This article was written by Lax Oleg, VP Business Development at XCritical.
With the industry becoming more and more competitive, the importance of data security is of paramount importance to forex brokers around the world.
Forex brokerages accumulate a large database of clients that includes names, emails, phone numbers and more. This is a phenomenal asset because, as the saying goes, the money is in the list; and whoever has the best lists has access to the best clients. At the same time, competition between brokers is constantly increasing and some companies will stop at nothing in order to gain an advantage.
Unfortunately, one of the methods used by dubious companies is to obtain this information from other brokers – often using illegal methods that amount to nothing short of industrial espionage. In order to prevent this, data security solutions are the most valuable investments for brokers who wish to make money and keep the money they make.
Two common modalities are currently popular among forex providers. One practice is to entrust data management and security to a CRM system, usually operated and maintained by an external provider. While this increases the level of efficiency and technical support, it allows access to people which your company has not vetted and whom you may not even know. The second common practice is for brokers to develop their own CRM system – however this method has two main problems. First, as a broker, software development is not your core competence and outsourcing the development is expensive, and second, a proprietary system still allows too many employees access to this data.
At the end of the day, you need to make sure that your most valuable asset – information – is stored in a secured manner that leaves you with ultimate control over your data, and provides your assets with comprehensive, 360 degree protection.
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The most obvious need for protection is from external sources such as hackers and competing elements. To achieve this, it is necessary to isolate your data and employ stringent access barriers. In most brokerages, this is the job of the IT department, which prevents hackers from tapping into your network and database. Their work can be tremendously assisted by a CRM system that employs strict security measures, which can withstand potential hacking attempts by nefarious elements outside the company or within.
To further protect your information against external elements, it is advisable that you store your CRM system on a private server with limited access (for maintenance only). In addition, it is important to ensure that this access is always monitored and the information is encrypted, because unmonitored access is a loophole through which competitors can copy and trade your information, which is even more vulnerable when it is not encrypted.
Sadly, employees cannot always be trusted. This is why you must protect your information from within your brokerage as well as from outside. Unfortunately, many brokerages have fallen victim to employees that stole information from the CRM and sold it to the competition. In order to safeguard your data and information from internal threats, it is important to take the following precautions: first, configure your permissions, and allow access on a need-to-know basis only. This will ensure that the exposure of sensitive information is minimized to begin with.
Another measure that should be employed is to hide key user information. If the sensitive information (such as email addresses and phone numbers) is hidden then it is harder to steal. Finally, it is advisable to rely on automated CRM functions such as auto-dial (a.k.a ‘click to call’) instead of hand-dialling and messaging. This will not only streamline the workflow, but also prevent access to critical data and reduce the risk that one of your employees will sell this information to a third party.
With these challenges in mind, the solution for securing your brokerage’s data is complicated but not impossible. The ultimate protection for your brokerage’s data depends on a few features that will ensure optimal information security. First, it is best to employ a CRM expert that provides you with a state-of-the-art system, as well as service and development. Your CRM system should also be protected and secured by cutting- edge countermeasures: hackers are getting more sophisticated and so should you.
CRM security, important as it is, should not come at the expense of improving the invaluable services that the system provides, and an emphasis should be put on shortening processes and increasing efficiency.
At the end of the day, data protection is one investment in which you should not cut corners. You want a CRM that is installed and hosted on a private server that is under your exclusive control, and takes both internal and external threats into account without impeding workflow, efficiency, and productivity.