As we have transitioned more and more toward life online, the threat of financial crime and the necessity for proper cybersecurity are at their highest. With most interaction happening digitally now and without the benefit of face-to-face meetings, it is important that brokers understand cybersecurity and do their best to protect clients. Take a read through our checklist to make sure that your organisation is doing everything right.
The first step to ensuring the security of your clients is to make sure that your business practices enable and enhance security measures that are brought into the business. Developing a security culture in your organisation can be done via three simple steps:
Create an employee security policy
An employee security policy should be the first place you start when looking to make changes to your cybersecurity. This should include best practice guidance such as flagging suspicious emails, secure channels to use with clients, how and when to ask for personal information, how to store this information, and how to use any security technology that your firm utilises.
By introducing security policies for your staff, you minimise the risk that any fraudulent activities could begin from within your own systems.
Once you have instituted an employee security policy, it is important that all employees stay up to date with the latest information about cybersecurity in the finance sector. Do this by encouraging staff to do regular training, even providing dedicated time for these activities. This can include webinars from reputable sources or training on the software used to manage your security. Not only does this keep your team well-informed, but it also reinforces the idea that security is important and needs to be at the forefront of people’s thinking.
The final part of building a security culture is to follow up on the pieces you have already instituted. To do this, check in with your team to see what they have been learning about security lately. Additionally, take the time to ensure that the actions laid out in your security policy are being adhered to consistently. It is important that your team are all on board and taking security seriously.
With regard to business security, setting up a robust monitoring system is paramount to successfully protecting against financial crime. Using technology to monitor against threats and analyse your system will enable you to be proactive in handling situations that may arise digitally. Although these systems can take a lot of time and energy, they are your strongest defence against financial crime.
In order for monitoring to work effectively and to prevent liability, you must create clear audit trails in your work processes. Not only will your monitoring software be more capable of detecting threats or scams, but you will also be able to ensure that your firm has no culpability should unauthorised actions take place. Finding the culprit in financial crimes is not always easy, but being assured that your business is not at fault can go a long way to speeding up the process.
Because monitoring and analysis require so much time, energy and manpower, it can be beneficial to outsource this to a managed IT solution. This enables you to outsource a necessary part of your cybersecurity to a professional IT company that has access to the best technology, including machine learning and AI. They can do thorough and constant observation as well as creating automatic alerts that empower brokers and firms to take swift and decisive action when necessary.
Security with Clients
Once all of the in-house security measures have been taken into account, it is vital that your clients know how to manage their information to prevent themselves from becoming victims of financial crime. Client cybersecurity is key and, unfortunately, out of your control. The best thing to do is to ensure that your clients are well-armed with information.
Provide best practice tips
When a client comes on board to your firm, make sure that you provide them with a list of best practice tips to avoid getting scammed. In addition to tips about when and how to transfer both personal information and funds, you should provide your clients with knowledge on how to better protect themselves and their finances at large. The more secure they are in their day-to-day lives, the more secure they will be when it comes to how you work together.
An easy way to share this information with them is to provide a client security policy. This can take much of its information from your employee policy and will need to include things like tips for creating strong passwords, upgrading software regularly, and using two-factor authentication.
Take Five website
Introduce your clients to the Take Five website, a government site dedicated to stopping fraud. This website is designed to help both individuals and businesses take steps to prevent falling victim to scams. It offers up to date information about recent scams and best practice tips for keeping your finances safe. Handily, the Take Five website also provides toolkits and guides, many of which you can co-brand before giving to clients.
Sometimes even the best-laid plans fall apart. As technology and situations change, it may not always be possible to protect yourself completely. In the event that something unfortunate happens, make sure your clients know how to report fraudulent activity quickly. A fast response can often mean the difference between getting your money back and never seeing it again. Make sure they report it both to the financial institution that handled the funds as well as to Action Fraud.
By following all of the steps on this checklist, you can be assured that you have created a secure environment for your business and your clients.