring robust preparedness for brokerages and other financial services firms.

1. Imposter Websites

According to FINRA, member firms routinely report phony websites posing as FINRA members and using registered names and company data to establish fraudulent sites that market investment services and products. These sites attempt to steal both personal information and money by leading visitors to believe they are interacting with a bona fide business.

2. Customer And Firm Employee Account Takeovers (ATOs)

Email account takeovers can occur with both customer or firm personnel accounts and begin with a comprised email account. Cybercriminals can gain unauthorized access to email accounts through data breaches, phishing emails, or websites that trick users into clicking on malicious links allowing them to execute unauthorized transactions in financial accounts, firm systems, bank accounts, and credit cards.

One of the dangers of an ATO for an employee account includes criminals creating fake identities to establish accounts for automated clearing house (ACH) or wire fraud.

3. Malware and Ransomware

Malware is malicious software and can take many forms, including viruses, spyware, and ransomware. These malevolent programs can steal data, encrypt it, delete it, and even hold it for ransom by infiltrating and taking over computing operations. Phishing is one of the most common ways that malware is introduced. Ransomware is a type of malware that, when launched, can encrypt data and prevent access to networks until a ransom is paid to the attacker.

4. Data Breaches

A data breach is a security incident in which hackers gain unauthorized access to confidential data like financial records or personally identifiable information (PII). Data breaches can lead to financial losses, reputational damage, lawsuits, and fines and penalties.

What Can FINRA Firms do to Prepare?

Core Cybersecurity for Broker-Dealer FirmsEarlier this year, FINRA, along with the SEC, Homeland Security, and other agencies, alerted members to the increased likelihood of cyber attacks as part of the invasion of Ukraine with a Sheilds Up warning.

In a recent op-ed, written by Jen Easterly, the director of CISA, and Chris Inglis, the national cyber director, the pair consider when the Sheilds Up warning might be lifted:

When will we be able to put our shields down? In today’s complex, dynamic, and dangerous cyberthreat environment, the answer is that our shields will likely be up for the foreseeable future.

For broker-dealer firms, this means continuing to follow the guidance provided by FINRA as well as cybersecurity professionals with experience within the financial services sector. There are cybersecurity controls that can mitigate the risk of cyber attacks.

To learn more, download our Guide to Effective Cybersecurity Controls for Broker-Dealer Firms.

Additionally, our Cybersecurity Threats and Effective Controls for FINRA Firms Infographic provides a quick overview of the threats faced by FINRA firms, as well as the controls to implement to reduce the risks from those threats.

Combining Cybersecurity Controls and Expertise

Balancing business initiatives with security and technology can seem challenging, particularly for broker-dealer firms without an internal team of cybersecurity experts, but Coretelligent can help. We offer our expertise and robust cybersecurity solutions to solve the challenges of the highly regulated financial services industry. In addition, we have years of experience working with broker-dealer firms and other firms like hedge funds, venture capital, and family offices. As a result, we understand the pain points these firms face in the digital world and have the solutions—from compliance and cybersecurity to growth and business transformation—to solve them.

Life Sciences Industry Innovation is Where Business & Technology Intersect

Life Sciences Industry Innovation is Where Business & Technology IntersectThe life sciences industry is experiencing a period of rapid growth. Not only does the sector produce life-saving and life-enhancing treatments, but it is fueling investment across the globe. For example, 78 startups went public in 2020 in the biotech sphere, representing a 77% increase from the previous year. Additionally, the first half of 2021 saw already seen 62 biopharma companies progress to IPO status. With the increased demand for innovative drugs, medical devices, and other therapies in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine development, various trends within the industry (like changes to clinical trials), and increased levels of investment, 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for the sector.

Innovation is the driver of the current expansion within the life sciences market. However, the key to maximizing this ROI, or Return on Innovation, requires that business and technology synchronize. This imperative calls for a carefully planned IT roadmap that enables companies to achieve a competitive advantage and improve business outcomes throughout the development, startup, growth, and expansion stages.

To help executives better understand the timeline, Coretelligent has developed a chart outlining the technology and business needs of the life sciences ecosystem throughout their life cycle. Download our datasheet Innovation is Where Business & Technology Intersect outlining how to plan your company’s IT strategy as you move through funding phases.

To dive deeper, download our data sheet → Innovation is Where Business & Technology Intersect.

In an earlier post, we shared some of the IT challenges faced by early-stage life sciences organizations. With this post, let’s take a deeper look at later-stage companies and what their IT strategy should be focused on as they scale.

What are the main IT priorities of life science firms as they move into their growth and expansion stages?


→ Employ technology for data management

As biotech, biopharma, and other life science enterprises grow, managing data increases in scale and complexity. As a result, cloud-based solutions and SaaS applications must align to ensure that enterprise data is available, usable, consistent, reliable, and secure. Employing the right technology solutions, including cloud-based services, backup and recovery, and others that store, manage, and protect data are critical at this stage.

→ Leverage technology to drive innovation

Not only has innovation come to the life sciences space, but it’s also bringing emerging technological trends with it. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RBA), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud/Big Data, and other developing technologies are evolving as disrupters to the sector. Successful life science companies will envision how to capitalize on these tools.

→ Optimize technology to grow operations

Even as innovative technology trends shift the landscape, IT becomes more integral to the core business operations as companies scale. While some may be using a managed IT model, most companies likely employ co-managed solutions during the later stages. A co-managed service provider empowers internal IT staff to drive technology delivery at scale and focus on strategic priorities. A technology partner can lighten the load by fulfilling tech support, plug critical skill gaps, and complement in-house capabilities with specialized technology services.

→ Utilize technology to ensure security and compliance

As a life science firm grows, compliance requirements increase in size and scope. At the same time, these companies have become more attractive targets for cybercriminals. As a result, life science firms must prioritize implementing robust cybersecurity tools and compliance processes to keep pace with evolving regulations while protecting sensitive data from bad actors.

Related Content → GxP and FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance with Egnyte for Life Sciences.

Developing IT Growth Strategy for the Life Sciences Industry

The life sciences industry is booming, and the future looks even brighter. But the key to success involves more than just innovation—effective growth also depends on how well your life sciences company can leverage IT capabilities throughout your life cycle. In building out an effective IT strategy for startups, begin by understanding where your organization stands today, followed by preparing for those IT areas that will require digital transformation. Furthermore, leveraging new technologies like AI, RPA, ML, and Big Data, can help accelerate your progress and open up new opportunities in the journey towards achieving your goals.

To sum up, you need to understand what’s possible before embarking on any journey. By taking stock of current practices, planning ahead, prioritizing initiatives based on pain points, incorporating new technologies, and teaming up with a technology partner, you’ll be well-positioned to meet future growth. Coretelligent is an industry leader with extensive experience in the life sciences sector. To learn more about how Coretelligent can help your company successfully scale so that growth doesn’t stifle innovation, talk to one of our technology experts today.

security and compliance for financial services

security and compliance for financial services

From operational processes to security challenges and regulatory uncertainty, the financial services sector has very specific IT requirements. Whether you are interested in scaling vertically or horizontally, simply maintaining secure document management and compliant levels of access for employees can be difficult. Managing complex financial services workflows and meticulous processes requires intensely powerful technology, which can be more expensive than financial services firms can afford and still fuel growth engines. With the rise of platforms and partners dedicated to the digital needs of financial services firms, it is more important than ever to fully vet the security and compliance levels of your systems while forging ahead with digital transformation.

Safely Taking Advantage of the Benefits of Cloud

In many ways, cloud computing has paved the way for financial services firms to envision new ways of doing business that are faster, more automated, more compliant and more secure. Managing the huge amounts of data inherent in financial services has caused many firms to shy away from privately hosted or aggregated data centers and move exclusively to the cloud. While the cost-savings can be significant with this shift, the instant scalability of cloud computing is what has been most seductive. The variability of transaction rates over time allows for faster scaling and better control over the consistency of transactions. Even with all the benefits, not all cloud storage and transactions are the same as the security of your cloud partner could be the chink in your armor that cybercriminals are hoping to exploit.

The Rising Importance of RegTech

There was FinTech, and now RegTech: the technology utilized to ensure you are fully complying with the regulatory authorities of the world. This is particularly crucial for financial services firms that often work with individuals and organizations around the globe. This dramatically increases the complexity of the challenges you are facing, and as more countries adopt their specific data privacy policies the intricacy of avoiding regulatory risk will skyrocket. Financial services firms must either comply with these regulations or choose not to do business in that region, something that can severely hamper growth potential for the future. Many organizations are being faced with the option of patching together multiple existing systems and workflows, hoping to capture the spirit of regulations without full confidence that compliance has been achieved. Finding a way to create flexible and scalable — not to mention compliant and secure — systems will continue to be a challenge for financial services firms that manage their technology internally.

Reducing Risk from Security and Compliance for Financial Services Sector

In an ever-changing regulatory and security climate, financial services firms that attempt to meet the obligations set forth by regulators by utilizing manual processes can quickly cause inconsistencies that are not easily discovered without a full audit of systems and processes. Where RegTech can step in is through creating a more resilient base for the organization, allowing for greater scalability as new reporting, security and workflow requirements come to light. Solutions that include AI and machine learning in cybersecurity are often able to detect abnormal activity within a network, aiding in financial crime detection procedures by scanning millions of transactions in a short period of time. Employing machine learning solutions ensures that the systems are able to grow over time — improving their ability to detect inconsistencies and alert technology and business staff to a potential situation.

Trusted Cybersecurity is Vital to Scalability

Third-party vendor risk is often underestimated but is a topic that should be brought top-of-mind for financial services professionals. The highly sensitive information stored within the financial services sector and the increasing data privacy regulations have made the level of security for partners and your data storage providers a key concern. Knowing that your cloud provider has resources dedicated to cybersecurity provides distinct advantages in the face of ever-shifting compliance reporting and security risks.

Finding the right mix of proactive support, regulatory knowledge and cybersecurity experience can be difficult for firms in the financial services sector. With their compliance assurance and engineering excellence, the professionals at Coretelligent are helping financial services organizations find the path forward to scale. Our consultants and technicians represent a broad spectrum of technical expertise, ensuring we have the resources in place to support growing financial services organizations across the country.

Proactive cybersecurity support

Proactive cybersecurity solutionsImproving the operation of your business often starts with consolidation: creating a more cohesive structure that eliminates redundancy and slashes inefficiencies throughout the organization. Business leaders have been focused in this direction for generations, often looking for the smallest advantages that will allow them to outpace the competition. With the renewed focus on cybersecurity, it’s not unusual for businesses to focus more on protecting the security of their organization than attempting to improve operational excellence. What you may not realize is that some of the same initiatives that will help smooth operational hurdles can also provide added levels of cybersecurity. What can be difficult is finding the spaces where you can bring these goals into alignment and create a comprehensive strategy that addresses the holistic needs of the organization and provide proactive cybersecurity support.

Shifting Cybersecurity From a Defensive Strategy

As hackers continue to expand their reach throughout the business community, technology leaders often double-down on the defensive postures that can help guard against the immediate threats of ransomware, phishing emails and direct data breaches. While these are important steps, it’s also important that you create a more active role for cybersecurity within the organization. Consider the cybersecurity and data security compliance requirements as enablers of innovation that will help the business move forward, instead of restrictive policies that are being forced upon the organization. This mental shift offers a broader scope that can become a platform for evolutionary change within the business.

Proactive Cybersecurity Support as a Competitive Advantage

The same work that you’re doing to build your cybersecurity posture and disaster recovery strategies provides your business with an opportunity to review business processes that have been part of institutional knowledge for years and challenge the status quo. Businesses often find that there are high-level items that can quickly be resolved, as well as finding deeper growth options that will reduce work blockages and help you maintain a greater velocity for your business. Business leaders may find that situations that have been causing inefficiencies can be overcome if the changes are in alignment with best practices for cybersecurity and business continuity. In this way, focusing on cybersecurity actually becomes a competitive advantage for your business, tightening operations and removing inconsistencies. While it is easy to see how these strategies could enhance the operations of the organization, getting started or even scoping the breadth of the necessary changes can be overwhelming. This is one of the reasons that businesses are shifting to a co-managed IT services model that allows internal teams to focus on the future while the day-to-day operations and Help Desk support are managed through a network of trusted providers.

Protect your business from operational slowdowns when you explore the Co-Managed IT Services from Coretelligent. This approach allows us to empower your internal technology teams to drive innovation at scale while relying on Coretelligent to provide the best-in-class cybersecurity and infrastructure solutions that your business needs. Our team has expertise providing trusted technical support, in-depth strategies, planning and more to a range of businesses from life sciences and financial services to manufacturers.

Core CISO Risk Management

Core CISO Risk ManagementThis is the debut post from Coretelligent’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Jason Martino. Jason will be regularly sharing his thoughts about information security on the Coretelligent blog.

With the shift towards security as a business priority, the role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has expanded and gained prominence within corporate structures. CISOs have long been the subject matter experts on cybersecurity best practices, but as the threat landscape has changed, so too has the position in the ongoing effort to protect company assets and manage risk management.

As the CISO of Coretelligent, I am responsible for our internal cybersecurity and compliance programs. I function as a conduit between IT and business and weigh in on IT and non-IT decisions, ranging from access control reviews and vendor selection to mergers and acquisitions. I also educate staff and customers on their roles in this increasingly dangerous threat environment.

At Coretelligent, we understand the risk of an inadequate security posture. Our C-suite appreciates and values the expertise of its information security professionals in evaluating and mitigating risks and connecting them to business objectives. Unfortunately, in my experience, I have seen too many businesses that do not give their security team a seat at the table. From my perspective, those businesses are still thinking of IT security as a cost center and not a revenue center. This approach is out of step with today’s reality of protecting assets in addition to a company’s reputation and brand.

To persuade any executives who need convincing, here are three takeaways that every CISO wishes their executives would better understand about information security and its role within risk management.

3 Things Your CISO Wants You to Know About Cybersecurity and Risk Management


1. Cybersecurity is About Risk Management and Not the Sole Responsibility of IT

Treat cyber risks as a risk-management issue and not solely as an IT function. Facing increased cyber threats, companies must address cyber risk in a business context or face dire consequences, including lost revenue, loss of critical data, reputational damage, compliance fines and penalties, and even the complete failure of the business. Therefore, risk needs to be identified and reduced to an acceptable level as guided by the company’s risk tolerance.

Companies must seek out and mitigate cyber risk on many levels and integrate cyber risk management throughout the organization. Unfortunately, when some executives think about information security, they mistakenly consider it a function of the IT team. But information security and information technology require different skillsets and involve entirely different responsibilities.

2. Prioritize and Practice Policy

Given the opportunity to assess hundreds of companies’ policies, I’ve realized that most companies treat policy as a checkbox activity. However, policy is more powerful than you realize.

Essentially cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, but executive buy-in is critical in successfully implementing an effective strategy. Executive buy-in is the crucial first step in aligning business objectives to policy and eventually to practice.

Second, creating policy shapes behavior to manage obligations and mitigate risks. Policies explain requirements for specific processes and the responsible parties involved. Keep content at a high level to avoid overloading policies with best practices, procedures, and other details that will overwhelm non-experts. Policies should be clear and achievable, setting the tone for behavior and expectations.

3. Focus on the Basics

If my inbox is any indication, there is an endless amount of vendors that claim their product or service will make your business more secure. While that may be true in some cases, it is critical to start with a good foundation. Just like you cannot decide to learn a language and become fluent overnight, focus on the fundamentals when mitigating risk. Advanced security products, services, and techniques will not be effective if you do not first build a solid foundation.

Asset management is the beginning of any security journey. To that end, create an inventory of your organization’s IT infrastructure and data and repeat this process continuously. You cannot protect an asset or confidential data if you do not know it exists. This process will allow you to understand your risk exposure. Additionally, an inventory is necessary for knowing where, when, and how to implement security patching versus functional patching.

Not all data is created equal. A one-size-fits-all approach to data protection just does not work in today’s data-driven business landscape. To that end, a tiered approach to protecting data may be more effective than blanket coverage. For example, consider who needs access, data storage and recovery costs, compliance requirements, and other parameters in determining your organization’s strategy. However, it is imperative that you identify and protect the crown jewels—the data assets that generate the most value for your company—and develop a plan that provides the best coverage for those assets.

Once you have a clear outline of your assets, the next step is to perform a risk assessment. Just as all data is not created equal, not all risks are equivalent. This exercise will enable your organization to identify and prepare for the most critical threats.

A critical component of any risk assessment involves identifying threats and vulnerabilities to IT assets. This step connects your inventory to the associated risks and allows your organization to develop a roadmap to mitigate those risks. A useful tool in completing this task is a risk heat map. A risk heat map is a data visualization tool that can help identify, prioritize, and communicate your risk exposure. In addition, it can highlight where best to allocate resources to mitigate risk.

Mitigating Risk Management

I have no doubt that there is more that your organization’s CISO would like to share with you. So, reach out to them and to our experts here at Coretelligent to learn more about protecting your business and mitigating your risk.

JasonAbout Jason

Jason Martino is passionate about the intersection of security and compliance. He is responsible for Coretelligent’s internal cybersecurity programs, governance, risk, compliance activities, and educating staff and customers on an ever-evolving threat landscape.