The Most Prevalent (and Perhaps Costly) Cloud Cybersecurity Myth

In the early days of the cloud, there was a myth that storing data “out there” was not as secure as storing it on your server. The concern and confusion were understandable since it was new technology, but the idea of cybersecurity is becoming increasingly more important.

However, there is no truth to that myth, particularly today. Cloud solution providers have access to the strongest, enterprise-grade security measures available.

A good way to look at the security of your data online versus locally is to compare it to banking. Would you consider your cash to be safer in an online bank or under your mattress? Not many people would choose the latter!

Cybersecurity, Salesforce, and Your Data

Altvia solutions leverage the Salesforce architecture. In the metaphor above, Salesforce would be the “bank.” When you store your assets (data in this case) there, you benefit from all the resources and security expertise of a multi-billion-dollar company. 

If you instead store your assets on a local server—even a server protected by security software—your digital defenses simply don’t compare. And the truth is, your local server almost certainly is connected to the internet. So, having your data there isn’t even comparable to having your money under your mattress. Hackers can “see” your server even though it’s inside your office.

Protection in the Event of a Catastrophe

In addition to the cutting-edge cybersecurity you get from Salesforce and the Altvia solutions built on the Salesforce framework, you also benefit from the fact that Salesforce backs up your data regularly. Should a fire, flood, or other catastrophe damage your office, you can access your data from an alternative location.

In fact, even if one of Salesforce’s servers were damaged, your data would be safe thanks to the concept of redundancy. As the company explains on its website: “Customer Data is stored on a primary database server with multiple active clusters for higher availability. Customer Data is stored on highly redundant carrier-class disk storage and multiple data paths to ensure reliability and performance.”

Cybersecurity and Email

Riskier than storing your data in the cloud is sending it from person to person via email. Most email platforms are unencrypted. That means that if a hacker intercepts an email, any data it contains is compromised.

The fact that you log in to your email program doesn’t mean that your messages are protected. Attachments like spreadsheets and forms are vulnerable as they move from your outbox to the recipient’s inbox.

Then, of course, there’s also the risk of sending an email to the wrong recipient! Enter one incorrect character or leave a character out when typing someone’s email address, and you send sensitive information to the wrong person. That would be like putting an envelope of cash in the mail to the business next door to your bank—or down the street or across the country.

That being the case, storing your data “out there” in the cloud and sharing it using encryption is much safer than keeping it in-house. And in a heavily regulated industry like ours, failing to protect your data properly can be disastrous.

Fortunately, with Altvia and Salesforce watching out for you, you can focus on your job confident that your data is very secure.


A traditional crm was built for general ‘customer’ scenarios

Software platforms have made the world a better place by making work a better place. Indeed the world is better off when people enjoy their jobs even marginally more, and workplace applications on big CRM platforms like have done that and much more.

But the potential that platforms like these offer presents diminishing returns: once the platform provider has engineered too many industry specific components into its platform, its usefulness for other industries begins to be threatened, and with that so do the usefulness of the component tools built into the platform.

So it is with the CRM category that has defined: it is generic enough to work for many industries, and yet still offers the potential for others to round off the edges and nail more vertically-oriented and extremely tailored software solutions.

Private capital markets are actually a great demonstration of this dynamic. Where generic CRM platforms simplify — appropriately so — to assume there’s a business, a customer, a sale, and service of that customer, there are a few industry-specific pieces that are missing.

Take for example, that investors become customers by investing through legal entities the GP raises. It’s a subtle but important nuance that just doesn’t make sense at a platform-as-a-service level (because it’s overly complicated for a simple one-time sale that many industries require), but which can easily be added without 10 years or software engineering. Once provided, the rest of the platform’s components become tremendously powerful again and you’re set to take over the world.

As a traditional CRM in our pillars methodology, these nuances must be present to properly account for investors in these legal entities, potential target companies and which are owned by these entities, the context of all interactions with these parties (as well as the appropriate overlap, ie co-investments), and how you’re arriving at finding these opportunities on both sides of the equation, such that you’re able to piece together what’s effective and what’s not. Not just because we say so, but because these are the very relationships and data that are key to the motivation behind a CRM in any industry.

It’s critical, too, that the valuable publicly-available information that helps to enrich CRM systems and save users painful steps of entering it themselves is fully-integrated at the platform level.

Again, look no further than the 3,000+ pre-built integrations that — the creator of the CRM platform concept — has at a platform level to do so, and which only exists by way of holding just short of overly-specifying certain industry workflows that would present challenges to properly integrate.

Stakeholder reporting and communication (investor relations) draws on a range of datasets

The traditional “customer service” model of CRM systems once again makes overly-simplified assumptions about the customer relationship when applied to private capital markets.

In fifteen years I personally have yet to hear the terms “warranty” or “service call” in this market because it’s just not the same. But make no mistake, as uncomfortable as it may be to say aloud, customer service is more important now than ever and it’s constantly happening; the industry is, after all, considered to be a financial “service”.

As it turns out, that service is primarily information-based — it’s driven by data and takes the form of reports and analysis that drive decisions, and then end up again in investor-facing reports and analysis.

The foundational elements of a private capital markets CRM must be built such that they accommodate this data (like we discussed above), but so too that it can accommodate additional supporting data that investors (customers!) need in the context of service.

Oftentimes this supporting data — financial metrics and time-based values, for example — is believed not to meet the traditional definition of CRM and the natural thought is “well, better do this in Excel!”.

While I happen to believe Excel is still the greatest software application ever built, its introduction to this value chain we’ve discussed herein actually creates the problem many firms suffer from: key data needed to provide customer service (again: effectively the entirety of a firm’s reports and analysis) is now in disparate systems and detached.

Both of those dynamics are important and distinct: not only is this supplemental data disparate, but when brought together there is no logical association that can be made between the two data sets.

Allow me, then, to make the point very simply: not only can this financial and time-based value data (you may be thinking about is as “portfolio monitoring” or “accounting”) be a part of a CRM, it is arguably the most important part of a CRM because it’s at the core of what providing service to the customer entails — information that comes out of data!

Firms need a digital method to engage stakeholders (ie investor portals)

Investor portals are not new; in fact, for many of us — including myself — they conjure up horrifying nightmares in which we’re aimlessly guessing at folders to find the newest document we need.

So in lies the opportunity: not only have the portals we’ve come to hate not simplified the process of acquiring information, they’ve failed to create an entirely new experience that is “customer service” driven.

To be fair, this is not a B2C market where you’d be long out of business for not having focused on customer service and thus the customer’s technology-driven experience. But don’t expect to be around too much longer if you aren’t thinking about this shift.

Today’s institutional investors increasingly expect this same consumer-like experience, and a massive opportunity is being missed by not providing it. It’s not about providing them the experience they desire; it’s more about the ability to measure engagement that is had in return.

Put simply: what’s keeping the market from providing this experience is the availability of the information that’s required to create the service that provides the experience.

If you’ve hung in this long, you know that by focusing on your CRM, you have the data that’s required to manage the customer relationship and the technology-driven experience through which that information is shared to create a differentiated and opportunistic customer experience.