For the month of October, cybersecurity is at the forefront of our minds. After all, it is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a time designed by top IT experts to ensure everyone is secure with their online behaviors and databases. Now, you probably know that cybersecurity is important, but do you know why there’s such an emphasis placed on it? 

Below are eight reasons why cybersecurity should be your priority in the month of October (and year-round, of course) and how your firm can help spread the message to your firm members through training.  

1.) Financial institutions are leading targets of cyber-attacks.  

Financial institutions are where the money is, and for cybercriminals, that offers multiple avenues for profit through extortion, theft, and fraud. There are various types of cyber-attacks that threaten the financial industry that are coupled with FINRA-required disclosures and regulatory measures that are used to prevent cybercrimes. It’s important to train your reps on how to be able to identify cyber threats and give advice about risk-reducing steps that can protect the firm.   

Course Suggestion: Cybersecurity (Course Code: 17701)

2.) Cybersecurity isn’t just about protecting yourself. 

You have a responsibility to protect your customers and business partners, which includes keeping their personal information away from cybercriminals. Protecting your own firm from cyber threats is important but keeping your client data safe from being compromised is of the same importance, possibly even more. It’s important to be able to recognize cyber threats to your client database and which security measures to implement to avert a cyber-attack.

Course Suggestion: Customer Data Protection (Course Code: 17699) 

3.) Identity theft: It’s everyone’s business.

When it comes to identity theft, FINRA obligates firms to adopt security standards to protect financial and personal customer information. This course gives a comprehensive overview of what identity theft is as well as day-to-day practices that representatives can employ to ensure consumer data is far from the reach of cyber-criminal hands.

Course Suggestion: Identity Theft: It’s Everyone’s Business (Course Code: 17733) 

4.) Your firm members may *unknowingly* take the bait.

One of the more ‘popular’ forms of cyber-attacks, phishing scams pose a significant threat to a firm’s digital business environment. These scams can have costly consequences and often claim victim to those who are unprepared to recognize such scams. Adequately trained representatives should be able to identify common types of phishing attacks as well as strategies to avoid falling for these scams.

Course Suggestion: Phishing Awareness – The Human Factor of Security (Course Code: 10678) 

5.) You can help save the firm face (literally).

Did you know that 15 million people in the US have their identity stolen every year? To prevent yourself (and your clients) from being one of those 15 million, it’s important to know what to look for and the preventative steps to take. Knowing how to identify the many ways that your personal information can be stolen is a foolproof way to keep it from happening to you. 

Course Suggestion: Preventing Personal Identity Theft (Course Code: 11573) 

6.) It’s better to be safe than sorry.

No matter how elementary cybersecurity may seem, sooner or later everyone needs a refresher on privacy and confidentiality rights and the methods for protecting electronic data. It’s essential that you stay on top of these trainings to make sure your reps are ready in the event of a cyber-attack. 

Course Suggestion: Privacy, Confidentiality, and Information Security (Course Code: 17752)

7.) Education is easy (and cheaper than a cyber-attack).

Perhaps you know the different types of cyber-attacks that there are but need some guidance on how to prevent them from occurring. Don’t worry, there are resources set up to help you. Guidelines, set by FINRA, were created to make sure firms know which cybersecurity measures to put in place and the steps needed to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack.

Course Suggestion: Cybersecurity & FINRA (Course Code: 17702) 

8.) Your company’s reputation is at stake.

Information security is an integral part of the services we provide and helps to protect our reputations and brands. Representatives that are educated in information security can manage risks that come with threats such as data breaches. Properly trained representatives and supervisors can better understand the proper procedures for protecting personal customer information, saving your firm from costly cybersecurity attacks. 

Course Suggestion: Information Security: Protecting You, Your Clients, and Your Firm (Course Code: 17735)