Agility and focus in a new virtual world

Stephen Morrow, Options

Options: Best Cloud Services Provider – The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted financial firm vulnerabilities, as changes in the way people work have led to an increased awareness of cybersecurity and a keen focus on the best tools to facilitate remote working. Private Equity Wire spoke with Options, Microsoft Gold Partner and recent winner of Private Equity Wire US Award “Best Cloud Services Provider” around agility in the virtual climate. 

Stevie Morrow, COO at Options comments on firm integration in a virtual world: “Two tools stood out – Microsoft 365 and Citrix Workspace – we relied on these to make sure that we could move swiftly to remote working. We had already moved to these tools in 2019 and knew we had to flip to fully WFH footing in early February to stay ahead of our client demand. Citrix and Microsoft 365 have made our remote working and supporting our clients much easier, collectively we have been able to stay in touch, collaborate and remain productive.”

He underscores how these remote working tools have been critical to the cyber-security dimension which has taken on increased importance in the current environment: “We see ourselves as a bridge between the private and public cloud and all the experience we’ve had in building and managing a private cloud can be transferred to the public cloud. We overlay a lot of the management, automation and security to provide the same level of protection for people working remotely.”

Michael Russo, VP of managed applications at Options outlines the importance of being agile: “The ability to be fleet-footed and to look for a provider who can do that is imperative. If it wasn’t already critical before the pandemic, recent, global events have really highlighted the importance of having a strong team behind you.”

As more firms move away from on-premise solutions, Russo notes: “Companies are exploring the hybrid and public side with outsourced management versus going with your traditional on-premise mode and/or on-premise teams.

“There are companies that have fairly robust IT teams. However, many simply do not have the appetite to either ramp up or expand them. The trend we’ve seen is moving away from the traditional on-premise models and investing in the “as a service” model. The fact Options’ managed services are fully SLA backed also yields an attractive, value-add difference when compared to the traditional on prem model.”

Discussing current trends, Morrow says: “We’ve seen a real growth in the banking world to outsource technology and relying on external vendors. That creates challenges and difficulties for banks. We enable them to consolidate a lot of those technology endpoints into one vendor. We are able to do this at scale by leveraging our expertise in the cloud and automation – our auto-NOC and auto-SOC are game changers in enabling us to identify, report and often resolve operational and security incidents in real-time across millions of events.”

According to Russo, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is due to become more diverse: “It won’t be the all or nothing model we’ve seen in the past where you have your traditional IaaS, platform as a service (PaaS) and SaaS.

“There’ll be a bigger marketplace for the, “as a service” offerings as a whole, allowing companies to have greater flexibility than ever before, where they don’t potentially have to choose one.” 


Michael Russo
VP, Managed Applications, Options

Michael Russo is responsible for the development of Options’ Managed Application services, cloud offering, security and the overall delivery of the firm’s product roadmap. Michael brings nearly two decades of industry experience to Options from Finastra and OpenLink Financial, where he oversaw global business development and growth of the firm’s burgeoning cloud-based solutions. He was a key contributor and leader in the expansion and development of the firm’s cloud strategy, market analysis, business development, and overall service delivery.

Stephen Morrow
COO, Options

Stephen Morrow is Options’ COO and is responsible for overseeing the firm’s key strategic accounts and global operations. Stephen was previously Vice President of the Exchange Solutions division at NYSE Technologies, NYSE Euronext’s commercial technology division. Previous to this, he held the position of Managing Director for the Exchange Solutions division at NYSE, focusing on product management and international deployment. Prior to joining NYSE, Stephen was Director of Exchange Solutions at Wombat Financial Software.

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