Protecting Customer Data and Your Computers (Part 1)

Savvy financial adviosors know that “bad things can happen” on the internet. As a trusted professional, you must take steps to safeguard your computers and your customer data [particularly their Non- Public Personal Information (“NPPI”)] from unauthorized access and potential loss. The SEC has mandated that for Registered Representatives and Registered Investment Advisors, establishing unique user accounts, using complex password protection and maintaining appropriate anti-virus software are all required computer protection procedures. Additionally, you must also maintain a “firewall” on all internet-connected computers. Simply put, without a firewall, your computers sit “naked” on the internet and are exposed to any potential threats.

A firewall is a component of an internet-connected computer or network that blocks unauthorized or hostile intrusion while allowing desired communication and access. Firewalls can be deployed as either software and/or hardware solutions.

The good news is that many of you are already using firewall protection. Others may already be firewall-protected, but don’t know it. Regardless, deploying an appropriate firewall solution is necessary on all internet-connected computers. Whether you are a small business operating from home or a large enterprise running a complex network, there are many appropriate solutions for you.. To assist you with finding an appropriate solution, here are a few recommendations:

Hosted Firewalls – Typically for Medium and Large Enterprises Running Complex Office Networks
Hosted firewall solutions can be expensive but, similar to a home alarm system, the “round the clock” monitoring is typically performed for you.

 Hardware Firewalls – Appropriate for Small, Medium and Large Office Networks
Hardware firewalls will likely require technical setup and proactive monitoring by a technical professional.

 
Software Firewalls – Appropriate for Small Office Networks and Standalone Computers
Software firewalls are the least expensive solution. They are installed on your local computers. Most Anti-Virus products already offer this type of firewall solution built into the software.

 
Selecting and deploying these solutions will likely require assistance from your local technical support resource to ensure the appropriate configuration for your systems. [Note: a disreputable technician is in a unique position to exploit your systems. Make sure you are comfortable with the person[s] you hire for this delicate task. If their contract with you does not include privacy protections, they might not be the right person for the job.]

Information security and privacy are focal points for securities regulators these days; New rules, mandates and disciplinary actions are put forward on a regular basis. Accordingly, we will continue to communicate specific guidance on this topic in the very near future.

Any questions should be directed to the Centaurus Information Technology Department.
Centaurus Financial is an independent broker/dealer, Member SIPC, and a registered investment advisor. If you are choosing a financial advisor, please contact our home office at (714) 456-1790 or send an email to contactus@cfiemail.com. Our home office team will pair you with a top broker or one of the best financial advisors available to meet your needs. More comprehensive information is available at our recruiting website: www.joincfi.com

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