Cybersecurity’s on everyone’s lips in light of Optus’ September ‘22 data leak. And rightly so. After all, data breaches, compromised passwords and sensitive information breaches can have serious consequences for businesses, including financial planners.

It’s safe to say that us paraplanners handle some mighty sensitive information, too. Naturally, we’ve become experts on keeping files airtight.

Ready to do the same? Here are 5 cybersecurity tips for financial advisors to carry into 2023.

Some definite cybersecurity nopes

As paraplanners, cybersecurity plays a role in our everyday. And whether you know it or not, it makes a regular appearance in yours too (hello!). After many years conversing with clients on the World Wide Web, we’ve come across a selection of cybersecurity nopes. While your intention may be harmless, it’s those lurking on the other side of the screen we need to look out for.

Cybersecurity tips: what not to do


🙅‍♀️ Click shady links

🙅‍♀️ Email login details to others

🙅‍♀️ Store passwords in a spreadsheet

🙅‍♀️ Download files from suspicious emails

🙅‍♀️ Use the same password without two-factor authentication

🙅‍♀️ Use ‘free Wi-Fi’ (it could be a personal data thief in disguise)

With these definite don’ts out of the way, let’s pop open the cybersecurity tips to keep your firm safe in 2023.

1. Use a Password Management System

Busy Financial Planners like you are hard at work, growing a team and managing staff. So sharing passwords (whether your business’s or clients’) is common practice.

Same goes for paraplanners. That’s why when clients share passwords with us, or we share passwords internally, we always use LastPass. This free password management system means we can safely share and receive encrypted passwords without them being visible. There’s also the option to turn on two-factor authentication to shake security up several notches.

lastpass screen text that reads password management from anywhere

With LastPass you can:

✓ Safely share passwords

✓ Safely store passwords

✓ Create stronger passwords

Other password management apps to check out are:

Fresh tip: Where possible, opt for complicated, generated passwords. LastPass makes it easy to auto-generate strong passwords for you.

2. Activate Two-Factor Verification

Two-Factor authentication (2FA) is one of our top cybersecurity tips and one that we use everywhere possible. So what is it? Good question! Two-factor authentication is an added layer of security that double-checks that the person using the information is who they say they are.

From an organisational standpoint, 2FA can be used on key systems like:

  • Gmail
  • CRMs
  • Office365 (logins and email)
  • XPlan

And that’s just for starters.

2FA will usually trigger a code or a box to tick on a separate device, in a separate application. Even SMSs or hardware tokens. When you set up 2FA you’ll be able to choose your preferred ways of authenticating. We recommend choosing devices you regularly have with you at work, for example, your phone (if you have a tendency to leave your laptop at home and land in a sticky situation #beenthere).

3. Store Data in Australia

There are two things you need to know about us. 1 – we love a refreshing fizzy drink. 2 – we store our client data in Australia. To be honest, this cybersecurity tip is too often overlooked or tossed in the two hard basket. But the reality is: on-shore servers are subject to high data management standards.

We know it sounds kooky, but all of your financial planning business’s online information is stored somewhere physical. And the security of your data depends on the security of that location.

Fresh tip: cloud systems often don’t have servers within Australia. That’s why we use OneDrive, which does.

4. Install Virus Protection

This cybersecurity tip comes as no surprise. Even the most old school of Financial Advisors will have heard of a computer being infected by some data-munching virus. If it happens in your personal life, its inconvenient and a bit ick. But in your organisation? Not only are you at risk, but your clients, too.

At our paraplanning firm, we use McAfee. This runs regular software updates and automatic scans, so our client files are protected by this invisible security guard ‘round the clock.

Mcafee screen that reads next level protection

With McAfee you can:

✓ Auto-switch on a VPN when on unsafe networks

✓ Protect all of your devices

✓ Shred e-files

Other antivirus software to check out are:

  • Norton: monitors the dark web for your information
  • Bitdefender: protects and speeds up device
  • AVG: six layers of protection from online threats

Your antivirus is like the squeeze of lime in your business’s refreshing cybersecurity strategy. And just like the perfect garnish, it brings all the pieces together. So not only are passwords protected in LastPass and extra secure with two-factor authentication, these security apps are then also protected from cyberattacks. How’s that for a cybersecurity tip?

5. Be Able to Wipe Physical Devices Remotely

No one wants their financial information in the clutches of someone whose up to no good. But especially your clients. That’s why our final cybersecurity tip is to be able to wipe physical devices remotely.

An unauthorised party (read: hacker) could get their grimy mitts on lost devices. And we’ve made sure that files can be wiped from all devices, even if they’re not accessible.

We recommend setting up a remote wipe to all financial advisory clients to make sure their data and their clients remains under lock and key.

Looking for a paraplanner who takes SOAs as seriously as cybersecurity? Right this way!