Easy and painless security for financial advisors

Client safety is a significant concern in the financial world.  As a financial advisor in Indianapolis, Halter Ferguson Financial handles of sensitive data. Founded in 1986, we’ve seen the rise and evolution of many new technologies, and the increased threats that go with them.

It’s not possible to do business today without computers. Email has become an important part of communicating with and serving our clients. We handle the paperwork to open new accounts, arrange for payments, change beneficiaries, and so much more. All using email. A significant percentage of our clients receive their quarterly reports via email. Sending all these documents in a more secure way has been an ongoing concern.

Sending secure files

In the past, we would secure PDFs with encryption so that they required a password to be opened. We used a “simple” staggered password formula, yet our clients often couldn’t remember what that formula was. Let’s face it – we all have too many passwords already! Who wants another password to remember, especially that you only use four times a year?

When ShareFile came to our attention, it seemed like a perfect fit. They currently use the same type of encryption Amazon uses to keep transactions secure. The service protects our client’s privacy, keeping their information more secure than email. Yet it doesn’t require an annoying password that our clients won’t remember.

Sending secure email

We use ShareFile through the Plugin for Microsoft Outlook.  This means it’s integrated right into our email program. When we want to send a document securely, we click a button, choose the file we want to share, and that’s it. The document is stored securely, waiting for the client to retrieve it.

The client receives an email, in their regular email box – be it Gmail, Yahoo, or whoever – with a link. They click that link and enter their name and email, and download the document. No password required. Then we receive an email when the file is viewed or downloaded, so we know when it is accessed.

The links can expire in a time frame you pick, from one day to one year. For extra security, we have chosen a week.  After a week passes, the link will no longer work, and the document disappears. If our clients rarely delete personal emails, this ensures that old links aren’t an issue if they are hacked.

Requesting client documents

If a client wants to send us a document, the process is just as easy through the client portal. We send them a request link. They upload their document using that link. Then we receive notification that the item is waiting for us to download.

For something so easy to use, it sure does give us peace of mind. Security doesn’t always have to be complicated or difficult – sometimes a small step can make a huge difference. ShareFile helps us fulfill our fiduciary duty, and live up to the trust clients place in us by safeguarding our communications.

Interested in what ShareFile can do for your business? Sign up for a free 30-day trial, no credit card needed.

 

Find out more about the author, Brad Ferguson, on his YouTube channel:

About the Author

Personal finances and investing don’t have to be complicated. Our financial planning professional, Tiffany White, CFP®, can help you organize and prepare for your financial picture. Our investment professional, Brad Ferguson, CFA, can help you consolidate your accounts, manage your assets for your goals using a clear strategy, and keep you focused on the long term.