The numbers are alarming. In the past five years nearly 3.9 million records were stolen from cyberattacks and breaches — equating to 158,727 per hour, 2,645 per minute and 44 every second of every day.1 Paired with the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the anticipated 200 billion devices that will be connected to it by 2020, the wariness about and likelihood of encroachment increases exponentially.1
Headlines and media coverage about cyberattacks — including ongoing coverage of the 2017 Equifax breach that compromised the personal financial information of more than 148 million people2 — continues to fuel fears, as does Warren Buffet publicly offering his opinion that cyberattacks are “the number one problem with mankind.”3
Clients will likely do more than raise their eyebrows at these types of statistics and news. They’ll probably also raise questions and concerns about just how safe their investments are in your cyber-care.
Similar to quelling market volatility fears, you’re better off to get ahead of the potential panic with proactive conversations about your firm’s best practices with regard to cybersecurity protocols. While highly technical conversations are generally not warranted, conveying what steps are in place for protection is often reassuring to clients. In addition, a proactive discussion about cybersecurity double-checks could give clients a heads-up about things they might encounter during transactions with you, including items from this representative list:
- Multi-step authorizations4
- Encryption of email attachments4
- Verbal confirmations, which could include voice recognition tools or other forms of biometrics4
Your particular protocols may vary from those bulleted, but the point remains the same: leaning into a discussion about the security measures in place can go a long way to alleviating client concerns.
This conversation may also provide you with an opportunity to remind clients that they can also take an active role in keeping their personal and financial information safe. Consider sharing these suggestions:
- Use passwords that contain a complex combination of numbers and upper and lowercase letters. Using simple passwords such as important dates, meaningful names or other familiar information invites hackers to breach your accounts.5
- Make it a practice to never open attachments or click on links that are contained in suspicious-looking emails, and never respond to these types of emails if they want personal information. Phishing — scams that use legitimate-looking emails to gather personal information from unsuspecting victims in order to hack accounts — remain a prevalent threat. Better safe than sorry.5
- Update software and reset devices often in order to safeguard against the intrusion of malware, spyware and other harmful programs and viruses.5
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi connections to conduct financial business transactions. These sometimes unsecured networks are often targeted by cyber-criminals trolling for account numbers, credit card information, passwords and other sensitive information that could be ruinous in the wrong hands.5
Protecting financial accounts from outside interference is a smart strategy for maintaining strong, trusted client relationships. So is guiding them away from the risk of making poor choices about retirement savings as outlined in 6 Retirement Regrets Your Clients Can Avoid. Click the button below to access your copy of this valuable infographic now.
1Cybint, 12 Alarming Cyber Security Facts and Stats, March 16, 2018
2Fortune, Equifax Data Breach, One Year Later: Obvious Errors and No Real Changes, Report Says, September 8, 2018
3Business Insider, BUFFETT: This is ‘the number one problem with mankind’, May 6, 2017
4Interset, It’s Time To Talk To Your Client About Cybersecurity, May 3, 2017
5Awesomely Techie, How To Protect Yourself From Cyber Attacks, Identity Theft, and Viruses, May 26, 2017