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The Colony Group Unifies Financial and Private Data with Egnyte to Enable Secure and Efficient Collaboration

The RIA migrated data from many isolated sources into one environment. Now they’re working in sync and serving clients better.

Benefits of Breaking Down Wealth Management Data Silos:

  • Simple intuitive collaboration and file access
  • Streamlined regulatory reporting
  • Stronger protection of sensitive financial data
Ashley Ayala
“Egnyte was disruption free, which made user adoption so much smoother. I even had someone tell me 'I don't use Egnyte,' not realizing she was using it every day.”
Ashley Ayala
IT Project Manager • The Colony Group

As one of the largest independent registered investment advisors in the United States, The Colony Group manages enormous amounts and types of financial and other non-public personal information. “Our services encompass wealth management, investment management, tax compliance, business management, financial dispute resolution, and beyond,” explains Evan Cohen, Director, Information Technology.

Using Egnyte, Cohen’s team migrated a wealth of sensitive financial and personal information from 21 separate offices into one consolidated environment, streamlining collaboration and file access workflows and strengthening trust across its user base. All the while, Egnyte’s content management platform offered unparalleled ease of use, making user adoption a breeze for the whole team.

Challenge: Siloed Data Slows Collaboration—and Client Services

The Colony Group consists of numerous teams dispersed across the country, previously using various systems to house and manage files. This system disparity often came from mergers, who join with the firm with legacy systems in tow. “The result was content management workflows that spanned Office 365, Laserfiche, other document management systems, Word documents, file cabinets, and more,” explains Cohen. “Teams kept their data siloed on their own systems and their own work areas because it was necessary to avoid disruption to client service, but that causes problems when you have multiple teams trying to work together as one company.”

This disconnected environment produced challenges for Cohen and his IT team on multiple fronts:

  • Locating and collaborating on files
    Finding and sharing content required rifling through an expansive roster of content management systems. If you were not familiar with the technology at issue, it was a needle-in-a-haystack process that caused unnecessary delays. If teams needed to collaborate on a topic or client need, the lack of common access to common resources was a deterrent that the firm needed to eliminate
  • Content governance
    To satisfy clients — as well as regulators — firms like The Colony Group need to know where sensitive content is located, and who has access to it, at all times. “High-profile individuals like celebrities and athletes hire us to transact on their behalf, from paying bills to making discretionary investment decisions,” says Cohen. “These and all of our clients need to trust that we have everything under control.”

It soon became clear that more efficient collaboration and data governance would require unifying their content into one centralized environment. “Whether it’s client data or research we’ve conducted on investment funds,” Cohen says. “We wanted to get it from one place—not 40.”

Solution: One Source of Truth for All Sensitive Data

The team brought in Egnyte to serve as a centralized environment for storing, accessing, and sharing data. Ashley Ayala, IT Project Manager at The Colony Group, helped with the discovery, planning, and implementation.

“Training folks on Egnyte was incredibly easy because the system appears on team members’ devices as the same kind of folder structure they’re already accustomed to using,” Ayala explains. “It was disruption-free, which made user adoption so much smoother. I even had someone tell me ‘I don’t use Egnyte,’ not realizing she was using it every day.”

“The migration process was great as well,” adds Cohen. “It was really easy to import data from our legacy systems into our preferred folder structure in Egnyte.”

Once the team had completed the migration, Egnyte made it easier to find, collaborate on, and control access to content through features including:

  • Sensitive content discovery and classification
    The team was able to classify information based on its level of sensitivity and search for files of various classifications—all within Egnyte. This helped with locating files, conducting reports, and maintaining visibility into where content is stored. Cohen offers an example: “When we make trades, securities are assigned unique identifiers called SEDOLs, which regulators require us to report on. Previously, paperwork containing SEDOLs could be stored in a dozen different systems. Now they’re all in Egnyte. We can do a quick sensitive content search for a particular SEDOL and export the results to our Compliance team in a nice package, which gives them a huge head start on recording, testing, and reporting on those numbers.”
  • Viewing and controlling file access
    As geographically dispersed teams viewed and exchanged different files with different levels of sensitivity, the Compliance team needed assurance that file access is only available to the proper stakeholders. “With Egnyte, all it took was one quick audit to see what files have been shared, when, and by whom. And it was easy to grant and revoke file access as needed,” explains Cohen.
  • Salesforce integration
    Egnyte’s smooth integration with Salesforce facilitated easy access to client-related files from both platforms. This yielded major dividends in client engagement. “Egnyte’s Salesforce integration is years ahead of the competition,” Cohen says. “When our Wealth Management team is servicing a client, they can pull up any and all material related to that client relationship, in real time, without leaving the Salesforce interface where they’re most comfortable. That leads to faster, more confident client services.”
Evan Cohen
“With Egnyte, all it took was one quick audit to see what files have been shared, when, and by whom. And it was easy to grant and revoke file access as needed.”
Evan Cohen
Director, Information Technology • The Colony Group

Benefits: Easier Collaboration and a More Agile Business

Like many financial services firms, The Colony Group consists largely of industry veterans whose expertise lies less in technology than in areas specific to wealth management. As such, to ensure a smooth transition from the company’s legacy systems to Egnyte’s unified solution, it was essential that Egnyte offer an easy and intuitive workflow.

Here, Egnyte has exceeded expectations. “We’ve completed one merger since implementing Egnyte,” says Ayala. “The system was so easy to use that within just a few hours, the team from the merger firm was operating just as fluently as they previously were.”

Team members in any geography now have access to the same centralized content management system, where they can access files through a quick search and share them via secure links in just a few clicks. And Egnyte’s granular access permissions functionality provides confidence that files won’t fall into the wrong hands.

The impact on The Colony Group has been tremendous. “Egnyte has made it easy to consolidate, organize, protect, and collaborate on data so that we can make our company more agile, better trained, and able to level-up our services to our clients,” Cohen says. “We can now focus on new acquisitions and strengthening our tech stack with next-generation technology, including some new Egnyte features.”

The Colony Group’s implementation of Egnyte is still recent, and their momentum is strong. “The number of team members managing and collaborating on content through Egnyte, instead of email or legacy software, continues to grow,” says Cohen. “We’re full speed ahead.”

At a Glance

Wealth Management

Location (HQ)

Boston, MA

Total Employees


Egnyte Product

Platform Enterprise

Learn More

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