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We have provided cloud solutions to asset managers for the past three years and in this time completed various types of email migrations to Office 365. These migrations include a mix of moving clients from an on-premise Exchange or a third-party legacy private cloud provider entirely to Office 365 to working with hybrid solutions that span both own on-premise and Office 365. 

During these migrations we noticed a range of issues with clients who opted to set up their Office 365 accounts via a more economical re-seller or through bundled packages with other services. 

Here are a few things to be wary of when setting up your Office 365 accounts with the wrong partner:

  1. Some of these providers offer what is called a “Syndication Tenant”. Microsoft retired this type of subscription but it is still offered by many existing re-sellers. With a Syndication Tenant agreement, the Office 365 account, Azure AD tenant and data is held by the re-seller and can’t be easily migrated away. In this setup, a multiple step process is required to hand over the account to another partner. The data needs to be backed up, the account deleted, and the data re-imported into a new account. All of this means extra complexity, user upheaval and extended downtime. 
  2. Some re-sellers, especially the syndicated tenant providers, do not offer the account holder true admin rights which means only a subset of the Office 365 functionality and management is available. 
  3. You could end up locked into a strict contract when negotiating your agreement. Sometimes your contract could last up to two or three years with no variations possible on the user services and license counts. 
  4. Security options are limited when compared to native Office 365 solutions or conditional access policies.
  5. Interface solutions from these re-sellers often lack basic functionality such as single sign on tools. 

With issues like these it is important to do your due diligence when exploring your options before committing. More likely than not you will find that your safest and most efficient option is to partner with a trusted and experienced service provider or go to Microsoft directly.

How Hentsū does it differently

We are a Tier 1 Microsoft Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and work directly with Microsoft. We are also a Silver partner and specialists in the asset management industry. All of this allows us to provide a range of flexible solutions tailored to the world of fund management. 

A good time to reach out to us is when your fund is about to be registered (SEC, FCA, etc). We know the industry requirements and can provide guidance on best practices and compliance. We also have the ability to work earlier with startups to ensure that they have all the tools in place from day one and can scale as they grow. 

Generally, we advise to take the following steps when setting up cloud services: 

  • Create a native Office 365 account through Microsoft directly, or use one of the Hentsū starter packages. We create client accounts directly with Microsoft so you hold the keys to the Azure AD tenant.  Your data is always your data so you can migrate to another provider at any time.  
  • Validate that you hold ownership over your Office 365 account and email domain. 
  • Purchase license subscriptions and set up users and groups.
  • Don’t go for 12 month commitments until you are sure of which services you actually need. We offer all of our clients the same 12 month discounts but on a monthly rolling basis. 
  • Set up data loss prevention and data retention policies and be aware of two factor authentication and mobile device security. We enable all these features by default as you on-board to our setup.

So be sure to carefully consider all the possibilities before signing on with Office 365 re-sellers or bundled solutions, as there are a range of options for your Office 365 needsIf you are unsure of where to go next for your Office 365 solutions, reach out today to learn how we can best support you. 

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Date/Time

Date(s) - 01/01/1970
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location

600 5th ave. NY, NY
  • Quick and reliable public cloud deployments using Terraform
  • Enables users to describe public cloud environments in code
OK, the secret is out (our CTO Alex gave a talk about it, you can watch it below). One of the reasons Hentsū can deploy environments so quickly and reliably is because of the tools we’ve selected.  We’ve been using HashiCorp Terraform to describe, deploy and maintain public cloud environments since the company was founded. So we were glad to see Microsoft recently announced a multi-year partnership with HashiCorp to enhance the Terraform Provider for Azure. This is great news for Terraform users, like Hentsū, who have already benefited from using the Infrastructure as Code method of provisioning.

What Exactly is Terraform?

Terraform enables us to describe public cloud environments in code (HashiCorp Language). Terraform can then compare a public cloud account to the code and create a plan of changes to bring the environment up to date. If the plan is acceptable it can then be applied by Terraform to create, update or delete infrastructure resources such as networks, routing tables, firewall rules and virtual machines. It does this rapidly with as much parallelisation as possible leading to a slick, reliable and iterative way of deploying and maintaining public cloud environments. Deploying additional environments (test, staging, production) becomes a copy & paste exercise, or we create reusable modules. Using a code versioning system, like Git, we can version control a public cloud environment and even rollback to a previous version if, for example, a firewall rule change didn’t have the desired result. Changes can be codified on a separate code branch, and a pull request and approval required to promote changes to the master branch. This makes for a robust change management workflow for business-critical production environments. The code commit history provides an audit trail of who changed what, and the commit notes describe why. Terraform requires administrative credentials to make changes to public cloud environments. Storing these securely is a challenge so we prefer to generate short lived credentials that are usable for maximum 1 hour. Also, as part of a release pipeline, a scheduler like Teamcity or Jenkins can apply approved changes on behalf of IT and development teams.

Hentsū and Terraform

Microsoft backing HashiCorp only confirms that using Terraform to provision resources on cloud platforms is becoming the standard way of deploying infrastructure. Hentsū has first-hand experience using the software to deploy infrastructure successfully for its clients.

How Hentsū can Help

Want to discuss using Terraform software to deploy onto the cloud? Contact us at: hello@hentsu.com

Date/Time

Date(s) - 01/01/1970
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location

600 5th ave. NY, NY

AWS now in the UK

Hentsu deploying to AWS UK London cloudToday, Amazon announced the launch of AWS data centres in London. In addition to the existing Dublin and Frankfurt locations, AWS now has a third European region choice, and one which is especially useful to UK customers. As usual for AWS regions, this UK location comes with multiple levels of resiliency and comprises of two data centres.

Benefits

But what does this mean for asset managers using AWS technology and Hentsū customers in the UK?
  • Lower latency to your UK offices and data centres
  • Lower latency to other financial institutions, exchanges, and market data providers
  • If there are any specific requirements around UK jurisdiction, this is now easily mandated as part of the deployment
  • Connectivity is now available as a cross connect from multiple points of presence in London
Hentsū is now deploying to AWS London. For existing customers we can redeploy your existing environments to the UK region, with the minimum downtime.

More Information

The AWS Europe (London) Region offers two Availability Zones at launch. AWS Regions are comprised of Availability Zones, which refer to technology infrastructure in separate and distinct geographic locations with enough distance to significantly reduce the risk of a single event impacting availability, yet near enough for business continuity applications that require rapid failover. Each Availability Zone has independent power, cooling, physical security, and is connected via redundant, ultra-low-latency networks. AWS customers focused on high availability can architect their applications to run in multiple Availability Zones to achieve even higher fault-tolerance. AWS also provides multiple Amazon CloudFront edge locations in the UK for customers looking to deliver websites, applications, and content to UK end users with low latency. These locations are part of AWS’s existing network of 68 edge sites across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. See the full press release here. Contact us for more information on how you can take advantage of the new UK London AWS region.

Date/Time

Date(s) - 01/01/1970
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location

600 5th ave. NY, NY
It appears that just about any technology you use in your personal life touts some aspect of “cloud”. From Google Drive and DropBox to iCloud and OneDrive, companies are allowing users to wizard away their data to these services that magically don’t exist within their personal devices. One may assume that cloud services are simply storage solutions where you can move things into the safekeeping of a company. But of course, this is just the tip of the cloud iceberg. At Hentsu the cloud is our business so we’ve written a few tips to help clear up some of the confusion regarding what else a “cloud” service can be.  
  1. Grid Computing: Fancy speeding up number crunching and relieving your poor hardware from stressful workloads? Then move your work off to a grid computing service! These clusters of computers share a workload between themselves, freeing up your machine’s capacity. Services such as Google’s BigQuery and DataLab allow for large sets of data to be processed and analysed with all the power Google can muster, in a cost-effective manner. Provisioning compute clusters in the cloud has far less set up time and upfront costs compared to their in-office counterparts.
  2. Software as a Service (SaaS). Need some software now? You may not need to download it! Some companies offer fully functional software from within browsers or via remote connection. Office365 and similar services allow users to create Office documents from their web browser or phone without downloading anything to their machines. These documents are even backed up online and easily sharable with URL links, allowing multiple people to edit the same document at once. SaaS isn’t limited to documents, anything from monitoring tools to communication can be provided as a cloud based service.  Better still, the software provider will take care of all maintenance and updates.
  3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Companies and individuals don’t always have the right hardware they need to operate as desired. Hardware also represents a big upfront expense and a maintenance burden. How about you let someone else take care of all that? Whereas SaaS allows you to make use of software not on your machine, IaaS lets you make use of infrastructure you don’t physically have. Companies such as Amazon and Microsoft have created professional grade virtual networking environments where you can deploy virtual machines and large data stores without the overhead of maintaining a datacentre.
  So yes, the cloud can be where you store and share your photos, but it can be so much more. Here at Hentsu we specialise in cloud technologies and have a wealth of experience helping organisations move their operations from traditional platforms to the cloud. If you think your business may benefit from any aspect of the cloud then feel free to get in touch, we can ensure you end up with the services right for you.

Date/Time

Date(s) - 01/01/1970
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location

600 5th ave. NY, NY

Hentsū to Discuss Hedge Fund Cloud Services

London – 2 June 2016 – Hedge fund cloud service provider Hentsū will be speaking alongside senior executives from AWS, Thomson Reuters, Piquant Technologies and Ion Asset Architecture at a panel debate hosted by HFM on the 22nd of June in London. With participation from both technology service providers and consumers of those services, there promises to be a well-balanced discussion around service innovation, systems performance, information security and broader business benefits. The debate will cover all types of hedge fund technologies, but with a focus on core real-time market data, execution and trading systems. There are both benefits and challenges of running asset management services over a public cloud infrastructure. With the experiences on the panel, both sides of the debate should be well represented, and without the myths and perceptions.

Panelists

The speaker line-up includes:
  • Marko Djukic, founder & managing director, Hentsū
  • Mike Powell, managing director, enterprise, Thomson Reuters
  • David Elliot, solutions architecture manager, financial services, Amazon Web Services
  • Iain Buchanan, CTO and COO, Piquant Technologies
  • Dennis Lohfert, director, Ion Asset Architecture
Places are limited so click here for more information and to register.

Date/Time

Date(s) - 01/01/1970
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Location

600 5th ave. NY, NY