How Advisors Can Keep Clients and Client Data Safe Online

With the anonymous and remote nature of the crime, cyberattacks are an increasing problem for financial advisors. In 2021, there were more than 300 million victims of cyberattacks, according to research by Harris Poll. It’s no surprise that the study also showed that nearly 80% of internet users are concerned about their safety online.

Data by RiskSecurity also showed that 22 billion records were exposed to cyberattacks in 2021. And most breaches are financially motivated.

Financial advisors who deal with the data and money of clients must include cybersecurity as a top priority. In essence, cybersecurity has become an essential component of providing objective financial planning advice. Helping clients plan to achieve their financial goals without addressing how to protect their money is now inadequate.

Here are three categories of tools that financial advisors can propose to their clients to keep them safe online so that their hard-earned money can be protected from cybercriminals:

— General-purpose data protection tools.

— Finance-specific data protection tools.

— Bank-specific data protection tools.

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General-Purpose Data Protection Tools

These are cybersecurity tools that protect the data, privacy and identity of users on the internet. They do this by monitoring the activities of users across the internet and alerting them to any possible data, privacy and identity breaches.

Examples

LifeLock

There are three key components to this software provided by Norton: identity, security and privacy. LifeLock detects and notifies users of potential identity thefts, security threats and privacy breaches.

LifeLock’s system includes privacy and dark web monitoring, credit monitoring, data breach notifications, credit file lock, payday loan checks, and identity and social security number alerts.

In addition to notification, LifeLock also helps to resolve any cyberattack and reimburses users up to $1 million for amounts lost due to the attack and any external cost incurred in its resolution, such as hiring lawyers and experts.

Identity Guard

Identity Guard is integrated with IBM’s Watson, which allows it to predict which activities will expose a user to cyberattacks and provide real-time threat alerts. Like LifeLock, it crawls through the internet and notifies users of any cyberthreats. This includes social security number and credit monitoring, dark web monitoring and account takeover detection.

Like LifeLock, it provides up to $1 million in reimbursement for cyberattacks. However, this reimbursement is limited to the actual money lost and not to the money paid for the services of lawyers and other experts.

ID Watchdog

Owned by Equifax, ID Watchdog also provides a large suite of cybersecurity services that include alerts for subprime loans, takeover of social media accounts, tampering with public records and address, and cyberbullying. It also has features specifically designed for the protection of children.

There is an insurance of up to $1 million for identify theft, including 401(k) losses.

How Financial Advisors Can Use Them

While financial advisors are primarily responsible for wealth management, they can also help clients understand the need for security on the internet and how data breaches can expose them to financial fraud.

On this basis, they can recommend any of these general-purpose data protection software tools to their clients, especially those who are financial caregivers. Managing the finances of another person is a big trust, and financial caregivers need to ensure that the data, privacy and identity of their loved ones are safe.

Financial advisors themselves need to be protected on the internet, and any of these tools can secure them from unscrupulous elements.

Finance-specific Data Protection Tools

These programs are specifically designed to protect users from cyberattacks while they are carrying out various financial transactions. That is, these software tools allow users to carry out their financial transactions with full confidence.

Examples

Carefull

Carefull is a software that helps financial caregivers organize and protect the money of their older relatives and friends.

In addition to financial management tools, Carefull provides identify protection; passwords and documents management; and smart account monitoring for fraud, scams and mistakes. It also provides credit monitoring, credit freezing, junk mail opt-out and lost wallet assistance.

Further, Carefull supports live restoration assistance as well as identity theft insurance, just like the general-purpose data protection tools.

More important, Carefull has a plan specifically designed for financial advisors. With this platform, advisors can protect the data and finances of older clients as well as their financial caregivers.

Silver Bills

Although Carefull has a bill payment feature that notifies users of upcoming bills, Silver Bills provides the most comprehensive bills payment service. Silver Bills is a concierge bill management app that handles bills on behalf of users and sends regular reports to them.

Its cybersecurity features include storing users’ data in IBM’s cloud, using a network of firewalls and an encryption algorithm; providing 2-factor authentication; and ensuring that every bill payment is reviewed by an AI-supported algorithm, a human auditor and a dedicated account manager.

How Financial Advisors Can Use Them

Financial advisors can recommend a software like Carefull to the financial caregivers of their older clients or to their clients who are financial caregivers. Alternatively, financial advisors can open their own Carefull account and onboard their older clients directly by collaborating with their caregivers.

Also, advisors can recommend a platform like Silver Bills for clients to effectively and securely pay their bills. The range of data protection services on this platform can provide the confidence clients need when paying bills online.

Bank-specific Data Protection Tools

Bank accounts are popular targets for many hackers. Consequently, banks are also realizing the need to secure their own systems to protect clients’ data. They now use various data protection tools to achieve this goal.

Examples

Banks are using artificial intelligence, multifactor authentication, biometrics and encryption, among other strategies, in a bid to improve the security of data and money.

Also, they use comprehensive data protection services provided by companies such as IBM, NetGuardians and Checkpoint.

How Financial Advisors Can Use Them

Though we live in a fintech revolution, banks are still a key part of the financial industry. Financial advisors must advise their clients on the type of banks they should choose based on the security architecture the bank employs. This will help assure that their money and data with those banks are safe.

To summarize, as the need for cybersecurity increases, financial advisors will be required to do more to ensure the security of their clients’ data and money. This will include suggesting good cybersecurity services that will protect them online and ensuring that the banks and financial apps they use have enough internal security to protect them from security breaches, identity theft and cyberattacks.

More from U.S. News

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Why Advisors Must Be Specialists, Not Generalists

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How Advisors Can Keep Clients and Client Data Safe Online originally appeared on usnews.com

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