In the world of financial services, risk-taking comes as par for the course. But when it comes to safeguarding your brokerage firm or accounting firm’s vital data, you need to have a zero-tolerance for risk. Because of this great need, we offer compliance audit solutions to get you prepared for your next FINRA audit, which most assuredly WILL happen.
But, there’s no need to worry about it – if you have the right IT company fighting for your right to be in perpetual FINRA compliance, via the right security and data management tools, procedures, and practices.
You simply can’t take chances on downtime, compliance audits, and potential data breaches. You need a Managed Services Provider (MSP) like SymTec who specializes in IT financial security and compliance audit solutions that really work.
Know the FINRA Rules
As you may or may not know, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) regulates brokerage firms and exchange markets (and indirectly the accounting firms who also handle brokerage account data, which contains the PII, or Personally Identifiable Information of their clients).
FINRA’s primary goal is to protect investors by maintaining the fairness of U.S. capital markets, but it’s a wide net they are casting, which has raised alarm bells in the financial and accounting industries.
FINRA now uses a technology-driven model called CARDS (the Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System) to compile trading data from approximately 4,000 brokerages that serve over 110 million investor accounts.
CARDS automates and standardizes the collection of data that FINRA once accumulated manually. It uses big-data analytics to assess, in real time, where fraud occurs, and deploys tools that react automatically.
Why You Should Be Concerned About a FINRA Audit
Critics believe that this automated system has caused a hyper-regulated environment where the smallest discrepancy triggers a FINRA Audit. This is a reality that accounting and financial firms need to be extremely vigilant about, and all the more reason your organization should always be prepared with compliance audit solutions that keep your data protected on multiple levels.
FINRA fines brokerage firms and their representatives for violating rules and regulations. A data breach could result in a FINRA Audit and resulting hefty fines.
The regulatory compliance organization requires that:
- All sensitive data be encrypted.
- Networks are actively managed and monitored to detect and identify intrusions.
- Firewalls and application services are configured to minimize direct connections to the Internet (including databases).
If You Experience a Data Breach or Fail a FINRA Audit, You Could Be Hit with Hefty Fines.
The focus of IT for financial brokerages should be compliance audit solutions that result in successful audits, to mitigate data breaches. Almost every computer security decision you make should be based on being audited. Cybersecurity is a HUGE and growing focus of FINRA Audits and their decision-making factors.
Last year, FINRA fined several Wells Fargo & Co businesses, RBC Capital Markets, LPL Financial, and others, for a combined $14.4 million. They found that these financial organizations failed to secure hundreds of millions of electronic documents in a “write once, read many” format, which would have made it impossible to alter or destroy records after they were written.
FINRA said they are concerned about the security of the records because, in recent years, hackers have aggressively targeted financial brokerages’ electronic storage and databases.
They fined Wells Fargo’s securities and their prime brokerage businesses $4 million, and the bank’s brokerage and independent wealth management businesses $1.5 million. FINRA also fined RBS Securities, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Georgeson Securities Corp and PNC Capital Markets in amounts ranging from $2 million to $500,000.
Even a single lost file, or one hacked email, could result in massive financial and reputational consequences for your brokerage firm. Would you expect that your current clients and partners continue to work with you if they were unsure of the privacy of their financial data? —You can’t afford to risk this.
SEC Chair, Mary Jo White reported that cybersecurity is the biggest risk to the financial system today—It’s no wonder why—Outdated software and models for security have opened up a never-ending stream of monetary and informational theft.
You Need an MSP Who Understands Security & Compliance Management for Financial and Accounting Firms. You simply can’t do without experts managing your technology, cybersecurity, and data security. SymTec can help with one call to our national hotline at (800) 489-1706, covering you with compliance management anywhere in America!
Know Your Compliance Audit Solutions
FINRA recommends that you “establish a cybersecurity program to identify and assess cybersecurity threats, protect assets from cyber intrusions, detect why your systems and assets have been compromised, plan for the response when a compromise occurs, and implement a plan to recover lost, stolen or unavailable assets.”
Cybercrime has cost brokerage firms millions of dollars. Cases like Wells Fargo and others that appear in the headlines each week emphasize the need for:
- Regular risk and vulnerability assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of your current IT security technology and processes.
- The need to train your employees, clients, vendors, and others you do business with, to recognize data breach attempts, and how to comply with FINRA’s privacy rules.
- A comprehensive, multi-layered security solution implemented by MSP financial security experts (like SSE, Inc.) who will analyze your strengths and weaknesses, protect you from modern forms of cybercrime, and provide contingencies for when you are penetrated.
SymTec’s diligent security-compliance team can get this done for you.
Without the right defenses and compliance audit solutions, cybercriminals can easily infect your IT system with ransomware or other types of malware that compromise your data. Many MSPs only use antimalware. But, SymTec knows that you need a multi-layered approach to complete data security.
Our compliance management solutions include:
- All of your data backed up securely: Storing backups, both on-site and at multiple data centers, protects your firm’s data, and ensures that it’s accessible at all times.
- On-site encryption is also key: With encryption locally, in transit and the cloud, we’ll minimize your security risks.
- Business data restored quickly: Your brokerage firm must be available 24/7, and to limit downtime, must be able to restore data quickly after a disaster.
- A winning backup and disaster recovery solution will help you meet compliance regulations – Ensuring that your data is available in an auditable format helps you comply with FINRA regulations.
The good news is—You don’t have to handle this alone.
SymTec is here to allay all your FINRA Audit fears!
Our Accounting Compliance Audit Solutions Will Work for You!
Download our e-book, “Are You Ready for FINRA’s Automated Regulatory Procedures – Or, A Surprise Audit?” now to get a head start on better compliance management.
And, if you’re ready for a leader among business IT service providers who can help you with the right compliance audit solutions for accounting firms, then call our nationwide hotline at (800) 489-1706, or use our secure contact form to get started – and be well-prepared for your next FINRA Audit!