MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Even if you’ve worked hard to improve your cybersecurity efforts, redouble them. 

Protecting your firm and your clients is “is an issue that’s not going away,” said Sharron Ash, MarketCounsel’s chief litigation counsel in an opening address at the influential MarketCounsel Summit.

"We're seeing a major concern about cybersecurity from bigger firms and a growing concern from smaller and mid-sized firms," added MarketCounsel CEO Brian Hamburger in an interview after the session. "They're becoming more aware of how serious this is and are beginning to understand the necessity of getting ahead of it."

Indeed, John Burns, co-CEO of Exencial Wealth Advisors told Financial Planning that cybersecurity is a “huge, huge, huge issue” for his firm and the industry.

Read more:  Cybersecurity Measures Can Save Your Practice Millions

Identity theft and attempts to hack into the firm’s system were particularly worrying, Burns said. Over the past year, Exencial had received a number of fake email requests to have the firm wire money from client’s accounts, he recounted. 

“We’ve been vigilant and caught all of them, but it’s an increasing concern,” Burns said. 

EMPLOYEES KEY TO SECURITY 

External IT, a software company specializing in cybersecurity, saw a sharp jump in business in 2015, according to Justin Kapahi, technical director for the firm’s financial services practice. 

Employees are the key to cybersecurity for advisory firms, Kapahi told Financial Planning

“You have to teach employees how to act responsibly with technology,” Kapahi said.

Phishing and social media were especially dangerous, he said. Opening fake emails can allow viruses to enter a firm’s system, while criminals can track an employee’s whereabouts and social preferences on social media and establish a false trust to gain access to confidential records, Kapahi explained.

“An informed employee is the best way to keep your firm safe,” he said.

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