The State-of-the-Art in Remote Technology Access

It was roughly 15 years ago that I hosted the very first panel discussion, at one of the early T3 conferences, on an entirely new concept called “remote hosting.” Instead of installing the components of your tech stack on the server that lives in the closet behind the reception area, advisors had everything installed on a virtual machine that could be accessed through their web browser.

The audience was amazed to hear that the panel of advisors were able to log into their full software suite through a single sign-on. They could work on financial plans and input client data in the CRM through a dumb terminal at a coffee shop in Tunisia or the public computer at their local library. No on-site server to maintain, all software upgrades were handled automatically by the remote server platform, and the data protection measures were infinitely better than the virus protection software advisors were typically installing on their servers.

We didn’t even have the term “cloud” to describe where the virtual server resided. But everybody in the room realized that our technology was moving into a new and more productive direction that would offer more freedom to work remotely.

In the days after that presentation, several remote hosting companies popped up, including True North Networks, RightSize Solutions, Itegria and OS33 – and all of them offered a lot of conveniences. But, as most of you know, the software solutions in the financial planning ecosystem – and pretty much all software solutions everywhere else – migrated to this new “cloud” thing, so an advisor’s entire tech stack was accessed remotely.

If your firm is sophisticated (meaning large), there might even be a single sign-on overlay.

And since COVID, the profession has embraced the freedom to work anywhere and made it a business necessity. Staff members routinely log in from home, at their kitchen table or a desk in their bedroom.

What is the state-of-the-art for consolidating a tech stack and protecting client data?

Steve Ryder, founder and CEO of True North Networks, has been helping advisory firms move away from the remote hosting concept while still maintaining the security and conveniences that their teams have grown accustomed to.