The year 2016 finds us increasingly concerned about the security of our digital records and identity. This is a cyclical dilemma, because we are consistently placing more and more sensitive material in “the cloud.” This, in turn, increases the amount of sensitive material that can be tampered with and stolen. The following story from an article on wealthmanagement.com is unfortunately becoming all too common:
“They just clicked on an innocent looking email link, which downloaded an agent that encrypted the person’s files: pictures, documents, videos, music, everything. Then an email arrived offering the encryption key for a stiff fee. Fortunately, we were able to restore everything from a backup and they didn’t have to pay.”
There are measures your clients and you can be taking to protect your identity, finances and devices. Make sure you are discussing these with clients as well as instituting these practices in your own office and home.
- Check bank & investment accounts regularly. Federal law also states that everyone is entitled to an annual free credit report. Use these to make sure no accounts were opened in your name.
- Avoid clicking through emails, even if they are from your financial institution. Go straight to your online account.
- Never access your accounts from a public location. “Free wifi” is not your friend when you want to log in to your bank account.
- Back up your computer regularly. (Like, everyday) Most backup software has software that will schedule automatic backups for you.
- Erase personal information when you get rid of your old device. You never know where that device will end up, so make sure to wipe it clean.
Securing our digital information can be work, but it can be as simple as logging out of your account website when you’re finished. And it is time well spent when you compare it to restoring lost data or fixing credit reports with errant financial information.
The convenience of technology can be a blessing instead of a curse when we use it wisely, and we can remind our clients about the importance of protecting their personal information – for themselves and future generations.
The Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm
has been partnering with other professions like you for 20 years, providing clear and proactive planning for their clients. We value this team approach and are endeavoring this year to increase the resources we provide to you and your clients. Call us or email us today for more information, and as always, please let your clients know about our upcoming workshops in our office in Joplin.