Technology
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7 Million Dropbox Accounts Compromised
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 13:01

Tags: data breach | dropbox | security issue

Due to a breach in account security, all Dropbox users are urged to immediately change their password.  An anonymous hacker has leaked 420 usernames and passwords, and claims to have nearly 7 million in total.

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Dropbox claims their security has not been compromised, but instead the stolen usernames and passwords occurred from a third party service.  However, they have been quick to act and expired the passwords for the compromised accounts.

 

Since most people use the same logins and passwords for multiple services the hackers now have access to even more of your personal information.

 

Here are some tips on how you can avoid this happening to you:

 

Network Attached Storage (NAS) Device - Today’s NAS devices use an app that allow them to work just like Dropbox and is our top recommendation.  This is a secure private device that sits in your office that your employees can share files on.  The information stored on these devices is backed up, encrypted and stored online, in a very private and secure environment, and is only accessed in the case of a disaster. 

 

2-Factor Authentication – This two-step process uses something you know and something you have.  A hacker can steal your password (the something you know) but they cannot steal the something you have.  2-Factor Authentication should be enabled on all of your programs that contain any sensitive information. 

 

Different Passwords – You should always use different passwords for all of your programs.  This includes all social media sites, banking sites and computer logins.

 

Password Manager – Using a password manager, such as LastPass, eliminates the need for you to enter your password into all of your programs and applications.  A password manager encrypts and stores all of your login information.  Should a hacker gain access to your computer, he will not be able to see the passwords you use.

 

Any data breach will hurt the company experiencing it.  The company’s reputation will be ruined and their clients’ trust will be broken.  Make sure you take the appropriate steps to keep your information safe.

 

To read more:

http://www.businessinsider.com/dropbox-hacked-2014-10

 

http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/14/dropbox-pastebin/

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Advisors and Technology Can Restore Trust
Monday, October 06, 2014 16:36

Which industry does the public rank among the least trustworthy? According to the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, the general public has fairly low confidence in the overall financial services industry, with a vote of only 48%. This figure decreases to 46% with regard more specifically to asset management. Yet, research by the CFA and Edelman shows that when selecting an investment professional, investors care most about whether they can trust him/her to act in their best interest. Achieving high returns was cited only half as often and fee amounts only one-fifth. However, for a long time, people believed that high returns were what mattered most to investors.

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In the coming years, the primary challenge for the financial services industry will be to enhance trust, which has been greatly shaken in the recent past. This challenge is significant given services are intangible and as a result difficult to differentiate from one provider to another. Thus, services can only be evaluated once they have been rendered. And as investment professionals provide a service whose future gains are difficult to predict, investors’ risk perception is magnified.

 
While the finance industry is having difficulty generating trust, the Trust Barometer shows that the general public trusts the technology industry more than any other, with a vote of 78%. According to Edelman, the tech sector has earned this trust by being a transparent, innovative and reliable steward of personal information.[1] Thus, the financial services industry can greatly benefit from incorporating technology into its services in order to make them more tangible to investors.
 
PwC also suggests that financial services companies can benefit from collaborating with proven technology companies since the general public places a high degree of trust in the latter. “Technology will play a key role in cost efficiency by 2020, providing stronger investor management and client relationship management capabilities,” reports PwC Asset Management 2020, while adding “technology is a necessary cost, reducing overall asset management costs to asset management firms, particularly when using outsourced technology solutions.” This trend is also seen within wealth management firms. With plans to outsource more of their technology infrastructure, they regard improving client relationship management software, portfolio management and investment advice tools as priorities for supporting advisors, according to the PwC Wealth Management Survey.
 
Having steadily built their credibility over the years, established technology firms who are working in close partnership understand the issues facing financial institutions. Their solid foundation allows them to reinvest a significant portion of their revenues into research and development, which are very important in an environment of constant innovation. “Only the providers offering the best technology, and those on a sufficient scale to keep investing in new developments, will survive.”[2]
 
Moreover, proven technology firms can help financial institutions align technology with their business growth priorities, quickly adapt to changing client demands, and comply with increasing regulatory requirements. Furthermore, today’s technology enables remote access to information, integration with third-party solutions for enriched data access and easy interface with corporate solutions. Advanced technology can increase the client experience, providing investors with a holistic view of their assets—a feature that is particularly important for high net worth investors.
 
A sophisticated technology will enhance the credibility of investment professionals by providing them with reliable tools that improve transparent and flexible business practices. This is very important, since credibility is one of the only quality-related criteria that can be evaluated before receiving a service.
 
Additionally, as the quest for differentiation and operational efficiency through technology continues, “the demand for a seamless, integrated, and tailored solution for each customer will drive technology for asset managers in the future. There will be an emergence of strategic technology activities, […].”[3] Hence, advanced technology tools will enable investment advisors not only to demonstrate their credibility, but also their value in offering personalized advice and solutions.
 
Financial services companies can carve out a competitive advantage through their client relationships as service brand perception is influenced by the quality of a company’s relationships, services and reputation. According to PwC, “Going forward, trust, reputation and brand will all play a greater role in client propositions and client perceptions of value”.[4] A brand assures customers of consistent quality services, which is extremely important when offerings are based on experience and trust, as in the financial services industry. It is therefore crucial that companies providing financial services build a trusted brand.
 
How, then, can the financial services industry restore investor trust? Without a doubt, it must call on proven technology providers. Financial advisors must also take on a bigger role because they are the ones who establish trusting relationships, create lasting connections and support the industry.
 
The value of financial advisors is priceless. They make a difference in investors’ lives, they empower them to achieve true financial independence, and with every interaction with their clients they build trust.
 
 

 

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Office 365 Is The Most Sophisticated Tool To Take Your Practice Into The Cloud
Monday, September 08, 2014 11:26

Tags: advisor technology | cloud | IT security compliance | microsoft | technology

The business world is migrating to cloud-based operations and you should follow suit. The most sophisticated system for small businesses is Microsoft’s Office 365, and it also offers the best compliance system for financial advisors.

This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only


 

In a new webinar on Advisors4Advisors, Office 365 expert Robert Clark goes into detail about what the subscription online service offers and how it can help you take your practice to the next level.

 
“It’s essentially the same software…used by the largest companies in the land, and this capability and power is now available and affordable for small businesses,” said Clark, who is managing principal of LucidPointe, a member of the Microsoft Office 365 Partner Network. As a Microsoft partner, Clark helps small businesses and professionals such as accountants and financial advisors set up and implement the Office 365 system. Clearly that means he believes that Office 365 is the best cloud productivity product, and I agree with him. He shares his own research in the field in this wide-ranging webinar.
 
What Is Office 365?
 
Office 365 gives you a full IT infrastructure that provides you with the familiar office software that we are all most accustomed to, Word, Excel, etc. A very important point: Each of these software programs is updated continually and automatically, so you no longer have to worry how it looks when you use out-of-date programs and applications.
Another major point: IT headaches such as virus protection, backup and maintenance comes with your monthly subscription. Speaking of which, subscription costs range from $5 per user per month to $22 per user per month, depending on the range of services you need.
 
Office365 runs your e-mail and provides a variety of team-based collaboration programs and communications apps such as high-definition videoconferencing. Since everything is uploaded to the cloud, you can access your files and applications from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection, even from a friend’s computer. The subscription also allows for syncing among five different devices per user, from PCs and Macs to iPhones and Androids.
 
Increasing Productivity
 
Clark offers several examples of how you can use Office 365 to increase productivity in your own office. For instance, the OneDrive program fosters teamwork by making it incredibly easy to share documents. Once you’ve uploaded or edited a document, just click “share” and type in the email address of anyone you’d like to share it with. That person will receive an email with an easy-to-click link that will take them directly to the document.
 
 
Another example is the online version of Excel. Type in some data and the program will actually recommend the right type of chart for you to use!
 
 
 
Finally, Microsoft is working hard to keep up with new trends in communications and collaboration: Office 365 includes an app called Yammer, a social network for private enterprises similar to Facebook. Young people coming out of college today expect to work together through online social networks, and Yammer keeps your company on the cutting edge of that trend. Office 365 also offers a website development program that allows you to set up a public-facing website.
 
Taking Care Of Compliance
 
Regulated business owners such as financial advisors must always be concerned about compliance with regulatory mandates, and Microsoft has designed Office 365 with that in mind, Clark notes. To start with, all information is encrypted, both as it travels from your devices to the cloud, and as it’s transmitted between data centers. Microsoft also allows you to set up:
  • Multi-factor authentication, meaning access requires more than just a password.
  • Expiration dates for passwords.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) measures, such as flagging emails that appear to contain credit card data.
Rating And Comments
 
Clark received an average rating of 4.2 for the webinar. Comments included:
 
“Would like to have Mr. Clark’s insight to “ongoing” training for Office 365 for RIA firms.”
 
“Good, needed information. Thank you.”
 
“Would like to learn more about his services.”
 
“Needed more info on custom apps like ACT and Portfolio Center.”
 
“This material and presentation was very interesting and informative. Andy was correct in his assessment of the importance of knowing about Office 365. Presenter did not come across as “salesy” as some indicated, at least to me. On the negative side, I did begin with Exchange Online earlier this year, and the support was disastrous at Microsoft. They were unable to do anything to assist, I was passed around to countless people here and overseas, and ultimately, I had to hire an independent consultant.”
 
“Very good presentation.”
 
“Lame.”
 
“Yes. However, I would have appreciated more information re compliance. RIAs are required to do offsite backup. Does the Microsoft 365 meet this requirement?”
 
“Would have liked to have some cost issues discussed.”
 
"Andrew, this was excellent. Thank you for finding experts like this and thanks for putting that guy in his place that asked for the end of the sales pitch. While the presentation leaned to Microsoft Office 365, anyone who is making the decision has every right to hear from the Google rep also.”
 
“Great job!”
 
“Good information, but questionable objectivity.”
 
“Great help on this issue. I would have like to see a live walkthrough of the software though.”
 
Some of the presentation was a sales pitch. I was looking for more education to clear up the frustrating and confusing presentation MSFT has on what appears to be a very good product.”
 
“Too much time on elementary stuff, most of us understand the basics of the cloud. Too much time on Google vs. MS, and not enough time spent on the guts of the software.”
 
Geared a little too much toward people that aren’t big technology users, it seemed, which is fine, but not as appropriate for me or my firm.”
 
“It was vague.”
 
“I could not tell if there was any difference between the business 360 and the home 360 except for Exchange on the business 360. (I do not require Exchange. My broker/dealer provides that service.) What is the difference between Lync and Skype? I actually have a home Office 365 account. I wanted to know if I was missing something not having the business 360. I still don't know the answer to that question.”
 
“Excellent! Just what was needed. Thanks Andy.”
 
“I do (respectfully) think that it was too one-sided. Convictions are what they are, but there are certain relevant facts that could (should) have been mentioned such as integrations w/Android and/or iOS devices. To suggest that Google is the loser on every important point is just not being objective.”
 
“Not be construed as disrespect! And I do appreciate the time that both of you put into this. I just like hearing pros and cons to any proposal. All I heard was pros and pros about MS 365.”
 
 “Very informative and very current.”
 
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Profiles In Success: Efficient Wealth Management
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 20:14

Welcome to the first in a series of industry content designed specifically to help independent financial advisors better manage and profitably grow their firms.

This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only


Brought to you by Total Rebalance Expert (TRX) and Orion Advisor Services, Profiles in Success spotlights notable advisory firms and showcases how they are providing outstanding client service, driving efficiencies and creating a scalable business by leveraging leading edge technology.

Efficient Wealth Management is an excellent example of how advisors can harness technology to create an efficient foundation and differentiate their firms in a crowded marketplace. In this white paper, Paul Carroll, CFP® of Efficient Wealth Advisors shares how his firm was able to grow and scale through the effective implementation of trading and portfolio accounting software. 
 
TRX and Orion have come together to create an integrated and complete portfolio management and rebalancing platform that is driving the success of firms like Efficient Wealth Management. We invite you to learn more by logging on to www.trxpert.com and www.orionadvisor.com.
 

Download the article at http://www.orionadvisor.com/advisor-finds-trading-efficiency-scale/.

 
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Amazon Fire Phone Looks Like A Cool New Choice And Will Probably Help Us Solve Everything With An Amazon Purchase
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 22:26

Amazon has entered the mobile phone device market, which is great news because Amazon is a great for shopping online and its foray into hardware with Kindle devices has been good for consumers and competition. Moreover, with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos now in control of The Washington Post, you can see how Amazon is well-positioned to sell almost anything, make hardware and deliver original news content.

 

This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only


 

 

 

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