How Secure Are Your FIX Specifications?

Current Perspectives

The background to this is that we conducted some market research in December 2020 in which we asked people how they distribute their FIX specifications today. We found that 51% of respondents said that they

Scoring Distribution Approaches

These themes give a useful framework to evaluate and compare the three distribution mechanisms considered (email, post on a website and portal).

Email Distribution

Our questionnaire found that this was the most common mechanism, and I like to refer to it as the “pinky swear” method as it essentially entails sending an email to someone and asking them to pinky swear not to do anything malicious with it. What is peculiar about this scenario, is that often they barely know the person they are emailing (the spec is one of the first documents exchanged), and therefore there isn’t the level of trust yet.

Website Distribution

So what about putting the document on your website? Well, I should first note that this option is not available to everybody. Many brokers would not even consider this route, as they may fear that proprietary intellectual property might become visible to their competitors. In other words, they have such a high demand for “security” that the idea of posting it publicly is an anathema to them.

Secure Portal Distribution

Of course, there are lots of different ways in which a secure portal can be organised which will influence its score against these criteria. The secure portal we described in our market research was a new cloud-based “app” due to be released by FixSpec in June 2021. It is a centralised portal capable of privately sharing specifications from multiple firms. It’s not a public library that anybody can search, but instead a many-to-many service designed for precisely this purpose.

Summing It Up

There are two key messages that I want to leave you with today.

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