As a strategic partner for some of the world’s most sophisticated global institutional investors—such as central banks, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and foundations—Bridgewater Associates has long been a leader in the world of alternative asset management. The firm has achieved success through a tireless drive to understand macroeconomic trends in global economies and markets. Bridgewater uses this research to develop trading and portfolio construction strategies for its clients.
The executives who develop Bridgewater’s investment strategies rely on research shared securely through Microsoft OneDrive, whether the information is in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. In the past, these documents were secured by keeping everything behind corporate firewalls with rigid restrictions on employees’ ability to bring their own devices or work remotely—a constraint that hindered collaboration and made accessing information difficult for employees who were traveling or working from home. The need to support an increasingly mobile workforce, share data with partners and vendors, and access data in the cloud compelled Bridgewater to reevaluate its security perimeter. “We developed a vision to improve productivity and collaboration and deliver comprehensive mobile access, but to achieve this goal, we needed to overhaul our technology,” says Anthony Golia, Head of Productivity and Endpoint Engineering at Bridgewater Associates.
Building a bridge to Zero Trust
Bridgewater began collaborating with Microsoft to create a Zero Trust security framework using Microsoft 365 to deliver seamless access to documents, email, and data for employees while still maintaining stringent security standards. Delivering secure remote access through the Zero Trust framework enables Bridgewater to collaborate from anywhere, providing the agility it needs to meet the demanding standards of its clients. The Zero Trust model assumes breach and verifies each request as though it originates from an open network, instead of assuming everything behind the corporate firewall is safe. With more granular security controls in place, Bridgewater could open access to its systems for employees using unsecured networks, such as hotels, home offices, and airports, rather than keeping everything behind firewalls. “Since implementing a Zero Trust strategy using Microsoft 365 technologies, our employees can fulfill their company duties from anywhere in the world while maintaining tight control over core security needs,” says Igor Tsyganskiy, Chief Technology Officer at Bridgewater Associates. “This has been extremely valuable now that all of our company is working from home due to COVID-19. Everyone is working from an insecure environment today, and with our Zero Trust strategy in place, we are confident we can keep our data safe.”
The impact of these changes reaches all the way to the top of the organization. Greg Jensen, co-Chief Investment Officer at Bridgewater, explains, “Because we collaborated with Microsoft to improve our security controls, I can access my files on OneDrive as if I was in the office. When we went to the World Economic Forum meetings at Davos this year, I accessed my files from my iPad just like I would in the office, so my team could continue to adjust the presentations throughout the conference. In the past, we wouldn’t have allowed this kind of access from a public location, making that collaboration more difficult.”