January 26, 2017 – IT Crisis: Prepare Yourself, Protect Yourself

Calgary, Alberta – A new calendar year is an excellent time to review and refresh protocols around your brokerage. With a recent uptick in reports of data encryption by Ransomware, RECA suggests that Alberta brokerages take the time to review the security systems and recovery protocols for important data stored on computers.

Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to a computer system, often until the owners or users of the computer system pay a sum of money, or “ransom,” to get access to it again.

It is essential for brokerages to take steps to protect not only the private and confidential information of their clients, but also the brokerage’s own confidential information.

In the case of data loss, brokerages should have a disaster recovery plan (DRP) in place. A DRP should:

  • document the processes, policies, and procedures for the recovery and continuation of technology infrastructure that is critical to your business
  • include a communication plan to reach your stakeholders
  • be regularly tested to make sure there are no issues recovering data and getting your system back up and running within a reasonable time frame

Brokerages should also protect their data by backing it up. This may be as simple as backing up to a disc or a separate hard drive and storing the back-up at a secure offsite location. Back-ups can also be transmitted over the internet to an offsite disk or cloud service.

Take the time to ensure your brokerage has appropriate security and recovery methods in place to protect important data, and have a plan in place in case of data loss or theft. In the case of a breach, be sure to review and follow the protocol outlined by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPC) in their Advisory for Ransomware.

For more information, please see the following resources:

RECABlog: Planning for an IT Crisis

Information Bulletin: Protection of Client Information

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta: Advisory for Ransomware

If you have specific questions about appropriate measures to protect and safeguard brokerage and client information, please email info@reca.ca.

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