To successfully execute on complex trading strategies and to stay in compliance, a firm must know the exact time that events happen, such as ticks, trades and computed correlations.
If a time stamp is off, it could be the difference between a successful trade and a debilitating business challenge.
For the last four years, FSMLabs has provided financial trading firms with software and hardware for high-precision time synchronisation and distribution to prevent intentional and accidental time errors, manage compliance, and guard against malicious attacks. However, a large number of financial firms still do not recognise how easily time can be compromised.
For financial institutions, time synchronisation is imperative to providing an audit trail, staying profitable, and protecting against cyber crimes. Typically, reference time comes from GPS satellites. Yet, the networks in which the time is distributed and the computer systems that receive it are not instantaneous and can introduce delays that can cripple trading. In addition, a human error, such as a harmless misconfiguration or a deliberate sabotage like GPS spoofing, can lose, corrupt, or radically delay time data, causing trading algorithms to misfire and compromising the audit trail of trades.
“The lack of industry knowledge about just how easily time distribution can be broken still surprises me,” says Victor Yodaiken, chief executive, FSMLabs. “Organisations are either throwing a lot of money at ‘solutions’ that are not created for the enterprise, or they are simply unaware of the issue. It is critical that financial organisations take time synchronisation seriously. With the threat of cyber attacks on GPS radio signals, combined with inevitable human error, and increasing regulatory demands, organisations need a time synchronisation solution that will keep them out of the headlines and ensure they remain in good standing and profitable.”
FSMLabs’ TimeKeeper software and hardware suite is specifically designed for financial institutions to protect against all types of time errors. The end-to-end solution uses multiple GPS sources connected to different antennas and network-time feeds to ensure time synchronisation, monitoring, and management. TimeKeeper detects even subtle changes to time sources and rapidly switches to alternative sources.