Listen to this episode here: Risk Management in the Cloud Era

Welcome to our blog for TALKING NUMBERS with Paul Jansz. In this article, we share our conversation with Zahn Nel, Director of CT Group Solutions, one of the leading premium Information Communication Technology support partners within the professional services sector.

About CT Group Solutions

Zahn introduces that CT Group is an Information Technology service provider specialising in identifying, implementing, and managing business technology applications and infrastructure; their main focus is in the professional services sector.

CT Group hosts their own environment. They have data centres in Melbourne and two data centre locations also with NEXTDC. They run a centralised helpdesk, which is managed from their headquarters in Perth. They also have small teams in most major cities to support local clients. They are viewed as the outsourced IT department for professional service firms and manage their entire infrastructure from a cloud-based structure.

CT Group is based in Perth, and they started expanding as a national business. The idea and strategy started 18 months ago but were affected a little by the pandemic. Last May, their new State Manager started. He was supposed to be based in Melbourne but had to relocate to Brisbane for a few months because it’s more flexible there. Zahn and his team think technology has helped businesses because people can make it work regardless of where they are, and remote working will be very normal from now on.

Zahn says that a lot of companies would still have traditional server-based applications. In the finance area, people still use MYOB or APS. And the versions that they use are not a true cloud-based model. CT Group has created a cloud environment for these applications by putting them into CT Group’s data centre and hardware, so their clients can access these apps through a remote desktop. That means that they can always access it, regardless of where they are. it’s like creating a hybrid solution for the clients.

Security is Critical

Zahn says security is essential because they handle all the clients’ data. They started deploying two-factor authentication about three years ago, and it was strong enough for their clients.

Zahn and his team also don’t set up an environment that doesn’t have two-factor authentication on it. They work very closely with the specialists, vendors, and suppliers on all security protocols and requirements. They implement all these protocols and manage them.

Why the Professional Service Sector?

Zahn shares a few reasons why they decided to provide this service for accounting firms and legal firms. The first reason is this sector is recession-proof. They wanted to work with more stable organisations. Another reason is one of their directors is certified in the document management system. With accountants and lawyers being very document-driven, that helped them significantly to enhance the offerings quickly. The third reason is they think there was a gap in the market regarding how the clients were being managed.

The Niche

Zahn says that many firms are still using the traditional server-based applications because they’re very ingrained with them. CT Group can offer firms different solutions and push it into a cloud-based platform with more mobility and flexibility, without having to change significantly.

The next phase that Zahn and his team is to see when accounting firms get used to the private cloud environment, and the mobility factor comes with it, it would be easier for them to move more aspects of the business to a cloud-based environment.

Digital Signature

Zahn mentions they have started promoting a digital signature platform through their hosting platform and worked with the software specialist organisation called SigniFlow. He personally feels that it’s a little ahead of the curve, especially when it talks about legislation and where the government is heading. However, he says, if we look at other countries, there are already the European standards for electronic signatures. Zahn is relatively confident that we can see those standards in the near future. Right now, there are only certain types of digital support electronic will be accepted.

In Zahn’s opinion, there are three different types of signatures. A basic electronic one, which is basically a digital image, and people can sign on behalf of someone else all the time if they have a copy of that image. The second is an advanced electronic signature. However, based on these two types of signatures, people can use some additional layers to add to the signature. There are some additional methods to authenticate the user, for when they sign, their exact location, and all other details they need to put into factor authentication.

There’re a lot of ways to manipulate electronic signatures with the first two, but it’s impossible to manipulate a real advanced and qualified electronic signature. With the whole pandemic, people started accepting those types of signatures, so the process is fast moving forward.

A Piece of Advice

Zahn says that people need risk management plans and strategies. He and his team have seen many times that accidents can happen. For companies, they need a good disaster recovery plan in place and every company needs a robust and tested risk management process.