Luke Spray, Service Desk Manager at Shieldpay, reflects on his recent work bringing our IT services in-house and shares some key pointers for other fintechs going through a similar process.
As a fintech, Shieldpay is going through what is known as the scale-up phase. During this, it's normal for fintech’s to review their IT infrastructure to make sure it's ready to support the expansion of the company.
Most start-ups initially rely on Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to handle a full range of different IT tasks. These outsourced services can be hugely valuable. Rather than take on the headache of managing complex IT infrastructure and the accompanying administrative burden, smaller fintechs tend to rely on the experienced professionals to do the heavy lifting.
However, all fintech’s reach a time when they must take control over their internal systems and bring IT services in-house. This is driven not only by cost and a financial agenda, but also the need to regain complete control and have the ability to streamline processes to support the growing number of staff members and shifting demands.
Shieldpay recently reached this inflection point and we have grown out our information security team to tackle the task of regaining oversight and management of the IT systems. Having just been through this process, I wanted to share some of the key steps involved in successfully delivering the project and considerations for others looking to embark on this journey.
1. License management
Like most companies in the fintech space, we use SaaS solutions in our day-to-day operations. Bringing SaaS license management in-house is a logical step for scaling fintech companies aiming to optimise costs, enhance customisation, improve compliance, and bolster data security. With the ability to tailor license allocation, integrate systems, and automate workflows, in-house IT teams can ensure that SaaS applications are effectively utilised, supporting the company's growth and innovation.
By embracing in-house management of SaaS licenses, fintech companies can build a resilient IT infrastructure that meets their specific needs and empowers them to navigate the challenges of a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
A recent example of a tweak we were able to make because of this renewed license management was rebranding our log-in portal for Microsoft 365 with our logos and colour scheme. This has allowed not only our internal staff but also some of our integrated partners to have more confidence that they are logging into, accessing and storing information in a safe and secure environment.
2. Strengthening endpoint security
As fintech companies scale and face increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, the shift from traditional Anti-Virus (AV) solutions to Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) systems becomes imperative. While AV solutions have been the industry standard for many years, they are becoming less effective in detecting and mitigating advanced and targeted cyberattacks.
Most MSPs offer only traditional Anti-Virus and in some cases are only just starting to offer EDR solutions at a premium cost. As a result, the EDR solutions they offer may be rudimentary and lack the advanced capabilities required to effectively defend against modern cyber threats.
By taking EDR into their own hands, fintech companies can ensure that their cybersecurity defence is up-to-date and aligned with the latest threat landscape. The in-house IT team can continuously monitor and fine-tune the EDR system, adapting it to the evolving cyber threats that the fintech may encounter.
A critical motive for this step in the project is compliance. As fintech companies often deal with sensitive financial data and must comply with industry regulations, in-house EDR management allows for more precise control and customisation of security policies. This level of control is essential for tailoring EDR responses to meet compliance requirements and internal security standards.
3. Supporting macOS and Linux
One of the challenges that many fintech companies encounter when relying on MSPs for IT support is the limited expertise in fully supporting macOS and Linux environments. As a fintech company grows, the team often includes creative professionals, developers, and executives who prefer working on macOS or Linux devices.
However, many MSPs are more accustomed to handling Windows-based systems, and their knowledge of macOS and Linux environments may be lacking. This knowledge gap can lead to inefficiencies, delays, and potential security vulnerabilities when attempting to integrate macOS and Linux devices seamlessly into the IT infrastructure.
With dedicated macOS and Linux support, fintech companies can optimise performance, security, and user experience across all devices. The in-house IT team can implement the best practices for device management, ensuring software updates, security patches, and system configurations are in sync with the company's specific needs. This level of customisation and attention to detail can contribute to a smoother workflow, increased productivity, and reduced downtime for non-Windows users within the company.
In-house IT teams can offer personalised training and workshops for macOS and Linux users, empowering them to make the most of their devices' capabilities. This proactive approach fosters a tech-savvy workforce and encourages employees to explore innovative solutions, positively impacting the overall growth and innovation of the company.
4. Enhancing communication with Integrated Ticketing Systems
Efficient communication between IT teams and other departments is essential for quick issue resolution. Most MSPs require you to log tickets via emails or a dated portal that is outdated and slow.
Bringing the ticketing system in-house means that it allows you to integrate it where needed to better support staff members. In our case, we recently integrated our ticketing system into Slack creating a seamless workflow, enabling employees to raise IT tickets and receive updates whilst not having to out of their way to interact with our Service Desk.
This has led to improved response times and enhanced collaboration between the in-house IT team and other departments around the business.
These four stages of the transformation from relying on Managed Service Providers to developing a first-class in-house IT service team are mission-critical to supporting the scaling phase of fintech company growth.
Embracing this change allows for greater flexibility, enhanced control, and more efficient operations, ultimately leading to improved customer satisfaction and sustained growth.
This blog is part of a series of articles we are releasing showcasing some of the behind the scenes projects taking place across the business. Our incredible team of talented Shieldpay-ers are continuously leading us to new heights, building bigger and better!
If you are looking to join the team, we have a number of roles now open – take a look: https://shieldpay.teamtailor.com/