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Lax Data Security and Mobile Misuse Puts Financial Firms at Risk

SAN MATEO, Calif., March 20, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today's increasingly mobile world is creating a more complicated risk management scenario for financial advisors and independent broker/dealers. Unless managed carefully, advisor use of apps and end devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers can put financial firms at risk. Entreda co-founders Sid Yenamandra and Farshad Ghaffari have been on the road, helping to educate financial advisors and allied institutions about problems and solutions.

SILOED IT DELIVERY A REAL PROBLEM

At the SIFMA/FINRA Cybersecurity Conference held February 4, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan Hotel, a select group of experts spoke about data security. Entreda's Sid Yenamandra reminded the audience that many investment advisory firms are required to implement an Identity Theft Protection Plan (ITPP) under Regulation S-ID. Those not required to do so should still consider implementing an ITPP as a best practice and consider all applicable state laws. He explained how siloed IT delivery and support models leave firms vulnerable to cyberattacks and urged attendees to consider a solution such as Unify, which verifies the enforcement of security best practices, including FINRA and SEC technology guidelines. "The ability to protect users, devices, apps, networks and data in a single platform is a real plus," said Yenamandra.

"FINRA compliance rules have been created to ensure that crucial and sensitive client data stays safe and secure," Ghaffari said. "Be prepared for more rigorous regulatory audits and remember that this is for your own good. If your client data isn't safe, you're not safe. Your firm might suffer reputation and financial damage if a data security breach occurs."

"Attacks on advisors and supporting organizations have morphed from high-jacking of passwords and user names into more dramatic attacks involving sophisticated malware that is not only highly disruptive but hard to trace," added Yenamandra. "Both the SEC and FINRA are addressing the threat head-on. Cybersecurity is one of their top priorities. They will be doing exam sweeps of broker/dealers and advisors to help shore up any deficiencies. You don't want your firm to be caught with a lax data security policy and proper implementation."

DESKTOP AND MOBILE DEVICES MUST BE MANAGED

While at the T3 Technology conference for financial advisors, Yenamandra and Ghaffari provided live demonstrations of the Unify platform. Held in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole, the conference took place February 12-14, 2015. "Unify is a comprehensive platform that lets you securely access, manage and protect your devices, users, networks, applications and data – either on-premise or in the cloud – all from one place, from anywhere, on any device," Ghaffari said during a live demo. The duo also recorded a series of data security videos that contain additional information and advice.

Yenamandra also participated in a panel moderated by Bill Winterberg, producer of the information portal for financial services firms called fpPad. The panel, which also included William French, Vice President of Risk Management at Fidelity Investments, and Brian Edelman, founder and CEO of Financial Computer, Inc., focused on how already taxed and thin IT departments will be able to meet the 28 SEC exam requests that lay out a firm's cyber processes and procedures.

"Technology continues to evolve, changing the way we lead our lives," Yenamandra said. "Unfortunately, cyber criminals are evolving just as fast, developing new ways to separate people from their assets. The end game is, of course, criminal. After gaining access to an investor's personal information, cyber criminals can use it to commit various types of fraud, including fraudulent trading and electronic funds transfer fraud."

Tips included limiting employee access to sensitive client data to secure networks and devices. "Public computers and wifi connections in locations like hotels or cybercafés have unknown virus protection and are highly susceptible to attacks; they should not be used to access confidential firm or client data," Yenamandra said. He went on to explain how Entreda's Unify platform automates financial firm's cyber security policy enforcement on devices, apps and networks.

PRO-ACTIVELY MANAGE RISK

"How do you pro-actively plan your cyber security strategy for your business? You don't have enough hours in a day to get caught up on your core business and now this," Ghaffari said. "Remember, there is no magic widget that will prevent cyber crime. It's just a matter of time before you are affected in some way. You can only manage risk and minimize liability. So, if you have to prove to yourself or the regulators that you followed best practices in cyber security, you have to pro-actively invest in and utilize tools to manage your cyber risk."

To find out more about Unity platform or to receive a complimentary and personalized cyber security audit, visit http://www.entreda.com.

About Entreda

Entreda is a software company founded in 2011 with offices in San Mateo, California. Entreda's flagship product, Unify for Investment Advisors, helps advisors and broker/dealers centrally monitor and enforce best practices in security on apps and devices while maintaining compliance with regulatory standards. For more information, visit www.entreda.com.

CONTACT: Jessica Taylor Impact Communications, Inc. 800-974-7753 JessicaTaylor@ImpactCommunications.orgSource: Entreda