Use Information Security to Recruit and Retain Clients

Greg Wilson, Head of Information Security
September 25, 2018

Due to the rising dangers of information and identify theft that are more prevalent than ever with the current advancements in technology, a key component of recruiting clients and retaining the clients you already have is assuring them that their information is safe with your firm.

To provide potential clients with the comfort that working with your firm will not put them at risk of a data security breach, there are a variety of measures necessary for your firm to take.

Write a privacy policy for your firm. 
Your firm should have a written policy that explains in detail what rights clients have, how their data will be used, who has access to the data, and what an individual must do to change existing data in your system. Your policy should clearly define what is considered valuable data and should outline what specific steps should be taken to protect that data.

Have a standard data disposition in place. 
Make sure your clients and prospects are aware of how long their data remains in place if they decide to leave your firm and how it will be disposed of if they are no longer your clients.

Have communication protocols within your office. 
To ensure there is clear communication with your firm’s clients, there must first be an efficient communication system within your business. Have defined processes for transactions, trades, etc., and make sure all of your staff members understand what those processes are. Additionally, create set standards for identifying your clients. Individuals who are transferring funds or executing trades need to take steps to ensure the orders are valid and being requested by authorized parties.

Train your employees. 
Have proper training in place, including formal training offered at least annually, for all of your firm’s staff members. Include appropriate practices regarding anti-virus protection on their computers, password protection, deleting questionable (phishing) emails and backing up their work. Make sure that they are also vigilant of their surroundings and the information they manage and that they know to speak up when they notice anything that seems suspicious or unfamiliar.

Develop an information security plan. 
It’s important for your firm to have an effective security plan for both precautionary and responsive measures. The plan should specify your security policies, provide guidelines for areas of responsibility and make apparent the necessary steps to ensure all client data is not at risk of being accessed by the wrong individuals.

Have an annual third-party security assessment. 
An integral way to highlight the security of your firm is to have the security measures of your firm assessed annually by a third party. Doing so helps to identify areas that need improvement, allowing your firm to lessen the risk of a data breach — which will, in turn, help to provide reassurance to clients and prospects that their information and assets are safe in your system. The third party security assessment should include a vulnerability assessment and a penetration test to test your network to ensure that it is safe. 

Create a document that lists your data security measures. 
Having a tangible piece to give to your clients and potential clients can be an additional source of assurance that they can trust your firm and the precautions it’s taken to protect the individuals and families you serve on a daily basis. Create something simple yet informative that outlines what your firm is doing to make sure all sensitive data is kept secure. Make special note to include their responsibilities, such as protecting the user account information, regularly change their passwords and ensure that they encrypt sensitive/confidential information when they send it to you.

There are a multitude of schemes and breaches that take place throughout a variety of industries and businesses, and it’s important that your firm doesn’t become victim to such unfortunate situations. Furthermore, your clients and prospects want to know their information will be safe, and making them aware of the security measures your firm is taking further demonstrates to them that you care about more than their business — you care about their peace of mind and the things most important to them.

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