For most small FINRA firms, technology has become a big mess. Stuck with an outdated email system that surely isn’t being archived as per 17a-4, they end up with their data stored all over the place on laptops, a bit in the cloud and some saved on a server under the sink in the office kitchen.
Also, trying to collaborate with everybody is a nightmare most the time and let’s not mention security, viruses, or data protection. We can say this hodgepodge has turned into a dog’s breakfast, but for FINRA firms, the dog is a regulator who comes in for the audit and bites the compliance officer in the ass.
Getting everything under one roof is the solution to this mess, and moving the office to the cloud is the key. But let’s be honest here – Office 365 is the best choice for small firms since Google is clearly not compatible with most desktop apps used these days, while Amazon is essentially a huge data storage backend used primarily by large companies.
However, it’s important that firms understand that the Microsoft cloud, by default is not 17a-4 compliant. For example, out-of-the-box users can simply delete emails or electronic records at any time, also data is not retained by Microsoft to meet the archiving demands of FINRA, security must be added, while connectors to other systems for archiving of third-party data such as social media should be properly configured by the D3P.
Compliant WorkSpace Designed for FINRA Firms
That’s why AdvisorVault has become a Microsoft certified cloud partner to add Office 365 to its consolidated 17a-4 D3P service. Our Compliant WorkSpace powered by Microsoft is the only cloud platform designed specifically for banks, broker dealers, hedge funds, investment advisors and private equity firms who need to meet today’s demands surrounding electronic records retention and supervision.
“We saw the mess many firms had with their technology and we decided to offer them a way out, the Compliant WorkSpace using Office 365 was the answer for our customers,” says Allan Lonz, President of AdvisorVault, “With the Compliant WorkSpace, firms can now host their whole office through us and get everything needed for a compliant cloud,” Lonz added.
Included with AdvisorVault’s 17a-4 Compliant WorkSpace:
- HOSTING FOR ALL MICROSOFT CLOUD APPS: AdvisorVault’s Compliant WorkSpace is a unique cloud option for FINRA firms because all Office 365 apps are hosted through AdvisorVault and records are automatically archived to achieve the demands of SEC rule 17a-4. This includes Exchange Email, Sharepoint, OneDrive and Teams.
- ARCHIVING FOR THIRD PARTY SYSTEMS: AdvisorVault’s Compliant WorkSpace includes connectors for all major third-party apps needed for a complete FINRA compliant cloud. Connectors include LinkedIn company pages, Twitter, Facebook, Instant Bloomberg, Bloomberg Message, Salesforce, Slack and Zoom meetings
- EDISCOVERY AND AUDITING: With the Compliant WorkSpace firms have the built-in ability to create policies that will meet the supervisory demands of rule 17a-4. By enabling advanced eDiscovery and auditing AdvisorVault gives FINRA firms the option to monitor emails or data across SharePoint and OneDrive sites to identify documents containing sensitive information shared with people outside their organization and blocking access to non-compliant communications while sending notifications to compliance officers for ongoing audit/review
- THREAT PROTECTION AND ENCRYPTION: By default, Office 365 does not meet the security demands of 17a-4, however with the Compliant WorkSpace FINRA firms are ensured the highest level of email protection with built in encryption
- 17a-4 D3P SERVICE: AdvisorVault is the only certified Microsoft cloud partner with the 17a-4 Designated Third Party (D3P) certification and includes the D3P service with its cloud platform with the two 17a-4 third party notification letters to cover this part of compliance
- EXPERT ADVICE AND GUIDANCE: Small firms need a D3P that can guide them with the move to the Microsoft cloud, with AdvisorVault you get expert advice during this transition. Including domain and email setup with migration of in-house data to SharePoint and OneDrive
The addition of the Compliant WorkSpace to AdvisorVault’s consolidated D3P service is great news for small FINRA firms. They now have an option to put all their technology under one roof. By hosting their email, data, security, archiving and eDiscovery with AdvisorVault, for one monthly fee, firms finally have total piece of mind now that 17a-4 compliance is out of the doghouse.