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TD Ameritrade beefs up cybersecurity with 'military-grade’ platform

DENTON, Texas — The best way to protect client data from cyberthreats might be to take it off the internet altogether.

That's what a new project from TD Ameritrade is planning to do. The new integration with a “military-grade” information-sharing network is meant to keep data safe while dealing with third-party vendors, according to the firm. Vendor data sharing has gained industry regulator attention in recent months.

cleverDome is a community-driven data-sharing system designed to circumvent traditional online forums, meaning hackers can't get into sensitive communication. TD Ameritrade Institutional is integrating the technology into its Veo One platform.

“In an interconnected world, that also means making sure advisor systems are secure when connecting with us and third-party solutions,” says Jon Patullo, a managing director at TD Ameritrade Institutional. “By taking critical data off the open internet, we can better protect data shared between multiple parties and help RIAs ensure their computers and mobile devices are protected when accessing client data anywhere, anytime.”

TD Ameritrade building photo Bloomberg News
Pedestrians pass in front of a TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. location in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. is scheduled to release earnings figures on January 18. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The cleverDome system can replace traditional VPN solutions and enable RIA firms to benefit from lower costs and higher speeds, says the firm. Currently, the tool is available to advisor’s client data on Redtail, Riskalyze and Orion platforms.

“Keeping personal data of consumers safe with a fully secure network has been a great challenge across the financial services spectrum,” says Bridget Gaughan, co-founder of cleverDome, adding that the integration is a “crucial first step.”

cleverDome is known as a benefit corporation, which is a type of for-profit entity created in Arizona with the mission of creating a general public benefit, and operates as a co-op, according to the firm. Members include managed security service providers, software service vendors, custodians, broker/dealers, RIAs, financial advisors and ultimately their investor clients.

Cybersecurity remains top of mind for advisors, according to respondents in the Sentiment Survey by TD Ameritrade. Data security was the top technology spending priority among advisors and expected to be a top issue among regulators in 2019.

The cleverDome system addresses serious issues within the wealth management industry’s data security and IT supply chain challenges, says Mike Hallett of Net Foundry, a data security fintech. The partnership demonstrates the financial services industry is finally ready for advancements in cloud-based communications within a strict regulatory environment, he says.

Regulators aren't the only ones staying up at night worrying about protecting client data, say Eric Clarke, CEO of Orion Advisor Services, a member of the Veo network.

“As a technology provider, I can tell you that we spend countless hours thinking about cybersecurity,” he says, adding the Orion platform recently announced cybersecurity upgrades of its own.

“The risk of data breach and identity theft continues to be a growing threat for firms and the advisors held responsible for protecting clients from exposure,” Clarke says.

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