Bobby Singh – TMX Group
It doesn’t seem that long ago when technology first piqued the interest of Bobby Singh.
“I remember when I was in my late teens and realizing that I could build my own PC,” he recalls during a conversation with Toggle this past June. “It was a milestone for me.”
But the India-born and U.S.-raised Singh never envisioned where those interests would take him. Today he is chief information security officer and head of infrastructure with TMX Group, recognized by many as the owner of Toronto Stock Exchange, central to the Canadian capital markets and supporting a diverse range of national and international listed companies, issuers and investors.
The company’s subsidiaries operate cash and derivative markets and clearinghouses for multiple asset classes, including equities and fixed income. Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TSX Alpha Exchange, The Canadian Depository for Securities, Montréal Exchange, Canadian Derivatives Clearing Corporation, Trayport and other TMX Group companies provide listing markets, trading markets, clearing facilities, depository services, technology solutions, data products and other services to the global financial community.
Headquartered in Toronto, it operates offices across North America (Montréal, Calgary, Vancouver and New York), as well as in key international markets including London, Beijing and Singapore.
Security starts at home
At the core of TMX is the Information Security team, focused on keeping the technology ecosystem running smoothly and securely, with IT aptitude being indispensable to data confidentiality, accessibility and integrity.
“As a client-focused organization, data privacy is something we are constantly aware of,” Singh says. “Everything we do from a business strategy perspective involves protecting customer data. We have to manage the trust our clients have placed in us. It’s woven in the fabric of our organization.”
Employee knowledge and awareness is vital.
“Our overall goal is to make security personal,” Singh told a RiskSec Toronto conference earlier this year. “The intention is to get users to understand how to protect corporate data as they protect their financial data in their personal life.”
When TMX employees take such precautions with their own online activities, it becomes part of their modus operandi. They are, Singh reminds, links in a virtual chain, the integrity of which cannot be compromised.
Anyone who pays attention to the news knows of the prevalence of hacking and phishing schemes, along with other forms of malicious activity. Yet that can’t make users IT-phobic.
“You can’t be afraid,” reminds Singh, who works closely with TMX’s chief technology and operations officer, Jay Rajarathinam. “You need to be prepared and ready to act.”
Keeping pace with emerging technologies is also central to the Information Technology and Security group.
A few years ago, TMX Group made a significant shift in both culture and process to be a technology-driven solutions provider that puts clients first.
With technology practices spread over multiple data centers in Canada, one of the first tasks was to build a foundation of capabilities that would ensure consistent, reliable and cost-effective delivery of services across all facilities. Unlocking business value was essential, but three challenges had to be overcome first:
- finding and retaining the most qualified resources,
- selecting and deploying the best of breed technologies,
- enabling a new agile workplace.
Focusing on the most doable tasks rather than risking unforeseen complexities, Singh and Rajarathinam built a centralized team of technology professionals who focused on business goals, fast adapting to new principles within different groups of the organization and creating teams that could efficiently meet the needs of clientele. He says this resulted in a “win-win” for TMX, as employee engagement also increased.
Among other changes, the adoption of cloud-based technology led to new IT organizational design and architecture, introducing the means that delivered automation and faster delivery for customer-centric solution opportunities throughout TMX’s digital transformation.
Additional shifts in traditional IT workflow included cloud-based capabilities that now support the TMX tech vision to be faster, nimble and customer-centric.
The role of information security also evolved, with Singh overseeing its integration with IT.
“The synergies achieved by integrating cybersecurity and technology teams led to better adaption of security practices and discipline,” explains Singh. “We quickly learned to appreciate each other’s needs and challenges, sharing ideas and solutions which led to enhanced delivery of secure technology for our business partners. Better still, it presented a new operational framework, improved metrics and best practices for our teams.”
On the cybersecurity front, Singh initiated a program that closely aligned with National Institute of Security Technology (NIST) and International Standards Organization (ISO) standards. Working closely with industry groups and associations, he troubleshoots threat intelligence and implements best practices.
By seeking opportunities to outsource some areas of specialized services, TMX was able to build an advanced security program that met regulatory requirements, managed risks within the boundaries set by corporate risk policies and helped push business objectives forward.
Cybersecurity has moved from a back office function to a role that is seen as business-focused and collaborative.
As to what’s next for TMX Group, Singh says that for the next two years it will focus on maturing cloud security capabilities and nurturing new agile workspaces.
“The availability of new technologies combined with the use of agile principles is a formula that will enable TMX to continue to meet its commitment to its clients and its vision,” says Singh.
“Staying attuned to the needs of the market is critical, as is embracing technology solutions and security intelligence that better service clients. We are working collectively to unlock growth and opportunity for Canada’s innovative economy and capital markets while nurturing investor confidence and ensuring market integrity—fueling what’s next.”
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