Frequently Asked Questions

GNS provides managed IT services for companies of all types and sizes. These organizations can outsource some or all of their technology needs to GNS, including desktop support, email, Office 365 support, cybersecurity, networking, AWS and Azure cloud computing, database administration, and disaster recovery. GNS also offers specialized operational support, such as data ETL for investment management firms

The GNS service plan is customized to a client's needs. Some clients who have no in-house technology staff outsource their entire IT infrastructure to GNS, and in these cases, GNS provides a complete managed IT solution, including end-user support, cybersecurity, virtual CISO services, application support, and server management. Other clients use GNS to augment their staff for specialized services, such as public cloud migrations, private cloud hosting, file transfer services, dba support, and Cisco networking support.

Data backup and disaster recovery, along with rigorous cybersecurity practices, are a key aspect of any GNS managed service or hosting engagement. Every part of a client's environment is protected by a disaster recovery plan, as well as an archival backup process. Disaster recovery refers to the ability to fail over from a primary usage to a backup due to a systems or environmental event. Archival backup is used to recover lost or deleted files, or to recover a previous version of a file from some time in the past. The exact mechanism used for data backup and disaster recovery varies across our services, including, private cloud hosting, public cloud hosting, desktop management, Sharepoint, and client owned servers.

While both Office 365 and Google Workspaces (formerly Google Suite) provide a comprehensive solution for email, file sharing, collaboration, calendar management, online meetings, and office applications, most GNS clients rely on Office 365. Office 365 is a more comprehensive and powerful solution, and it includes powerful desktop applications like Outlook for email, MS Word, and MS Excel. GNS generally recommends that our clients adopt Office 365 if they are deploying desktop or laptop computers. Since it is entirely cloud based, Google Workspaces are more appropriate for clients who do their work inside of a web browser. GNS has great expertise in both systems, and has many clients that use components of both systems at the same time. For example; Office 365 can be leveraged for email, Sharepoint for file sharing, and Teams for meetings, but Google Calendar may be more suitable for calendar management, and either Google Docs and Sheets for collaboration purposes.

GNS provides IT support for hedge funds and fund managed IT services for over 100 clients in all major financial markets, including but not limited to, New York City, Connecticut, San Francisco, Chicago, South Florida, Dallas, and London. Financial service clients (hedge funds and asset managers), are very demanding and have complex reliability, cybersecurity, and disaster recovery needs. They often need to host complicated databases, using both public and private cloud computing resources, in addition to needing standard desktop and end user support. GNS is practiced and proficient in administering the trading, security, and application management needs of these clients.

GNS has been a certified hosting and systems management partner of SS&C and Advent software since 2009, and has extensive experience hosting the entire SS&C product suite in our client's environments, the GNS private cloud, and both AWS and Azure public clouds. GNS has many clients running Advent and SS&C products, including Geneva, APX, Axys, Eze OMS, Moxy and Recon.

Cloud computing refers to running systems and applications outside of a client's facilities. With the GNS private cloud, GNS owns the infrastructure, which consists of firewalls, routers, network switches, servers, virtual machines, and operating systems software. With the AWS and Azure public cloud, all the infrastructure is owned by Amazon (AWS) or Microsoft (Azure). A hybrid cloud is where some of the infrastructure is in the GNS private cloud, and some resides in the AWS or Azure public cloud. GNS owns a private cloud, provides service in the public cloud, and also implements a hybrid cloud.

FileXfer is a file transfer service operated by GNS that transmits files between clients and their business partners. Most investment management firms manage data files related to their trading activities that they need to exchange with business partners. Typically this file transfer process is handled through scripts or software installed on the client's servers, but GNS' FileXfer service does not require any software to be installed or run on the client systems. Instead, file movement is managed by software that is run from, and maintained by, GNS in a central location. The FileXfer service includes custom monitoring and corrective actions for any missing files by the GNS team. Users can check the status of all transfers and resend requests from a GUI dashboard available over the Internet.

IT security and cybersecurity are the most important aspect of any organization's computer infrastructure. GNS takes complete responsibility for the IT security/cybersecurity needs of all GNS clients. The full package includes secure hardware, consisting of routers and firewalls that block malicious attacks, as well as advanced software tools that perform functions like intrusion detection. Specialty providers are often leveraged for things like secure DNS services. The staff of all GNS clients are automatically enrolled in a security training program that helps users detect and prevent cyber attacks. A CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) is the person responsible for all IT security and cybersecurity functions at a firm. GNS also provides virtual CISO services where our in-house experts can manage the IT security and cybersecurity aspects of any client's environment.

GNS offers a comprehensive implementation and management of services for the AWS and Azure public cloud. Typically, GNS will conduct a public cloud migration to move a client's environment into the public cloud, or we will build-up a new environment from scratch. This process involves building the virtual network infrastructure, followed by the actual servers, and then the operating systems, databases and other supporting software. Once the environment is built, GNS installs custom monitoring and management tools, and provides 24x7x365 monitoring and management of the environment on a daily basis.

One of the most complex aspects of running systems in the public cloud is the billing and cost management aspect of AWS and Azure clouds. The total cost of a public cloud implementation consists of a large number of line items that can be complex to understand and hard to manage. GNS is an expert in the management of public cloud costs, and will work to minimize monthly billing. We also continually monitor costs to ensure our clients receive good value from their environments.

GNS takes complete responsibility for the security of client environments that are hosted in the AWS and Azure public clouds. We include security as a key component in the original design of the cloud environment. The most up to date cyber security features are included in all implementations. Both AWS and Azure have extensive tool sets and capabilities to maintain and monitor the security of systems in their cloud environments, and GNS is an expert in the use of all of them.

GNS takes complete responsibility for a client's migration to the private cloud, public cloud, or a hybrid cloud. The first step is a detailed scoping exercise to determine which cloud environment(s) are the best fit for a client's needs. When working with the client, GNS plans and designs the new cloud environment. Once the planning stage is complete, GNS implements the new environment and copies all user data into it. Typically, clients run the new cloud based systems in parallel with their existing systems for a short period of time before cutting over to the cloud.

GNS provides comprehensive support for ETL processing for our financial service clients. Most financial services clients have ETL requirements as part of their daily process flow, where data must be exchanged with other systems either inside their firm or with outside business partners. GNS builds the necessary custom conversion systems to manage the transformation of data and the loading of data into the target system. GNS provides ETL as a service, whereby the software and supporting databases for the ETL processing reside at GNS facilities and are managed by GNS staff. There is no software to install or configure at the client site. GNS also takes full responsibility for the ETL file processing, and investigates and corrects any issues that are detected during the process.

GNS has extensive experience supporting all types of virtual desktop environments for our clients. Clients who need virtual desktop support in the GNS private cloud rely on Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDS) services, VMware Horizion, or Citrix. For clients running in AWS public cloud, GNS supports AWS Workspaces. For clients running in the Azure public cloud, GNS supports Azure Virtual Desktops. The exact solution depends on the client's needs, the geographic distribution of the users, and the backend systems that need to be accessed. GNS is well versed in these platforms and will work with the client to select the most appropriate solution.