By Thomas Meisinger, 15 July 2020
Did you know that ‘massive data fraud and theft’ has been ranked by the World Economic Forum as the number four global risk over a ten-year horizon? Cyberattacks take the fifth spot. The digital age has ushered forth a wave of malicious cybercrime attacks, which threaten all businesses, big and small. For financial planners, it’s imperative to adopt proactive risk mitigation measures to bolster their cybersecurity and ensure client data is safe. Staff training forms a big part of this. And just because we’re all practising social distancing, it doesn’t mean we can’t share this knowledge in different ways.
Thomas Meisinger: Head of Business Solutions at SPF Distribution, says, “It’s more common to hear about bigger businesses experiencing cybercrime, given the tremendous sums often at stake. There’s been a bit of a dearth of information on the attacks small businesses have fallen victim to, but this is now changing as smaller practices start to share their experiences and learnings. It’s important to share knowledge to help all players to up their cybersecurity.”
Meisinger further emphasises that training staff about their responsibilities regarding day-to-day IT is imperative – as something as easy as skipping regular antivirus and anti-malware updates can be detrimental to any business. “It’s also vital that team members are kept in the know regarding the latest threats. Financial phishing – fraudulent emails from criminals posing as reputable companies or colleagues in order to entice the recipient to reveal passwords, credit card information, or to send money – is on the rise right now. It’s crucial that people are aware of this. The emails can be very convincing, so you need to know how to spot the signs.”
What are the other options to protect themselves from potential attacks? Here, Meisinger shares seven measures to implement in order to avoid falling victim to cybercrime:
A lot is happening in the AI and machine learning space when it comes to improving automated blocking capabilities and using advanced technology like biometrics and facial recognition to strengthen passwords. So, while you implement some of the immediate measures, it’s also vital to keep abreast of the latest cybercrime trends, concludes Meisinger.