Cloud security and compliance technology company OS33 is giving financial advisors free use of its Workplace device check and compliance software to help ensure their computers and networks are secure at a time when many are working remotely and often on unprotected networks. The company announced the move Tuesday in response to FINRA’s March 2020 Cybersecurity Alert pointing to unprecedented upheaval from the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in cybersecurity threats.
“The number of attacks we have been seeing and hearing about in the last three weeks has expanded down to even the small-advisor level—spoofing attacks related to insurance, texting attacks related to COVID-19, and many other types of attacks—it really got our blood boiling,” said Morley Ivers, president of Workplace by OS33.
Ivers said that his firm knew that the agency was calling for firms and their financial advisors to address the increased vulnerabilities to attacks when many are working in a home environment ill-prepared for the kinds of threats they are facing.
“One of the things our team realized when FINRA put out the alert was that advisors and agents would have difficulty identifying specific weaknesses themselves,” said Ivers.
A portion of his firm’s Workplace software already identifies those weaknesses, helping firms with independent advisors adhere to remote device security protocols. The software checks the compliance status of any computer being used to access client data and helps the advisors fix any lapses.
“Our engineers spent the last few weeks retooling and creating a light [software] agent they can easily download that checks for the 12 key security and compliance points identified in the FINRA alert,”
This resulted in the “OS33 here-to-help,” program announced Tuesday. Ivers said the Financial Services Institute has helped the company promote the free tool to its member firms.
“No gimmicks, advisors and agents can download and use it for free with no strings attached,” Ivers said.
“We see no data or information,” Ivers said, meaning that the software does not send any of the advisor or agent’s personally identifiable data back to OS33—though it does send anonymized data on the application's findings. Advisors downloading the app must provide their name and an email address.
OS33, founded 18 years ago, works with financial services organizations large and small, including Voya Financial and Guardian Life Insurance. It serves more than 7,000 individual reps, advisors and agents and more than 400 smaller RIA firms.
“We’ve invested a significant amount of time and capital in putting this program together,” Ivers said, “It has really been a selfless endeavor by our firm and engineers to do what is right from an ethical, moral standpoint, for those advisors working for their clients.”
"Ensuring that Main Street Americans can continue to rely upon their advisors and the protection of their data during this unprecedented time of market uncertainty is critical. It is encouraging to see solution providers get creative in how they can support and serve advisors and clients. We applaud Workplace's offer of free access to their cybersecurity tools," said FSI President and CEO Dale Brown in a prepared statement.