Can you confidently tell your clients that their information is secure? Follow these best practices so that you can.
Cyber security services have never been more in demand, and with good reason. The financial industry is under constant attack, according to reports from the SWIFT bank-messaging network. With the increased scrutiny that financial organizations face in terms of protecting client information, there is little room for mistakes. Here are 5 pieces of advice about cyber security for financial advisors who are concerned about the safety of their data.
1. Communicate Threat Data
It is essential for advisors to know how to access and report threat data. The Department of Homeland Security is initializing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a strategy guide on connecting the government with the financial sector to ward off hacking attempts within the industry of finance. If you have survived a threat, report it immediately to the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center. Not only will you help others to avoid the same threat, but you can also access reports of threats to avoid.
2. Encrypt All Data
Encryption is no longer an IT priority; all financial advisors should have a working knowledge of how to encrypt data before sending it out through an email or similar distribution platform. This knowledge can be as simple as knowing what software package to invest in. For instance, advisors using the OpenPGP standard may look to GPG for Mail to encrypt and verify emails.
3. Perform Consistent Data Backup
As any IT specialist will tell you, “If your data is only in one place, it isn’t anywhere.” Backing up your data is an essential component of doing business in any financial space, and certainly in the high alert environment we have now. The cloud now provides a viable option for backup without the need for extra hardware. The cloud comes with its own security intelligence, but having your data backed up off-site is a strong protection against a total loss in case of a hack.
4. Destroy Old Hardware
Do not think that your old hardware cannot be fished out of the garbage to aid in new hacking attempts. One of the most effective ways to hack an otherwise strong security system is to search out opportunities for a physical breach, and many hackers do just that. Making a drive unreadable is more difficult than you may think. Before disposing of the physical hardware, it should be magnetically cleaned.
5. Update Consistently
Sometimes, it feels like you can only react to the behavior of hackers instead of being proactive about security. However, modern operating system and API updates come more quickly than ever before, because the connectivity between financial institutions is better than ever. Update your operating systems at the first opportunity when an upgrade is presented. When it comes to cyber security for financial advisors, the system is likely being updated in response to recent hacker activity – activity that you may be vulnerable to if you do not close the backdoors and fix the bugs immediately.
As a financial advisor, you need your clients to know that their information is secure. For access to up-to-the-minute information about cyber security services in the Arkansas financial industry, contact Business World at 501-214-5482. Our security experts are available to identify areas of risk in your network and to help keep your clients’ information safe.