You’ve had many conversations with clients about their financial security, but have you talked about the potentially devastating implications of failing to consider cybersecurity?
The numbers are alarming. So far in 2020 alone, there have been 540 reported data breaches, affecting more than 163 million individuals. While massive, there were actually 33% fewer data breaches in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019, and the number of people impacted dropped by 66% overall.1
But individuals shouldn’t take the drop in numbers as a sign that all is well.
Why Clients Need to Stay on Guard
One reason for a drop in the number of data breaches is the significant shift from working in-office to at-home, forcing many organizations to heighten their cybersecurity awareness and efforts. However, even though there are fewer data breaches, cybercrime has not slowed. Chances are, cybercriminals may already have the information they need from previous breaches and are using it to target victims with scams that rob them of their hard-earned savings.1
While headlines and media coverage about cyberattacks may be overshadowed by recent world events, the abilities of hackers to compromise the personal financial information of millions of Americans continue to fuel fears among corporations and consumers. Clients who are concerned about protecting their finances and personal information from online threats might raise questions and concerns about just how safe their investments are in your cyber-care.
Share Your Cybersecurity Protocols
Similar to quelling market volatility fears, you’re better off to get ahead of potential issues or concerns 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 discussion about cybersecurity double-checks could give clients a heads-up about what they might encounter during transactions with you. Items on the list might include:
- Multi-step authentications and authorizations
- Encryption of email attachments
- Verbal confirmations, which could include voice recognition tools or other forms of biometrics such as fingerprint scanning
Your particular protocols may vary from those listed, but the point remains the same: leaning into a discussion about the security measures in place can go a long way to help alleviate client concerns.
Cybersecurity Best Practices for Clients
This conversation may also provide you with an opportunity to remind clients that they can take an active role in keeping their personal and financial information safe.
Consider sharing these suggestions:
- Use complex passwords that contain a combination of numbers, characters and upper and lowercase letters. Using simple passwords such as important dates, meaningful names or other familiar information invites hackers to breach your accounts.
- 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.
- Ensure that websites are secure where personal or payment information may be accessed or shared. Look for “HTTPS” in the prefix of the domain name.
- Use antivirus software and firewalls, and update software and reset devices often in order to safeguard against the intrusion of malware, spyware and other harmful programs and viruses.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi connections to conduct financial business transactions. These sometimes unsecured networks are often targeted by cybercriminals trolling for account numbers, credit card information, passwords and other sensitive information that could be ruinous in the wrong hands.
- Routinely check account statements to look for any suspicious activity.2
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.
1CNBC.com, The number of data breaches is actually down 33% so far this year—here’s why, July 14, 2020.
2Ready.gov, Cybersecurity, April 24, 2020.