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Founded by two next- generation entrepreneurs from European business families, Trusted Family leverages a decade of industry expertise to help multi-generational family…

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November 5, 2019

Why cybersecurity is the next big challenge for family offices

Globally a staggering 269 billion emails are sent each day and there are currently just over 3.7 billion email users worldwide. The findings revealed in Radicati Group’s February 2017 study, mark a continual growth in the number of emails sent per day; from 2015’s figure of 205 billion emails. For scale, if 205 billion emails is the daily mail count, this means almost 2.4 million emails are sent every second and a mind blowing 74 trillion emails per year. Now when you consider ninety-two percent of all malware is delivered through email, and these frequently arrive in the form of an email from someone in your place of work, whether a co-worker or an executive it doesn’t take a serious mathematician to see the level of risk that email poses to your companies privacy and security.

A recent study from Campden Wealth and Schillings demonstrated that twenty-eight percent of international families, family offices and family businesses have already been the victims of cyber-attacks. One of these incidents cost a family $10 million. Cybersecurity Venture projections indicate the costs of cyber-crime could reach a staggering $6 Trillion by 2021, and that 90% of all companies could fall prey.

What measures should be followed:

  • Authentication processes should be in place for verifying wire transfers.
  • Emails that include private information such as bank details, credit card numbers or sensitive documents must be encrypted.
  • Data must be backed up off-site.
  • Regular audits should be conducted to ensure that all publicly accessible information is being monitored and secure.
  • Rules concerning the opening of links and attachments should be in place and reminders of these rules regularly shared.
  • The use of personal accounts or devices for work resources must be intensely discouraged, and access to these items over vulnerable connections like public WiFi forbidden if not accessed through a secure VPN.

Are there alternatives to using email?

One easy means to avoid much of this risk is to shift internal communication and document sharing functions off of email as much as possible, into systems that are secure and encrypted, that ensure you don’t need to worry if seemingly normal communications are actually entrees to theft. In this way, data can be unquestionably protected and user errors eliminated. Many risks are poorly understood. Sharing documents through personal accounts opens a wide window to exploitation that many don’t understand; emails can easily be forwarded without the original senders knowledge. If vigilance is still necessary it’s simpler to shift work out of risky channels to the greatest extent possible.

By shifting internal communications onto an external platform you are handing over an important job of security onto an expert that has the necessary knowledge and experience to focus on the task at hand – securing your precious data. The software chosen should store all data and user activity on servers with the latest encryption technology in data centers that are ISO27001 certified. Remembering that threats are ever evolving, it is vital that your service provider constantly re-evaluates for threat and regularly stress tests their platforms by asking external security firms to try to penetrate systems at least once a year.