Is Your Information Safe?

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On Monday morning, technology security expert Matt Sarrel gave a presentation at FPA Denver 2010 on information security and protecting your practice today and tomorrow.

Why should you care about protecting your information? According to some stats from Sarrel’s presentation, data breaches cost organizations about $6.6 million a year. But the cost is not the worst part; you also have to consider the effect an information security breach could have on your reputation and your relationship with your clients.

A few tips from Sarrel:

  • Have active antivirus protection. What Sarrel’s talking about is software that does behavior-based scanning on processes as they execute, rather than old-school anti-virus software that scans the disk once a week. It also means having active browser protection. Sarrel says the popular anti-virus software programs, such as Norton and McAfee, bundle this technology with their software.
  • Understand which bits of data are valuable and protect these to the best of your ability. Sarrel is not saying that it’s OK to leave some data unprotected, but it is important to identify the most critical data.
  • Practice defense in depth. Sarrel says no one defense will protect you. You have to have layered information security measures.
  • Protect your business from physical theft. According to Sarrel, this is something that many IT professionals overlook. “What is the point of locking down your firewall if your PC or lap-top can walk out the door,” Sarrel asks. His solution: literally lock PCs to desks in a way that they cannot easily be removed, and consider using self-destruct technology on your lap-top and smart phones so that if you report them stolen, as soon as they are used, all data will be deleted.

Carly Schulaka
Managing Editor
Practice Management Solutions magazine
Financial Planning Association
Denver, Colo.

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