Cybersecurity Hygiene



Ross Laurie, CEO, Visible Capital

As I’m sure is the case with most of us, COVID 19 has taught me some science (corona virus molecules are very sticky and therefore very effective at glueing themselves to our hands), some interesting facts (we touch our faces on average 23 times an hour) and the lyrics to some alternatives to Happy Birthday, also with 20 second choruses, (Dolly Parton’s Jolene and the Bee Gees Staying Alive).

And of course, as I discussed in my last blog - these last three months have also taught us to embrace new ways of doing things not only in our homes but in our working lives too. One of these new approaches I called germ free finance. And although we are all maybe aching for a different news agenda, the reality is that the ramifications of the pandemic are going to be with us for some considerable time and continue to affect the way we think and navigate our world. And I’m not quite done with the whole issue of financial “hygiene” either!

PWC’s US website features an interesting article on “Cybersecurity in Financial Services” and suggests that there are two kinds of financial services firms - those that have faced a cyberattack and those that will. And it recommends good “cybersecurity hygiene”, hammering home the point that cybersecurity is inevitably going to affect everyone and also that it’s not just a tech problem, rather good business practice, involving employee training and regular review of authentication and security controls. Or as Joe Nocera, US Financial Services Cybersecurity Leader is quoted by PWC:

“Cybersecurity has to be something that’s ingrained into the way people think about new business opportunities and capabilities. It can’t be just something that the technology guys are going to fix.”

At Visible Capital we couldn’t agree more. And that’s why we have forged a key partnership with Origo, to integrate cybersecurity technology into our platform, specifically designed to help financial advisers maximise on-line security and reduce risk.  Origo’s Unipass Identity creates a unique online identity for wealth managers, doing away with multiple passwords and providing advisers with a single means of identification to log into over 30 financial services organisations from platform/product providers to software suppliers, easily and securely. Whilst the back-end technology is certainly complex, one of the important features of the product is that it isn’t simply a backroom fix but a digital “lock and key” which is tapped into every day on PCs and tablets by advisers whose organisations have embraced it. For the 35,000 advisers across 8,000 organisations who use it every day, it’s a cybersecurity behaviour that’s become completely ingrained in the way they think and operate.

Unfortunately, financial firms are particular targets for cybercrime and financial advisers need to be confident that they are operating in the most robust and resilient cybersecurity environment in order to protect themselves and their clients.

We all need to train ourselves to be vigilant and play a day to day role in the cybersecurity of our organisation. This is where I think Unipass Identity is particularly helpful. Not only is it a complex, highly encrypted digital certificate, it is also a kind of digital hand washing routine. Because we have integrated Unipass Identity into our platform, every time a financial adviser using our technology logs into one of the financial websites partnering with Unipass, they are embedding valuable “cybersecurity hygiene” behaviour into their daily routines.

We’re going to hear a lot more about cybersecurity in the very near future and whilst its good to know the tech department have the firewall in place, in a typical financial services organisation, we need to be thinking more and more about ensuring that the implementation and policing of sound cybersecurity business practices is a conscious and  shared responsibility.

P.S. Your suggestions for 20 second alternatives to Happy Birthday for future hand washing  would be most welcome.

Richie Braidwood