AAPI Fintech Leader of the Year Describes Vision for Wealth Management Cybersecurity and Advises Firms’ Top Priorities to Shield Against Cyberattacks
As with many regulatory trends, the trend towards cybersecurity rose so quickly that it left many financial advisory firms behind, especially smaller ones with less resources, struggling to grasp the multitude of threats and vectors of attack and the well-intentioned but overwhelming flurry of regulations following the threats.
Solutions existed, but in a fragmented, non-integrated form that gave small and medium-sized firms cold comfort – the uneasy feeling that a cyberthief might approach over one shoulder and a regulator over the other while they hastily assembled an incomplete patchwork of solutions to rapidly-evolving problems.
WSR Pathfinder Awards AAPI Fintech Leader of the Year, Sid Yenamandra, envisioned a better way forward for the industry to manage cyber risks, founding Entreda in 2012, a firm dedicated to providing a unified approach and a comprehensive cybersecurity toolkit for advisors.
Today Entreda serves over 100,000 users and over 300 firms and Yenamandra continues as CEO after Smarsh bought Entreda in 2020.
Since the acquisition, adoption of Entreda’s platform and services has grown threefold and it was named the top firm in its class by market share in the T3 annual survey from 2018 to 2021.
Entreda continues to innovate under Yenamandra’s leadership, launching a dark web monitoring service as well as a ransomware protection and data backup remediation service, both in 2021.
We caught up with Yenamandra to ask more about his vision and passion for wealth management cybersecurity, important steps for firms to take and how the industry can advance its AAPI representation.
WSR: What about your company’s vision / mission are you most passionate about?
Yenamandra: We focus on helping our clients improve their cybersecurity risk posture. Our clients manage trillions of dollars in assets for their clients, and cybersecurity is one of the most critical risk factors for organizations of any size.
Many of the firms we work with have limited resources and therefore need the most help. I feel passionate about the fact that we save our customers time, and help them sleep easy at night, allowing their focus to be their core business.
WSR: What gave you the idea to launch Entreda?
Yenamandra: As cyberattacks are more prevalent and regulatory fines escalate for non-compliance, the concept of Entreda Unify was born out of listening to the frustrations of many growing wealth management firms struggling to choose from a plethora of cybersecurity tools and navigating the confusing regulations around cyber and data privacy.
We (the Entreda team) saw a different way of solving for this pain point. Our team of software engineers developed a unified cybersecurity platform to monitor and remediate cyber risk emanating from end-point devices, networks, users and vendors all in one place.
We added compliance risk scoring and reporting that meets the needs of SEC and FINRA regulatory guidance all in a single-pane-of-glass platform with a service model ensuring firms of all sizes can take advantage of the Unify Platform.
WSR: Why does cybersecurity continue to intensify in importance for wealth management firms and their professionals – And what should be the industry’s top cybersecurity priorities as a whole?
Yenamandra: Cybersecurity presents a clear risk to wealth management firms of all sizes. The number of ransomware attacks over the last two years has grown over 300%. Business email compromise and account take over attacks remain top threats for wealth management firms.
With all this, SEC, FINRA and state board fines are increasing as regulators scrutinize the cybersecurity policies and enforcement protocols of many organizations. It is no wonder that cybersecurity is front and center for wealth management firms of all sizes.
Most businesses must focus on growing their top line, managing their bottom line and handling risks. Cybersecurity has a direct impact on all three facets.
The top priorities for wealth management firms for cybersecurity should include building a comprehensive cybersecurity policy based on an industry framework and performing a detailed risk assessment of your organizations to address gaps based on risk.
In addition, a firm should focus on four key areas: employees and contractors (concentrating on cyber awareness training), the devices and cybersecurity posture management process, corporate networks and associated vulnerability management and vendor risk profiling and management.
WSR: How can the wealth management industry better drive AAPI representation?
Yenamandra: I am very fortunate that the wealth management industry has been so accepting and inviting of my contributions to date. I have observed that the industry has been accepting of those who are deeply committed to the cause of improving outcomes for wealth managers and more importantly, bringing ground-breaking innovations to the industry.
By the same token, the industry has been wary of ‘flight by night’ innovators. In the U.S., we are blessed to have some of the largest asset management firms in the world, but with that comes a heavy amount of risk and responsibility.
All this drives opportunity to improve risk outcomes in a meaningful manner. I have always believed that technology and upstarts are borderless and assuming the industry continues to be welcoming of new innovations, we automatically create opportunity for better representation , not just in the AAPI community, but other communities alike.
Julius Buchanan, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org