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What's In My Wealthstack
Mike Esson Plancorp
Plancorp Chief Information Security Officer Mike Esson

Plancorp: Dipping A Toe In The AI Waters, With An Eye On Cybersecurity

Mike Esson, chief information security officer of $6 billion AUM Plancorp, seeks an edge through the latest technology but always weighs it against data security.

CRM: Salesforce Financial Services Cloud

We’ve made some big strides in creating efficiencies for our wealth managers through Salesforce. I oversee that and lead the tech team, pushing through initiatives. It’s allowing our users to cut back on all the tasks and mundane activities. We’re trying to get as much automation as possible, so nothing falls through the cracks. It’s allowing them to focus on what they need to focus on, which is growing the firm, meeting new prospects, networking and, ultimately, bringing in new clients.

We’ve been using Salesforce for close to 10 years. We’ve been using Salesforce Enterprise Edition before we switched to Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.

Before that, we were using Salentica [an RIA-specific third-party overlay for Dynamics].

Before that, we were using GoldMine CRM. That was way back. That’s what we were using when I first started here. The output was outdated and archaic. It was dependent on manual data entry. So was Salentica.

Cybersecurity: Office Protect/SentinelOne/Huntress

whats-in-my-wealthstack1.jpgHere at PlanCorp we have the backing of the leadership team and board of directors who understand the importance of cybersecurity and technology.

In February 2023, we augmented our current cybersecurity program. We felt good about it, but it had been a couple of years since we vetted and updated it. We kept it in mind that our main objectives were to meet compliance and regulatory needs. Protecting client and PlanCorp data alike. We need to report on, manage and monitor it, especially from a client’s perspective.

Office Protect is a restore and backup for Office365. It sends all sorts of alerts.

We implemented a next-generation antivirus solution through Sentinel One, combatting zero-day viruses.

We also implemented Huntress for monitoring.

Trading & Rebalancing: Eclipse by Orion

We migrated to Orion about three years ago and implemented their Eclipse trading platform about a year and a half ago. Before that, we used Envestnet | Tamarac. And before that, we used Schwab’s PortfolioCenter.

Marketing: Hubspot

We can now run clean marketing drip campaigns via Hubspot. We’ve gotten to a point where it’s a few clicks of a button. We don’t need to get the team members to go and review with their clients to make sure those are correct. We did a data hygiene project earlier this year which helped us move to and get Hubspot working almost on a completely automated basis for our digital marketing campaigns.

Online Collaboration: Webex by Cisco

mike-esson-card.jpgEverything is cloud-based now. With COVID, we successfully got everybody home within a week. We did a test run. I got the trading team home successfully. The CEO and president said, “Can you get everybody home by the end of the week?” We were using Webex by Cisco and we were still hiring new employees and onboarding them remotely successfully. We’d go through dry runs with disaster recovery scenarios where we were able to do that quickly.

AI Assistant: Box AI

Everybody and their grandma are coming out with the latest AI integration into their applications. The large language models like ChatGPT present challenges that have never been confronted. We’re interested. We’re looking into it. We’re scoping it out. It’s a careful approach. Being the CISO here, my number one concern, “Where is the data going? Who can see it? How can it be protected?”

I was looking hard at Copilot for Microsoft 365. We were trying to get in the beta test environment. That fell through. We were trying to get a custom E3 or E5 license. The trial is free. But Microsoft wasn’t forthcoming or transparent on the cost or requirements.

We’re exploring other avenues. I like what Box AI has going on. We’re on their beta trial. We’re just getting started. They’ve got a lot of cool things that I was hoping to use for Copilot that I think I can use in Box.

With AI, we’ve got to crawl before we walk and walk before we run. We’re looking for areas where we can dip a toe in, test the water and make sure it's secure, with minimal exposure where it’s creating all kinds of efficiencies for our team.

As told to reporter Rob Burgess and edited for length and clarity. The views and opinions are not representative of the views of

Want to tell us what's in your wealthstack? Contact Rob Burgess at [email protected].

TAGS: WealthStack
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