I’m Sid Yenamandra, CEO of Entreda, and welcome to CyberCrypt Tales.
This is a monthly section in Wealth Solutions Report where I’ll cover the most common cybersecurity related issues, the most outrageous situations we see out there and how to best address in case this ever happens to you.
All names have been changed and are presented this way to ensure anonymity.
Let’s jump right in!
Problem of the Month: CRM Hack
Picture it: Friday afternoon, folks are winding down for the weekend.
John is the branch manager at a 500 person rep firm and Stacy is their highest producing rep.
The problem begins with a phone call from Stacy to John: “John, we have a problem.”
“We recently got a note from a hacker who claims our CRM system has been breached. They have access to all of our client data. Social security numbers, home addresses, birthdays, the whole package.”
Say That Again, Please?
John is perplexed and asks Stacy, “Wait, remind me, this is the same CRM system that we recommend all our rep firms use, correct?” And that’s when things take a turn for the worse.
Stacy responds, “No, John. It’s our own CRM system. We recommend a different CRM system that all our registered reps use. It’s a lot easier to set up.”
This is the exact moment in time when John realizes there are two major problems here:
- Problem number one, the client data has been exposed.
- Problem number two, Stacy’s firm is using a different CRM system that’s outside of the purview of the broker dealer branch office and the supervision team.
How do you solve this problem?
In the immediate, you need to do a data inventory and a data cleanup.
Pivoting from immediate next steps, let’s talk broader measures.
First, if you’re a 500 person broker-dealer, it is absolutely fine to recommend that your reps use any CRM system that they want, but with the following clear caveats:
- This should be proactively disclosed in the branch office supervision policy.
- Whatever CRM system that your reps are using must be routinely supervised.
Second, because we’re looking at a CRM system breach, this means the hacker compromised the credentials to access that CRM system. This means the firm must improve its cybersecurity posture in terms of tightening up the amount of vulnerability testing and education that that rep firm uses.
Third, the broker-dealer must put in place an incident response policy, which means that when a situation like this occurs, the home office has a protocol that they need to follow that accomplishes the following:
- First, investigate and triage the problem.
- Second, figure out what is the damage that was caused as a result of this breach.
- And third, identify which authorities to notify.
Keep An Eye Out for Next Month’s CyberCrypt Tales
Please keep an eye out for next month’s situation with cybersecurity and some of the most outrageous situations we see out there.
At Entreda, as we always tell people, it pays to be paranoid when it comes to cybersecurity.
Stay tuned and be safe!
Sid Yenamandra is Founder and CEO of Entreda, the leading cybersecurity solutions firm for the independent wealth management space.