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WealthForge Strengthens Trustworthy Communications and SEC Compliance with Virtru


“Our transport is materially better than it was. Our costs are materially better. We have trust... And it was frictionless with Virtru. It was honestly above and beyond. This is operational excellence at its peak."

Karl Jankowski

Information Security and Privacy Manager

WealthForge provides technology solutions developed by regulatory experts to help investors confidently invest in alternative securities. As a managing broker-dealer, WealthForge connects businesses across the investment process: Sponsors, advisors, transfer agents, and other participants.

This organization delivers powerful technology to enable smarter and more accessible investment in alternative securities — and in its role, it is trusted to manage and relay sensitive financial information in a way that remains compliant with financial industry regulations. That’s where Virtru comes in. 

With Virtru, WealthForge: 

  • Ensures important communications are delivered securely and seamlessly to clients via email
  • Can decrypt and archive secure communications in plaintext for SEC compliance and reporting, without impacting the user experience
  • Saved thousands of dollars over its previous encryption solution, meanwhile improving confidentiality, availability, and integrity of data.

Raising the Bar for Secure, Trustworthy Email 

When Karl Jankowski joined WealthForge Holdings, Inc. as Information Security and Privacy Manager, he began by assessing the organization’s technology landscape. And he noticed something small, but vitally important. 

“There were a strange amount of complaints about undeliverable messages,” Jankowski said. “Nothing to do with encryption, nothing like that. And it wasn't a lot. I mean, we're talking a handful. But I thought it was a handful too many.” 

“So, I started trying to understand what it was, because technically, it was showing as a ‘good delivery.’” But it’s going to the recipient’s junk folder. My approach is, ‘We’re a reputable company, and this is not okay. They need to see our messages.’”  

After a lot of digging, Jankowski discovered the issue: WealthForge’s former encryption vendor was not supporting a common, modern mail workflow. “Companies put mail protection technologies out that scrutinize mail coming in, and one of the technologies involved is email security and filtering,” Jankowski explained. “Some of these tools, like Barracuda, have a little checkbox that says, ‘If it’s unsigned, throw it out.’ And a lot of companies started using that.” Jankowski was able to replicate the issue and brought it to the vendor, who was unable to fix the issue. So, he started looking for other options, which led him to Virtru. 

Encryption Is Easy. Decryption Is Hard.

As Jankowski explored his options for WealthForge’s next email encryption vendor, he had one essential requirement in mind: The ability to decrypt and archive secure emails for SEC compliance

“Our compliance program requires us to not only have encryption technology in place to protect confidential information, but also archiving technology under SEC 17-a4 to preserve records. It requires that we archive everything in plaintext, including encrypted messages. And in order for that to work, a vendor was brought in to facilitate that. So, with Virtru, it’s not the encryption, it's actually the decryption that I really needed.”

WealthForge needed a comprehensive solution for secure email exchange that would support compliance without sacrificing on the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of data — three core pillars that Jankowski is committed to. He landed on Virtru’s Data Protection Gateway and Virtru for Gmail, providing both client-side and server-side encryption capabilities to cover his entire team. Because the Virtru Data Protection Gateway can be configured for inbound and outbound encryption and decryption, Jankowski set it up to decrypt plaintext versions of email for archiving, then re-encrypt it to securely deliver the mail to its intended destination.  

Virtru was also more affordable than WealthForge’s previous solution, which helped him balance email encryption with his other cybersecurity priorities. “I was looking for cost savings, and it worked out in my favor that Virtru was significantly more affordable than we had in place before. So, I could couple the reasoning and the logic with saving a few grand, and that made it a lot easier.”

Advice for InfoSec Leaders in Financial Services

Based on his own experience setting up the Virtru Data Protection Gateway, Jankowski thought other information security leaders would likely be in a similar position, which is why he took initiative to create a set of videos walking through the Gateway setup process

Jankowski summarizes the results from the project in his overview: “From the business standpoint, mail is delivered with sender reputation intact. Financially, the move saved money. The existing solution was about twice as expensive as Virtru. Technically, major leap forward for mail deliverability and overall resiliency since the entire setup is well understood and under proactive management. In other words, 50% savings in costs, substantial (and in some cases infinite) improvements in support and troubleshooting capability, and 100% delivery rate up.”

Virtru: A True Partner in a Sea of SaaS Vendors

Virtru changed the game for WealthForge: “Our transport is materially better than it was. Our costs are materially better. We have trust.” 

“I was really impressed with the company culture and what you guys do to help a customer get on board,” Jankowski said. “It's not like anybody else. It's an entirely different thing. You guys really excel at not doing the things everybody else does: Nothing gets lost, everything's prompt. Everything is actually faster than I would ever expected to be, with way more detail than I would ever expected to be. I'm really impressed.”

“I'm dealing with vendors all the time,” Jankowski added. “So, I'm really careful to make sure that I get what I expect. I kind of want you to put yourself in my shoes, empathize with my team, while getting what I want. And it was frictionless with Virtru. It was honestly above and beyond. This is operational excellence at its peak, and you all just nail it.”