Cullari Carrico Cpas & Advisors

Academy Securities

Published: April 10, 2017
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Academy Securities is a growing Broker/Dealer owned and operated by former military members with four locations across the United States. Given the company’s strong ties to the military, it’s no surprise they take security very seriously. According to Sadie Millard, one of the company’s administrators, it was the need to comply with the data management and security regulations put in place by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) that locked down the company’s decision to use SmartVault.

Millard’s responsibilities at Academy Securities are wide-ranging. She oversees human resources, IT, marketing, and certifications, which gives her a unique cross-functional understanding of the negative impact inefficient and non-collaborative information management was having on the company’s productivity.

Prior to coming on board with SmartVault, Academy Securities was using another cloud-based document storage platform and sharing documents using an internal file directory but this arrangement lacked the secure features and collaborative functionality that SmartVault offered. “Before we started using SmartVault our document management system was not very user-friendly. It was also expensive and, quite frankly, archaic,” Millard explained.

Given the nature of Academy Securities business, internal ease of use was just one factor that Millard needed to address when she was tasked with finding a new document storage solution. The most pressing need was to find a system that would help the B/D meet the evolving information security requirements of the SEC and FINRA. “The process we were using before didn’t meet the SEC/FINRA standards for secure storage and transmission of information,” recounted Millard. “We had to find a better solution that would keep us in compliance while also allowing us to work more collaboratively inside and outside of our company.”

With marching orders in hand, Millard did her due diligence evaluating a range of systems, but eventually she found that it was only SmartVault which could meet the company’s need for a highly secure, collaborative document management system that could meet SEC/FINRA compliance requirements. In addition, as Millard noted, “After seeing the SmartVault demonstration, I was confident that the simplicity and ease-of-use of the system would help to increase the efficiency of our workflow.”

Locking Down the Ideal Document Management System

Millard wasn’t disappointed once she made the call to implement SmartVault. The company was able to get up and running using the system quickly. “The training and support we received while making the transition was excellent,” said Millard. “SmartVault did a fantastic job in helping us get off the ground quickly and easily. We haven’t had any issues, which has been wonderful, given that some of our users have limited technological capabilities.”

Millard’s confidence in the decision to use SmartVault has only grown as the company has embraced using the system’s file sharing capabilities to improve workflow efficiency within the organization. “Being able to share a document with a link and having a shared drive for storage is so easy,” explained Millard. “The shared drive is one of my favorite features. It’s an efficient and simple way for our team to share sensitive information and collaborate on reports going to regulatory bodies. It saves us an incredible amount of time in comparison to the way we used to do it.”

“The flexibility of being able to work anytime anywhere is also key for our team,” said Millard. “Having everything we need in the cloud provides peace of mind in terms of file storage, too. I know that if I lose my computer or it is corrupted, I still have all of my work available thanks to SmartVault.”

Final Words…

With Academy Securities on a rapid growth trajectory, the company is continually upgrading its security and technology infrastructure to meet the needs of its team, its clients and its regulators. This used to be a source of concern for Millard, but now that the company is using SmartVault for its document storage, information security and collaborative workflow requirements she feels that in these areas at least, her mission is accomplished.

In fact, Academy Securities’ internal team of users are so enthusiastic about the SmartVault system that the company’s sales team is starting to use it to collaborate and exchange documents securely with their external clients as well. This is a practice that Millard expects will grow in the future.

“SmartVault is a very robust system, but it’s also user-friendly,” concluded Millard. “I feel confident that SmartVault will continue to be an ideal partner for our security and document storage needs while also helping us build our collaborative work environment for many years to come.”