Everyone, it seems, is concerned about cybersecurity these days, and with good reason. Each week seems to bring a new round of headlines, making it clear that identity theft and criminal cyber activity have become persistent features of our lives.
The victims of cyber-crime can be wide-ranging, including governments, industry sectors, corporations of all sizes and individuals. The sources of cyber threats are equally diverse, originating from rogue nation-states, crime cartels, “lone wolf” hackers and even disgruntled employees.
As individuals, we know how important it is to protect our privacy. If we haven’t personally been the victim of identity theft or had sensitive data exposed in a major corporate data breach, the odds are that someone close to us has.
Institutions at all levels who are threatened by cyber-crime devote significant resources to hardening and continually evaluating their security. For example, it’s now common practice to employ “white-hat” hackers who perform penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities so they can be fixed before being exploited by the “black-hats” or bad guys. The lessons learned from these exercises are invaluable and help institutions enhance the security of their information systems.
Cybersecurity in the Retirement Services Industry
With trillions of dollars in assets to safeguard, the retirement services industry is now intensely focused on the issue of cybersecurity. It’s a challenge, because retirement savings plans will likely use and share their data with multiple third parties, including recordkeepers, third party administrators, asset managers, advisors and other providers – all of whom may have access to sensitive participant, beneficiary and employer information.
Recently, the Department of Labor’s ERISA Advisory Council, as well as other industry organizations such as SPARK, have begun to provide leadership in establishing cyber security standards for workplace benefits plans.
Cyber Safety Tips for Retirement Plan Participants
What can retirement plan participants do to protect their retirement savings?