Top Three Considerations for Selecting Entity Management Software: Security, Automation, and Enhancement
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In the face of increasing regulatory complexity, now more than ever organizations need a secure, automated, and scalable solution to manage entity records. Join us for our free webinar where we’ll discuss how to select the right entity management software for your organization including aspects like: security, automation, and regular enhancements. You’ll see how our award-winning system, CSC Entity ManagementSM can streamline the management of your entities and give you insider look into some of the 2018 enhancements to the platform. You’ll come away with practical tips for how to select the right platform for your needs.
- Why an entity management system is critical for effective corporate governance and compliance
- How to organize, maximize, and automate critical entity data, reports, organization charts, and other documents
- How to select the right entity management software for your organization's needs
- How to integrate seamlessly with CSC's registered agent and transactional services
Anu: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, "Top Three Considerations for Selecting Entity Management Software: Security, Automation, & Enhancements." My name is Anu Shah and I will be your moderator. Joining us today are David Jefferis and Andrea Jonaitis.
David is a senior sales engineer for Compliance and Governance Services at CSC in the Wilmington, Delaware headquarters. With CSC for over 11 years, he has significant experience providing training, implementation, and consultative services to clients of CSC Entity Management and consults with those evaluating CSC Matter Management solution.
Andrea is a sales engineer in the corporate and legal solutions group at CSC. Since joining CSC in 2017, Andrea has specialized in global subsidiary management and entity management, working with prospects to present an accurate and clear scope of services including helping subsidiaries stay in compliance as well as demonstrating CSC Entity Management. And with that, let's welcome David and Andrea.
David: Wonderful. Thank you, Anu. We're very excited to be here.
Andrea: Good morning, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us.
David: We absolutely appreciate it. And so there's quite a bit for us to cover in today's webinar. And we want to make sure that we have some time at the tail end for some Q&A. Certainly, as Anu mentioned, we can look to try to respond to some questions maybe during the presentation but we often save that kind of towards the tail end. So let's kind of, you know, jump in. And first let's cover the agenda for today's presentation. We're going to talk about what is entity management. You know, we want to make sure that everyone is really on the same page when we're using that terminology.
We'll talk a little bit about the entity management, sort of the lifecycle of an entity and how that kind of plays a role, pardon me, in the equation here. We'll talk about, as Anu mentioned, the top three considerations when looking for an entity management software solution. So we'll talk about security, automation, and kind of the roadmap enhancements, how that fits in.
And then really the exciting thing is that we're going to take a bit of a deep dive into the CSC Entity Management solution. There are a number of recent upgrades that we've launched this past year, including a feature that's ready to go live Monday. So it's a bit of a sneak preview for our audience to take a look at one of our really new exciting features around document security. And then, you know, as I noted, we certainly want to make sure there are some times for questions at the end of the presentation.
So with that, let's talk a little bit about, you know, what is entity management when we're using that term. And sometimes it can mean different things to different people. And really, I think at its core, entity management is about keeping your entities in compliance. And certainly, that can be complicated in and of itself. We're talking about international requirements, state, local, federal, if you have business licenses that adds just another layer of complexity into the equation of really maintaining compliance for your entities.
Entity management really is also, you know, what can be described as a practice or a discipline. So we're talking about managing information, documents, compliance events, and being able to report against that information for your organization. And then really where software comes into play, which is going to be certainly a focus today is having secure access to that information in real time and having oversight and transparency for individuals, certainly within your organization, but also for individuals outside of your organization as well.
One of the features that we’ll take a look at that's one of the upgrades later on is an org charting capability which really presents a unique opportunity to sort of share information with, you know, third parties like investors and auditors and such.
So with that, let's talk a little bit about why entity management matters to organizations. Why should we care? And so one of the reasons that entity management is so critical is that the regulatory framework is becoming ever more challenging and there's more scrutiny really than there's ever been in terms of maintaining compliance for companies. So going back, for example, to the financial crisis in the States around 2008 or so, certainly we've seen some changes there. For any of the members of our audience that have entities in the European part of the world, I’m sure GDPR is a series of letters that you've heard of and are maybe becoming more and more familiar with is that framework starts to come into focus. And so again, it's very complicated, and there's more scrutiny than ever before.
Also, if you take a look at sort of the bottom bullet point here, we talk about utilizing the proper software to manage entity data to lower costs. And so again, we're going to talk a lot about where the software kind of fits into the equation. And really, I kind of thought about this this morning and members of our audience may be familiar with, there's a kind of a theory called "Jobs to be done." So there's a harvest or Harvard Business professor, his last name Christensen, who’s kind of formulated and popularized this theory that people buy products and implement solutions really to get something done and to get that work done or that job done more efficiently, more effectively than they could without that solution.
And so if we sort of think about entity management from that framework, you know, what are some of the jobs that we need to perform as practitioners that are managing entities and keeping them in compliance. And there's certainly a number of things that come to mind, we need to be able to generate consents, you know, create org charts very dynamically. We need to stay on top of our compliance filings and easily have access to list of directors and officers. And so entity management software really represents an opportunity to do those jobs, so to speak, more effectively, more efficiently. And so hopefully that will kind of shine through in terms of what you'll see later.
Andrea: So you mentioned this concept, David, of jobs to be done. And so this next slide talks about the actual management of your entity lifecycle. And as you all know, it's incredibly complicated and the complexity of managing these entities in their life cycle, it just grows with the regulatory complexity that David just mentioned previously. There's so many aspects to this process and each nuance for each of these steps whether you are forming or acquiring new entities, trying to maintain your good standing of your entities, managing those changes to your portfolio to your capital or share information or your officers or directors.
The process of withdrawing or dissolving your entities and so many other changes that you have throughout your entity lifecycle. And it really goes without saying that you need to have a software or a solution that really can dynamically support your business and grow with the needs of your portfolio.
So what about international entities here? Your entity management system needs to extend not just across your U.S. portfolio, but also your global portfolio. And the corporate secretarial requirements for entities outside of the United States are very different from what we're used to here in the United States with the management of our U.S. domestic entities.
Maintaining your positive standing globally, it's really not as straightforward as just appointing a registered agent or filing reports throughout the year. There's so many differences of things that need to take place or need to happen and they're all based on jurisdictional rules or the entity types and you need to consider all of these factors. And again, a good technology solution is going to be able to provide you with a very robust and centralized repository of data and information that makes meeting those requirements much easier for our clients.
David: And so with that, and we certainly appreciate everyone, you know, for providing the responses. We do want to now get into what we feel are some of the top considerations when evaluating an entity management solution. And again, there are so many that we could potentially talk about, but we're today going to focus on sort of three top considerations: security, automation, and again, that concept of regular enhancements or roadmap.
And so Andrea and I had the pleasure of presenting to prospects who are evaluating our entity management solution. And if I were to put myself in the role of the people that we present to, quite often they’re thinking about, again, that jobs to be done. How's this going to help me in my day to day work? And security does come up but it's not always sort of top of mind at all times. That said, in the world that we're living in 2018 soon to be 2019, this is something that really should be really front and center when you're evaluating any sort of a technology solution. So we do want to talk about different ways to sort of think about security and how it plays a role in providing or selecting an entity management solution.
And so a very popular model in today's entity management software space is having an entity management solution that integrates with a registered agent. The idea is that the registered agent is able to capture quite a bit of core information about your companies. And it can flow directly into the entity management platform that you're using to manage directors, officers, and create minute books and org charts and things of that nature.
And so if you are looking to implement or have implemented a solution that has that type of integration, then you really need to sort of peel back the onion quite a bit on the registered agent who actually is providing that service to me at the end of the day.
And we're not going to talk a lot about service of process of litigation but certainly one of the core responsibilities of a registered agent is to be that front line of defense when there is SOP and to effectively receive that information and distribute it securely to the end client when there is a service of process document.
And so from just, you know, our vantage point, we know from having spoken with other organizations that there are some registered agents that really outsource that core function of processing SOP documents to non-employees of the organization to really other parts of the world that are doing this SOP processing for an organization which really introduces a lot of security concerns.
Also, there are some registrations that are really not national providers, but rather they're a very loose configuration at best of really disparate companies that have different procedures, technology, and security in place. So not really delivering a consistent product at the end of the day. And so really, the point that we're making here is that when you're evaluating the security of an entity management solution, again, if it does have that connectivity with a registered agent, you really should apply the same scrutiny to the agent and how they handle service of process and how they deliver information with, again, the scrutiny that you would apply to the entity management platform itself.
So when we talk about these entity management platforms, typically we're talking about browser-based solution. So there's a term called software as a service where you're not actually implementing a piece of software on a server that you have to maintain but instead, you're using a browser to connect to the platform in more of a secure online fashion. And so when we think about these sort of browser-based or SaaS solutions, you know, what are some of the considerations that we should have from a security standpoint?
Number one, where is my data? How is it hosted? Where is it hosted? And what are the securities and controls in place around really just a data center itself? And then certainly want to dive a little bit deeper and talk about the security of what we call the architecture, you know, the servers, the databases, and making sure that information is as secure as possible so that there are, you know, annual audits that are occurring, penetration tests that should be occurring to make sure that the information which can be incredibly sensitive is absolutely as secure as possible.
So again, so I think the first consideration is looking at sort of the data center where the information is stored. And then ultimately the infrastructure within that data center should be scrutinized as well. But then when we sort of get a little bit deeper into the entity management software itself, there's also sort of another layer of security that we really need to think about, which you'll see on the next slide. So in the tool itself, how are we controlling access within and outside of organization to the data and documents within the solution?
You absolutely want to select a platform that has what is often referred to as role-based permissions. So for example, having the ability to establish administrators who can make changes across the board and see all information, but then also certainly being able to create users that are much more limited as far as the right in the solution users that perhaps have view-only capabilities, users that maybe can't see all companies or can't see more sensitive documents, and the ability to permission in outside parties as well as needed.
And then a couple of bullets here, which we’ll actually get to when we launch into some of the demonstration later on is what we're calling folder level security and audit trail capabilities. So the ability to, again, secure and control which documents users have access to. And then when we talk about an audit trail, having that oversight as an administrative user to understand what changes are occurring in the platform. You know, is someone modifying a record? What was the before-after information? And not having to sort of guess at that but having clear oversight into changes and activity that's occurring within your entity management platform. So again, those are a couple of considerations from a security standpoint.
The next thing and this is where Andrea is going to come back into the conversation, we're going to talk about automation and really how that should be one of your top considerations for a solution.
Andrea: Great. So that another critical differentiator of the CSC's Entity Management platform is the concept of automation. As your partner, when CSC completes filings or manages obligations on your behalf, the associated data and documents are automatically updated within the technology. And that really sets us apart from some of our competitors here. The entity management application also automatically calendars your compliance and your good standing events for you based on each of your entity’s jurisdictions where you're registered to do business. And it really takes some of the pressure off of you having to be organized or having to remember or track these dates on your own.
That tracking capability should be built right into the tool that you're using in the central repository for your corporate data and information. So this resulting tracker tool is essential in keeping our clients informed and on top of their obligations. And then you can also have calendar alerting and those reminders will ensure that you never miss your critical deadlines. Your technology solution should also be able to proactively monitor each of your entities' registrations and jurisdictions and provide you with alerts.
So CSC, we have been in business since 1899. We have a wonderful relationship with the Secretary of State. And we have leveraged that relationship to connect our personal technology tool here to the Secretary of State database in each of the 50 states, Canada and the Cayman Islands. So you are able to utilize our software tool in order to see that proactive monitoring and receive those alerts via this entity management application. So you can always be confident that your entities are in good standing.
You also want to have an automated central repository for your documents and files. With this particular application, whether it's a document that's drafted on your own computer or just a scanned piece of paper, when you upload your documents in the CSC's Entity Management platform, you're going to see that the tool will automatically apply a layer of optical character recognition or OCR for short. So your documents become fully text searchable. That way the next time you need to find your documents or you're looking for that kind of needle in a haystack, if you will, you can search for a word or phrase within the contents of your documents and dramatically optimize your search procedure and reduce the time that you spend searching for documents.
You can also utilize this tool to store both internal and external ownership records. We’ll take a look at the org charting capabilities on our demonstration today, and you'll be able to see how you can automatically and dynamically generate graphic or text-based reports to see those organization charts. Just by selecting the data and the criteria that's required for your org charts and question again, you can really automate the process of creating these very robust org charts in just a matter of minutes.
And finally, you can also realize automated efficiencies for your global portfolio. We've talked a bit about your global entities. With this entity management tool, when it's paired with our global subsidiary management service that we offer, we can really centralize and automate both your work from flow for the completion of your corporate secretarial duties, as well as the capturing of the associated data and documents within the technology tool.
David: Wonderful. I mean, again, automation, I'm a big sort of proponent of this being such a critical consideration. You know, if the system can't do things for you, like notify you automatically in the change of status of a company, or help you automatically generate an org chart or find a document, you know, how's it any better than just doing things in a manual fashion? Right? So definitely, I think automation is a critical capability in these types of solutions.
David: Another important consideration, which we're now segueing into is the concept of having regular enhancements. Technology is evolving probably faster than ever. You know, something that was cutting edge five years ago is considered outdated at this point in time. And so as technology evolves, you don't want to be stuck on a platform that is not really, again, evolving based on technology and sort of the trends of the market. And so this is where we're starting to tout some of our commitment to our platform. And so CSC routinely does evolve the solution. In fact, we're getting ready to segue into demonstration that highlights some of the newer capabilities within the solution.
And ultimately, what that roadmap from the vendor really provides insight into where are they taking this? Again, not only what can you do today, but what can you do tomorrow? What can it do a year from now? And so as you evaluate a technology platform, I think it's a fair question to ask the vendor, "What have you developed in the last 6 to 12 months? What's on your roadmap for the next 6 to 12 months?" And just get a sense that there is a commitment from that vendor to the future of that solution. So you're not stuck in a platform that is ultimately not changing or evolving.
And so with that, I think what we're going to do now is talk in some specific detail about some of the enhancements that CSC has launched over the last year, really, within for the most part, the last six to nine months. We've been very busy.
Andrea: It’s been very exciting.
David: Absolutely. And so the normal cadence, if you will, is we often launch new features every three to four months. So usually there's three to four upgrades per year. And when I say upgrades, we refer to an upgrade as a release when we're rolling out new features. And in some cases, a release may have a single feature but that's actually kind of the exception to the rule. It's much more common that when we do one of these release upgrades, there are multiple capabilities to become available to our customers. Because we do take that browser-based approach, when we launch new capabilities, our clients automatically get access to those new features, which is really exciting.
You're not in a situation where you're somehow falling behind, not on the latest version of the system, nor do we play the game, so to speak, of having different packages. There's not a situation where, "Oh, well, you're on the bronze package. And if you want that new feature, you need to be on the gold package." All of our clients get all the functionality dynamically with the way that we roll out our capabilities. And so the timeline that you're seeing here is from this past year and so we have made a number of improvements to our org charting capabilities to complement what was already a very powerful aspect of the platform.
We've made some enhancements around reporting, around audited changes within the solution. And then there are some very exciting changes around document management, including Drag and Drop, which I'm excited to show and then Folder Level Security, which, in fact, is that sort of sneak preview. This is a feature that we're getting ready to launch broadly to our user community this coming Monday, but we're giving you a chance to kind of see a sneak preview of that new feature today.