Dear Valued Clients and Friends,
As a former management consultant and C-level executive, I spent a considerable amount of time learning the art of strategic planning. What I found to be one of the most critical components of planning was not only strategy but risk management. Without identifying and managing risk, a strategy is vulnerable to failure. At The Bahnsen Group, we include risk management in our client’s family, wealth, business and philanthropic strategies. In essence, we are your wingmen and wingwomen. Our purpose is to support and protect you as you navigate through life’s flight path. Specifically, we comprehensively consider risk in all aspects of your financial life from your investments and estate planning to your personal liability, health, and security.
“Risk is a function of how poorly a strategy will perform if the ‘wrong’ scenario occurs.” – Michael Porter
In this issue of The Financierge, we focus on the topic of cybersecurity risk. We also include an interview with Retired Army Colonel Dale Buckner, CEO of Global Guardian, to understand his insights on physical and cybersecurity risk. Global Guardian is a strategic resource of The Bahnsen Group specializing in physical security, medical evacuation, tracking, emergency response, and cybersecurity services for our clients. These are pure value added services to our clients and provide no revenue to The Bahnsen Group.
The Financierge AUDIO Podcast
with Retired Colonel Dale Buckner, CEO of Global Guardian
Source: Gary Larson
“Managing risk is very different from managing strategy. Risk management focuses on the negative-threats and failures rather than opportunities and successes.” – Robert S. Kaplan
Cybersecurity Practices for Your Family and Business
Cybersecurity protects computers, networks, programs and data from unauthorized access or attacks that are aimed at exploitation. Ultimately, cybersecurity protects your family, wealth and business. In the past decade, we have seen cybersecurity incidents grow in number and complexity. The top causes of security breaches include hacking, phishing, and malware. But, what’s more concerning is that these hacking attempts are the result of avoidable human error. Education and awareness are critically important in the fight against cybercriminal activity and preventing security breaches. The following are practices to protect both your family and business.
Protect Your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) – Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is any information that can be used by a cybercriminal to identify or locate an individual. PII includes your name, address, phone numbers, date of birth, Social Security number, IP address, location details, or any other physical or digital identity data. If you use social media, review privacy settings, limit information about yourself, and be aware that someone looking at your posts can tell a lot about you and your family, and even know that you are on vacation. One caution is not to post pictures to the public while you are on a business trip or vacation.
Keep Software Current – Ransomware attacks are a major risk for both businesses and individuals. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system or data until a sum of money is paid. One of the most important cybersecurity practices to fight ransomware is patching outdated operating system and application software. To help prevent unauthorized access, turn on automatic updates for your device, web browser, and other software. This helps remove weaknesses that hackers use to access your devices.
Install Anti-Virus Protection & Firewall Software – Anti-virus (AV) protection software is the most common technique against malicious attacks. AV software blocks malware and other malicious viruses from entering your device and compromising your data. Use anti-virus software from trusted vendors and only run one AV tool on your device. Also, use a firewall to screen out hackers, viruses, and other malicious activity. Windows and Mac operating systems come with firewalls, and your network router should also have a firewall.
Use Strong Passwords & Employ a Password Management Tool – Passwords are critical to online security and preventing hackers from accessing your data. Some practices to use include using a strong password with a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. Also, you shouldn’t use your password more than once, and it should be changed at least once a year. Password management tools like Keeper and Dashlane help to manage passwords.
Employ Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication – Two-factor or multi-factor authentication is a practice that adds additional layers of security to the standard username and password authentication. With two-factor authentication, you are prompted to enter one additional authentication code usually texted to you. With multi-factor authentication, you would enter more than two additional authentication codes after entering your username and password.
Educate Yourself About Phishing Scams – The majority of ransomware attacks originate from phishing attacks. Use caution with suspicious of emails, links, and phone calls. In a phishing scam, the sender tries to trick the recipient into divulging credentials, clicking a malicious link, or opening an attachment that infects the recipient’s system. To prevent phishing attacks, don’t open email from strangers, strange emails from friends (who were hacked), hover over links to discover the underlying address, and be suspicious of lots of grammatical errors. And for Pete’s sake, no one has a long, lost uncle wanting to wire you millions of dollars if you provide your bank account information.
Secure Your Mobile Devices – Mobile device malware is growing in incidents. Make sure your devices are encrypted. Also, create complex mobile passwords, install apps from trusted sources, keep devices updated, avoid sending PII over text or email, use device theft prevention settings, and regularly backup your device.
Backup Data Regularly – Back up your data regularly following a simple 3-2-1 backup rule. Maintain three copies of your data on two different types of media (local and external hard drive) and one copy in an off-site location like cloud storage). If you are attacked by ransomware or malware, you can erase your system and restore with a recent backup.
Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi – Only use public Wi-Fi if you have a Virtual Private Network (VPN), so that data between your device and the VPN server is encrypted.
Consider Insurance – In certain circumstance it may be worth buying properly designed cybersecurity and identity theft insurance. Some credit reporting agencies provide limited identity theft insurance along with their credit and identity monitoring services.
Review Online Accounts & Credit Reports Regularly – With the recent Equifax breach, it’s more important than ever to monitor credit reports. A credit freeze is the most effective way for you to protect your personal credit information from cybercriminals.
If you have a business, the practices are similar – keep all software current, use a firewall, document your cybersecurity policies, manage and protect mobile devices, conduct employee education, implement password management, back up data, have a disaster recovery plan, install anti-malware software network devices, use multifactor identification and consider cyber insurance.
Bottom Line and Action Steps
Risk management is a major component of strategic planning and helps to identify and mitigate risk to you and your family, business and wealth. One such area is cyber-attacks where cybercriminals grow in number and complexity daily. To protect yourself, it’s essential that cybersecurity is a top priority and you stay current with the latest risks and prevention practices. Reach out to our private wealth advisors for a risk assessment or to find out more about our risk management services.
Check out this video from Global Guardian as they address the risks we all face today:
Have a great week ahead and please reach out with any questions, comments, or if there is anything we can do to serve you.
Don B. Saulic, CFP® CPA
Partner, Private Wealth Management | Family Office Services
The Financierge Library (by Publish Date)
Business Entity Structures and New Tax Law Considerations (Aug 20, 2018)
Five Charitable Planning Perspectives to Know Before You Sell Your Business (Aug 20, 2018)
Two Estate Planning Tips for Your Businesses (Aug 20, 2018)
Four Strategies to Preserve Your Business’ Future (Aug 20, 2018)
Five Ideas about 529 College Savings Plans (Nov 2, 2017)
Dividend Stock Investing (Feb 14, 2018)
Six Items to Keep in Your Vault (Nov 16, 2017)
Twelve Proactive Tips to Fight Identity Theft (Nov 16, 2017)
Twelve Ideas to Guard Your Family in a Digital World (Nov 16, 2017)
Is Your Lifestyle Balanced and in SHAPE? (Nov 20, 2018)
Real Estate Planning
Four Points to Ponder Before Buying or Leasing a Home (Jun 22, 2018)
Six Considerations About Mortgages, Refinancing, and Taxes (Jun 22, 2018)
Five Elements of Reverse Mortgages (Jun 22, 2018)
Four Perspectives to Consider in Deciding to Move to a State with Lower Taxes (Jun 22, 2018)
Risk Management and Insurance Planning
Starting Social Security Benefits – Ready, Set, Hold!? (Nov 2, 2017)
Nine Considerations to Maximize Social Security Benefits (Nov 2, 2017)
Lifestyles of the Affluent and Exposed (Nov 16, 2017)
Eight Benefits of Health Savings Accounts (Mar 16, 2018)
Seven Ideas for Life Insurance (Mar 16, 2018)
Six Considerations About Long-Term Care Insurance (Mar 16, 2018)
Who’s Your Wingman or Wingwoman (Apr 3, 2019)
Starting Social Security Benefits – Ready, Set, Hold!? (Nov 2, 2017)
Ten Things to Know About IRAs and Saving for Retirement (Feb 14, 2018)
Cheers to Your Health, Wealth and Wisdom (Jan 15, 2019).