Remote Access Best Practices for LA Investment Advisors

Craig Pollack | Sep 19, 2016

Remote Access Best Practices for LA Investment Advisors

The world of investment is always moving, growing, and changing. And many times, remote access is just the next stepping stone in the natural progression of leveraging technology in new and meaningful ways that aids you as your firm grows. It’s flexible, scalable, and makes it possible for you to access your client data no matter where you are, as well as connecting colleagues in different offices with ease.

However, remote access isn’t without its issues and concerns.  And as an LA based investment advisor, you’d do well to familiarize yourself with the best practices associated with such technology before rolling it out.  For example, remote access increases the security considerations exponentially and should be fairly high on your to-do list if you’re considering adding remote access capabilities to your operations.

While, technically, remote access isn’t all that difficult to make happen.  It does require some strategic thought before diving in. 

Establish appropriate security protocols early on

It is essential that you consider and review your security protocol before introducing remote access; how will you ensure that data remains safe? Have you looked into encryption? Malware and firewalls must be kept updated, and it’s essential to use strong passwords for everything. Think about drawing up a password policy to keep all colleagues in line and recommend changing passwords at regular intervals.

You need to ensure that all access to your network is authenticated, while spyware and antivirus software protect your computing resources, what’s in place to protect and secure your proprietary information outside of the walls of your office?

Think in Terms of Protecting Your Firm’s Assets, Rather Than Devices

It can be tempting to set your security with your employees’ devices in mind, but you really need to be thinking about the information those devices contain and the assets at the heart of your business. This will help you to formulate a security strategy and ensure that you’re making the most of your remote access network. Devices can be replaced, but years’ worth of data and sensitive accounting documents cannot.

Educate employees and colleagues

If you are to keep data safe and ensure that your whole team is able to access the network without worry, it’s essential that you offer education across your firm.  What are the potential pitfalls associated with remote access and why do your staff need be aware of them? Now is the time to monitor data access – not to catch staff, but rather to ensure that everyone is working together to prevent data leakage and fraud.

As long as you take security seriously, it is possible to operate a flexible remote access system without compromise to efficiency or safety – it will need to work for and with your employees and clients, after all. Education also makes sure that you stand out as the head of the network, retaining control over the system and being able to monitor how it’s being used. The most secure systems are those with someone having ownership over them, rather than dozens of conflicting interests all vying for their say; be that boss.

Introduce an AUP

Now is a good time to introduce an AUP; that is, an Acceptable Use Policy so that all team members know what the policies are when it comes to accessing your firm’s network resources remotely. The policy should contain details of the devices that can be connected, information pertaining to operating procedures, and guidance for passwords, as well as a strict disclosure as to the penalties that can be expected if the rules aren’t followed.

An AUP takes back control of the network to ensure safety and also looks after staff members so that those bringing their own devices can relax just a little bit more. With an AUP document, security breaches will be easier to identify and shut down. An AUP will limit access to who has information and will ensure that no unauthorized software is installed. It will also dictate which websites can and can’t be visited and the types of files that are eligible for download.

Document and track who has remote access

Ensure that you have a process in place granting remote access as well as revoking it and that this process is documented, tracked, and kept current at all times.  Make sure you document this with signatures of the staff involved (both those getting access as well as those granting them).

The ability to provide remote access for your staff will not only improve their productivity, but it will also need a lot of understanding in order for it to work most efficiently.  Make sure you’ve done all your research and addressed all the risks prior to adding this great feature to your technology toolkit.

Do you currently offer remote access? Please share your thoughts in the Comment field below.

And to follow-through on the concepts introduced here, be sure to download your free guide, Investing in High Net Worth Clients: The LA Investment Advisor's Guide to Using Technology to Manage and Grow Your Firm.

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Author

Craig Pollack

Craig Pollack

Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology as efficiently and effectively as possible. With over 25 years of experience building the preeminent IT Service Provider in the Southern California area, Craig is one of the area’s leading authorities on how small to mid-sized businesses can best secure and leverage their technology to achieve their business objectives.

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