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Cyber-criminals are learning that the easiest way to get to your business’s valuable data and financial accounts isn’t by hacking your IT network code – it’s by tricking you and your employees into letting them in the front door.

Your employees must be trained as the first and last line of defense against cyber-attacks on their business and their clients, because that’s exactly what they are.

According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigation Report, the data breach attack method that increased most over the most recent seven years of surveys was social engineering, which more than doubled.

Social engineering, such as phishing, was involved in 17% of data breaches reported by the organizations Verizon surveyed in 2013, increasing to 35% in 2018. During that same period, the most prevalent attack method, hacking, actually decreased from 56% to 53%

This trend should alarm RIA and broker-dealer firm owners. Cyber-thieves preside over a treasure trove of sensitive personal and financial data. You’re a prime target because thieves believe your firm may be likely to transfer money in response to email requests.

Fraudsters exploit routine financial transactions. They prey upon your employees’ habits and emotions. And they’re literally banking on their ability to find employees who aren’t trained to spot their tactics.

Here are five ways to implement a cybersecurity awareness training program that protects you and your team members: