When was the last time you worked 9-to- 5? Chances are, not for a while. In fact, it’s a
safe bet you’ve worked longer hours
than 8-to- 6 or 7-to- 7 recently. Why?
Because in today’s connected world,
we’re always on, almost everywhere.
The same goes for your clients.
Regardless of their professional titles,
they likely check work emails from
home or access their VPN remotely.
While there is an important debate to
be had about the long-term impact constant connectivity has on society, there
is an immediate concern for financial
advisors: client cybersecurity.
According to a recent study by Chubb,
88% of respondents report being “very”
or “somewhat” concerned about their
cyber exposure. Unfortunately, that concern isn’t translating into action — just
23% rate themselves as doing an “okay”
job at protecting their data, and one-in-five (19%) say they know how to protect
their data, but neglect to do so.
While these numbers present a challenge, compounding the risk is that the
erosion of the work-life divide means
there are more potential weak points
for cyber criminals to leverage. The
same survey, for instance, found that
almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents
work from home — where cybersecurity defenses are often less robust —
and more than a third (38%) conduct
business on a personal device. More
concerning is that those same devices
often are accessible to people other than
its owner, including immediate family (51%), extended family (15%) and
If done with the proper safeguards in
mind, these behaviors are relatively low-risk. Unfortunately, very few implement
the cornerstones of basic cybersecurity
practices, with just 35% and 39% using
multi-factor authentication and regularly changing their password, respectively.
At stake for 27% is between a predicted
$500 and $5,000 a day in losses as a
result of not being able to work due to
a breach, according to Chubb’s study.
In some cases, cyber breaches can take
days to resolve.
BEST PROTECTION IS AWARENESS
For financial advisors, poor cyber security behaviors on the part of their clients present real financial risks. Beyond
daily losses due to the inability to work,
there is the cost to remediate the situation. That can be expensive — of those
who experienced a breach in the last
year, almost one-in-five (18%) had to pay
more than $5,000 to resolve the issue.
Clearly, there is a need to better edu-
cate clients about their cybersecurity
exposures and behaviors. Fortunately
for financial advisors, there are a num-
ber of available resources to help them
drive that conversation, including:
• The Department of Homeland
Security’s Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit
contains information for all segments of
the community, including for young pro-
fessionals, business owners and parents.
• For clients who are small business owners, the Small Business
Administration has shared a variety of
content that covers everything from
cybersecurity tips, how to protect against
ransomware and how to respond to
cyber-hijacking on social media channels.
Additionally, there are a number of
simple, easy-to-follow best practices
financial advisors should insist their
clients adhere to, including regularly
changing passwords, using two-step verifications and restricting the information
clients are willing to share to download
the latest app or software update.
Yet as hackers get more sophisticated, even the most robust cybersecurity
defenses can fail. Talking to your clients about whether they have personal
cybersecurity insurance that can help
them resolve a breach and minimize
subsequent financial losses is a critical
piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. Taken
together, these efforts can help give you
(and your clients) peace of mind knowing they are protected 24/7, no matter
where clients are or what they’re doing.
If you have any questions about this
topic, please email me at AskFran@
Fran O’Brien is Division President, North
America Personal Risk Services, Chubb. She
can be reached at AskFran@chubb.com.
WEALTH & RISK
By Fran O’Brien
Forget Finding Work-Life Balance — It’s
About Achieving Work-Life Security
The flow of information through devices can heighten security risks.
Here’s how to be better prepared.