Whether you're a globetrotting millionaire or a salaried individual, you should be vigilant about the security of your financial data. In today's tech-driven world there are numerous free and paid apps to help track and manage your finances, each with different levels of analytics, customization and security. What we are struggling with, is to track all investments, income and expenses on a single platform that not only helps with decision making, but is also private and secure.
Often the word ‘online’ sets off a mental alarm telling you that your data is out there and out of your control. The only way to minimize risk and ensure data security of our financial assets is to understand the technology options and select one which maximizes security while minimizing risk, so that your online financial data and money/assets remain secure.
Evaluate the privacy and security features of online financial management tools and ensure that your selected tool complies with at least these five conditions:
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer / SHA256 or higher) certiﬁed websites : These sites establish an encrypted link between the web server and browser so that all information is transferred securely. Non-SSL sites are susceptible to phishing and eavesdropping over unsecured wi-fi connections.
Private cloud hosted services: The software should provide data storage on a private cloud server. A private cloud is more secure that a shared database. If multiple clients' data is stored on a shared database, it compromises security and increases the risk of data breach and malware.
Service provider has no access to user data: The service or technology provider creates virtual private access for you, their client. Once you set a password, they have no access to your data. Only you, or anyone you assign user rights to, can access the system. Avoid free tools as they practice data mining, with or without your knowledge, to better market financial products and advisory services to you.
Secure document storage with traceability: Making virtual copies of physical documents is a good practice, provided the virtual document storage is secure and confirms to the above three preconditions. Select financial tools that allow documents to be linked to transactions, making it easier to trace documents when needed.
Separate tracking from transactions: Pure asset management tools are intended for data consolidation, reporting and analytics. They separate transacting from monitoring, and do not try to increase revenue through advisory and transaction commissions.
Such platforms and tools do not allow users to transfer money, nor do they allow direct trading of financial assets.
Additional security features include two-factor authenticated log-in, alerts if there is a failed log-in or log-in from an unusual IP address, and audit trails to identify changes made, with traceability to users and log-ins. For your protection, do not turn off any of the security features provided. They may feel like a nuisance but are the silent sentinels of data security.
But the best security feature that you can gift yourself is a strong password, preferably one that is not auto-saved and with two-factor authentication turned on.
(The author is Managing Director, Asset Vantage -- an integrated software platform)
Updated Date: Jun 20, 2017 16:56 PM