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Why data retention is vital for businesses in the financial services sector

The financial services industry is highly regulated, and businesses within this sector need to meet strict compliance requirements—managing unstructured content like contracts, bank statements, insurance policy documents, and investment certificates. These days, most transactions are processed electronically. If data wasn’t retained, and there weren’t records of transactions and approvals, there would be chaos in the courts, the exchanges, and anywhere there are financial transactions.

Data retention allows for workflow automation, which not only creates business process efficiency, it provides an audit trail that processes were followed to meet compliance requirements. High standards of encryption and robust firewall technology safeguard your reputation, and your clients’ privacy.

Here are four proof points that financial service providers need to make data retention a top priority:

Regulatory compliance

For insurance brokerages, investment firms, accounting firms and bank branches, the practice of managing electronic documents is subject to a number of compliance requirements. Files with credit card information associated with them need to managed with policies, technology and practices as required by the Payment Card Industry council’s PCI-DSS standards.

Other standards include those that scrutinize the security controls implemented by the service provider that stores your information, such as ISO/IEC 27001 and SSAE 16. Contracting data management services from a service provider with these certifications mitigates risk of data loss, and goes a long way to satisfying audit requirements. Other relevant financial services compliance requirements you should use as data storage services evaluation criteria include:

   •     Sarbanes Oxley (SOX)
   •     Gramm-Leach-Blilley Act (GLBA)
   •     US-EU Safe Harbor Framework
   •     EU data protection acts

The more your firm can mitigate responsibility for data retention, compliance and security to a proven, certified service provider for your data at rest and data in motion, the greater your peace of mind.

Litigation readiness

When a financial services provider such as a credit union or one of their clients is involved in a court case, the ability to quickly gather all of the relevant evidentiary files is important. Searching multiple PCs, shared drives or filing cabinets at the last minute is risky, and can end up costing you or your customer dearly. Functions like PC backup, remote/branch office backup, and file sync ensure that files are stored in a unified repository, and can be retrieved when needed.

The ability to manage access rights on documents, and to prevent them from being edited can be crucial when it comes time to “lock down” a set of documents during court proceedings.

Discoverability

Businesses and consumers complete lots of contracts for their day-to-day banking, investment, and insurance needs. Storing these documents for the lifecycle of the relationship is critical. That includes documents that were once paper as well as those that were created electronically. Storing all of these files together, profiling them with effective metadata and filing them in a structured foldering system, and using a robust search capability makes them easy to find when needed.

The monthly cost of a cloud-based data storage service can easily pay for itself by ensuring files don’t go missing and can be retrieved with ease, and are only available to those who have a strong business reason for access.

Business continuity, backup and recovery

Document storage apps mitigate risk of losing files from fire, flood, or hardware failure. Who hasn’t spilled coffee on their laptop and then had their heart leap in their chest, wondering about the recoverability of their files? For investment advisors or accountants, the ability to quickly change devices and immediately have access to their files from their smartphone, laptop or tablet increases their productivity and morale. In this age of cloud file storage, customers and investors expect your firm to have/provide access to their policies, portfolios, and other data—without interruption.

Local data backups that use traditional tape drives or portables storage can be time-consuming and prone to failure. Cloud backups with virtual drives process much faster, are simpler to do, and they shift the responsibility of maintaining your files to skilled technicians. Automated backups of PCs, servers, and remote office systems reduces your IT team’s workload.

Looking for a secure, reliable, and proven data retention solution for your business in the financial services sector? Check out MozyEnterprise or MozyPro service plans. Or check out our customer testimonials from Dreambuilder Investments and Advance Insurance if you need more proof.

Why it’s important for employees to get away from their desk at lunchtime


Office staff. Cubicle dwellers. Desk jockeys. Dilberts. Corporate.

They have many names, but just like any other profession, they have to find time in their busy day to eat. They may be on the 27th floor of an office building or in their home office. Where ever they might be, it is in their best interest—and yours—to make sure they have time to break away from their computer, from their phone, and from their desk to eat, disconnect and rest.

There’s always a conference call, report deadline or “lunch and learn,” which seem to keep your employees at their desk over the lunch hour. Yet the benefits of allowing them to submit the report a little later or plan their calendar more effectively can produce significant gains in their:

   •     Productivity
   •     Morale
   •     Relationships with colleagues
   •     Health and fitness conditioning
   •     Alertness

Consider jobs like operations, inside sales, tech support, marketing, graphic design, and application development. These employees are sitting for hours at a time, and staring at a computer screen for much of it. Usually, the longer people work at their desk, the easier it to forget to decompress, get some fresh air and better nutrition than a cold Pop Tart, the monthly birthday cake, or the last Snickers bar from the office vending machine.

There are many benefits to encouraging your employees to take a lunchtime break, and your business will benefit from them in the long term. Here are three of our favorites.

1. Productivity and focus

Remember when you were a kid at school, and the lunch bell rang, and everyone was happy to grab their lunchbox, eat what Mom sent them, or dine on the gourmet fare at the school cafeteria? Whether that was your experience or not, you likely had some time to get some fresh air, run around the yard, and refresh your body and brain for the rest of the day.

At the office, you should encourage your employees to get some fresh air too. If your employees might need access to customer data if an important call comes in, a cloud-based, mobile file management application can provide access to files like quotes, invoices, or even Outlook PST files. Out of the office doesn’t have to mean out of the loop.

Empowering your employees to take a stroll around the block, go to a local gym and blow off steam, or have a hot, nutritious lunch will pay off with focus, energy, and enthusiasm. If something important breaks over the lunch hour, your teams will feel connected enough to address what they need to, but free enough to recharge their batteries.

2. Social engagement and team building

Just like your family at the dinner table, some of the best conversations happen when employees can meet face-to-face over a meal and a beverage. Hydration and nourishment can eliminate that “wall” of fatigue that often hits around 3 PM, where concentration lags, and employees often stray to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Idle screen time isn’t helping your team to produce better results, it’s just a distraction that can drag on past the lunch hour.

Having walking meetings, stand-up scrums, or setting up a ping-pong table in an unobtrusive space in the office can encourage people to share ideas, build relationships with new colleagues, and catch up on what’s happening across the business. WiFi accessibility in the office is ideal. If employees can move about your office environment with access to their files and apps, they won’t feel the guilt of straying from their desk. Some companies are eliminating designated desks altogether and allowing their employees to work where they can be most productive.

3. Health and Nutrition

Do you ever stream a TV series at home, while eating a bag of chips, a pizza, or nachos? That might be fun on occasion, but if you think about it, doesn’t that pizza, those chips or nachos taste better when you’re eating them without the distraction of TV or a movie? When we eat at our desks, the lunch experience is really diluted by the spreadsheets, documents, and other files on our desks. When we eat mindfully alone, or with other people, we are more aware of what we are eating, when we are full, and what our body really needs.

The idea that “sitting is the new smoking” is not new. Investing in ergonomic desks, which can be set for sitting or standing, can prevent conditions and disease like obesity, cancer, and lower back pain. Providing tools like mobile apps and devices that allow your employees to get outside (and stay connected), have a social lunch, or volunteer for a cause contributes to better mental and physical health.

Though it seems counter-productive to prevent your employees from working through lunch, there’s lots of proof that when employees break away from their desk for 30 minutes to an hour, they will produce better results, be more engaged, and they may even invite you along to their yoga or spin classes at lunchtime.

Does the idea of a mobile-enabled, cloud based file management app sound like a good way to liberate your employees from being chained to their desk over lunch? Try a 30-day trial of MozyPro today.

How the Internet of Things will Change Your Business

Small businesses across many industries are using the Internet for more devices now than ever before. Beyond point of sale terminals, tablets, laptops and desktops, the Internet is now collecting and transferring data from:

Touchscreen self-serve kiosks
     •     Metering and monitoring devices on equipment and machinery
     •     Barcode readers
     •     Trucks and company vehicles
     •     Drones for cameras and transport
     •     Lighting
     •     Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
     •     Building security
     •     Wearable devices
     •     Product inventory

Though all of these devices, sensors, and items will cost your business money, there are tremendous savings opportunities to be discovered.

Here are six areas of your business where the Internet of Things (IoT) will drive down cost, create efficiency, and lighten your workload.

1. Operational Building Costs
Let’s say you are a Chartered Accountant, and you needed to work late at the office. You were the last out of the building, and forgot to do the rounds and turn off corridor lighting. Fortunately, you are equipped with a smartphone enabled device, so you can turn off the lights from your driveway, instead of driving back to the office.

Climate control, security systems and other environmental infrastructure can also be interfaced with a mobile application. You’ll benefit from the system’s convenience, and the cost savings of being able to regulate your office even when you’re not at the office.

2. Self-Serve Kiosks and Devices
Here are a few more scenarios. Let’s say you run a restaurant, or a retail store. Your employees work hard, yet there are often long line-ups, or your employees can’t be in every aisle. Self-serve touch screen devices can take food orders, help shoppers find what they are looking for, and even find out about promotional offers you have in your establishment.

If you your business is in an area where it is difficult to get qualified employees to serve your customers, or if your business is growing rapidly, IoT connected kiosks, tablets and other devices will increase the accuracy of customer orders, increase the productivity of your staff on the floor, and improve customer satisfaction.

Cashier-less check-out machines have helped to process express lane customers for several years. Since fewer customers are using cash, and turning to credit and/or debit cards, so it seems fairly certain retail transactions will continue to evolve to automated systems.

3. Connected Equipment Monitoring Devices
If your business is in the manufacturing or construction business, you will have machines and equipment which require regular maintenance. Connecting these company assets to the IoT ensures they are maintained either on a usage cycle, when they are due for some down time, or in case a sensor identifies some sort of performance or safety issue.

4. Telematics
Telematics sensors can be equipped on transport trucks or fleet vehicles, to monitor for maintenance, performance, or on-site/off-site location. Although telematics gear and related apps historically have been geared towards large enterprise and public sector, the technology cost is now affordable for small and medium businesses.

5. Wearable Devices
The use of fitness bands, smart watches and IoT enabled garments continues to evolve for personal and business use. For healthcare-related businesses, patients with diabetes, dementia or other mental/physical challenges can be outfitted with connected devices which will alert loved ones or medical professionals in case of an emergency.

6. Practical Uses for Drones
Internet-connected drones have been getting a bad rap lately for their privacy implications and safety. If you have a large warehouse, or operate farms with livestock, or plants, drones can be very useful.
     •     Want to find out where your horses went when the gate wasn’t            secured?
     •     Looking to find out if you have any forest green gas ranges left in inventory, but don’t want to walk back in the            warehouse?
     •     Interested in creating a video of your car dealership from a few hundred feet above, and stream it to the web?
           There are drones for that!

The Internet of Things offers small businesses many opportunities to save money. The role of employees and management will change as more tasks become automated, small businesses will find ways to benefit, and adapt to the evolution of smart things.