Mortgage Software Solutions Blog

Mortgage Lenders Look to MicroSecure Online Password Guidelines

mortgage lenders look to microsecure online password guidlinesBarbed wire, a chain-link fence, and a camera combine to provide a high level of security.

Microsoft reports over 10 million username/password pair attacks against their users each day. As one of the largest Identity Providers (IdPs) in the world, the company is in a unique position to recommend how to best handle cyber security.

The Microsoft user community’s updated guidance for secure password creation has been available since May 2016. Companies in the financial sector can follow Microsoft’s guidelines for password creation to ensure superior user security with their online mortgage software.

Here is the most up-to-date advice for creating secure passwords. Mortgage lenders can follow these guidelines to keep online account hackers at bay.

IT Administrators Are Responsible for Setting Password Parameters

Though users ultimately invent the password for their account, IT administrators play a role in regulating the end level of security. The parameters that a mortgage lender’s IT team sets for users will dictate how secure the resulting user passwords are.

Microsoft suggests:

  • Maintaining an 8-character minimum length requirement
  • Banning universally common passwords
  • Educating users not to mix the usage of passwords for work and non-work accounts
  • Enforcing registration for multi-factor authentication
  • Enabling risk based multi-factor authentication challenges

In the face of data collected at Microsoft’s cloud-based directory and identity management service Azure Active Directory (MS AD) login, other long-held practices in password parameter setting have been abandoned. Microsoft no longer recommends character-composition requirements and mandatory periodic password resets for user accounts.

In fact, these outdated policies were found to increase the facility of hacking username/password pairs. For example, users prompted to create new passwords frequently often default to choosing weaker passwords or making slight variations on old passwords to guard against forgetfulness.

User Tips for Creating a Unique Microsoft Password

With IT parameters in place, the ultimate creation of the password is up to the user of the online account. For mortgage companies using MS AD for their cloud-based platforms, these tips can be disseminated to loan officers to encourage cyber security within the company. In the case that a hacker gains access to a loan officer’s email, these tips can prevent the attacker from taking over other accounts.

Microsoft suggests that users:

  • Avoid re-using passwords or variations on a theme for various online accounts
  • Avoid single words (e.g. “password”) and commonly-used phrases (e.g. “mynameis”)
  • Avoid personal information that can be guessed such as pet names, favorite hobbies, or numbers from your birth date

By following these guidelines for a secure password, lenders can keep online accounts safe from cyber security events. This, in turn, protects the sensitive personal data of lending customers kept in online mortgage software platforms.

Further Recommendations for Microsoft Account Security

Beyond guidance for IT administrators and users, Microsoft offers common sense recommendations to all their partners and clients.

The tech giant’s general recommendations are to keep security information up to date, turn on two-step or multi-factor authentication (MFA), be careful of suspicious emails, avoid clicking on unfamiliar links, update all work-related computer programs and operating systems, and make sure to install and use regular antivirus applications on staff computers, tablets, and mobile devices.

With its place at the leading edge of MS AD surveillance, Microsoft has a particularly good vantage point to recommend useful and lasting guidelines for evading hackers. The recommendations offered are applicable for avoiding cyber attacks on Microsoft and other accounts with online access.

Financial institutions can protect their staff and customers by creating secure passwords and by implementing security measures like ABT’s Email Guardian designed specifically for mortgage lenders.

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Topics: creating strong passwords cybersecurity mortgage industry Mortgage Lending password

How to Safely Handle Personal Data on Mortgage Applications

How to Safely Handle Personal Data graphicA laptop, a book, and a smartphone on lockdown.

Mortgage applications require a huge amount of personal data.

Zillow’s educational post about mortgage application documents suggests more than 14 pieces of identifying data including an applicant’s social security status, employment history, income, and asset account balances. With a wealth of sensitive data, the potential for lenders as a target for identity thieves is extremely high.

In the post-Equifax regulation increase, it’s more important than ever for lenders to be careful with customer data. It’s the responsibility of financial institutions to keep their customers’ data safe.

Here are some ways that mortgage lenders can do their jobs while safely handling the personal data from mortgage applications.

Take Precautions with Customer Data

Lenders can do their part by informing customers about cyber security precautions they may be unfamiliar with.

First, encourage customers to send personal information via a secure online portal instead of email, which is susceptible to attack. To support transparency, lenders can publish privacy and security policies online where customers can access them easily. Finally, lenders should communicate to customers about what steps they are taking to protect their information.

This kind of open communication establishes trust and reassures customers that your company works hard to eliminate security threats.

Guard Against Phishing Scams

Beyond informing consumers, lenders can employ cyber security tools to guard against email-based attacks.

Hackers often send emails containing dangerous links disguised as normal work messages. The fake email messages can be quite sophisticated; using names and email addresses similar to people the recipient actually interacts with. This is called “phishing” and it is a type of email scam designed to make a person unwittingly provide information to outsiders.

Lenders should employ email safeguards such as EmailGuardian to protect loan officers from these phishing scams. This comprehensive cyber security product from mortgage software developers Access Business Technologies (ABT) uses multi-layered detection to identify suspicious messages and review incoming URLs for threats, spam, and malware.

Encryption Keeps Data Safe

Once email is established as a safe way for lenders to communicate, mortgage companies should amp up their data transfer security.

ABT offers another product called DocumentGuardian to give borrowers an easy way to send encrypted loan documents without having to register for an account. Customers should use this secure document drop portal to send all Non-Public Information (NPI) safely to loan officers.

The encryption feature keeps data from falling into the wrong hands by ensuring that only the correct recipient can decrypt the documents and access the data. By not requiring registration, lenders also avoid storing even more information that can be used to identify customers in the lending system.

Auto-Encryption Feature for Personal Data

With secure email and borrowers having a safe option for submitting personal data online, the final loophole that customers worry about is human error.

Though loan officers are knowledgeable about safety precautions and generally tech-savvy, everybody is human. People make mistakes. In the name of convenience and customer service, over 70% of mortgage lenders may be putting customers at risk by accepting loan application documents via unsecured email. The study cited speed and customer service as reasons for loan officers to bypass more secure channels. If they will take incoming data through secure channels, chances are outgoing messages aren’t completely on the level.

ABT’s EmailGuardian not only guards against phishing as mentioned, it also has an auto-encrypt feature that guards against accidental data breach by staff. If a loan officer inadvertently sends an email with NPI contained in the body of the message, the email will automatically be encrypted on its way out of the system.

This capability protects both the loan officer and the lending company from tripping up and creating unintentional liabilities.

The mortgage application process is fraught with security risks due to the amount and quality of personal data being collected for modern-day mortgage applications over the internet. Though ripe for potential breaches, mortgage lenders and borrowers can ensure the security of their conversations and data sharing by taking precautions and using cyber security tools developed especially for the mortgage industry.

With encrypted data, secure portals, and safety nets in place to handle human error, borrowers can have peace of mind that their data is safe with your company.

Visit Access Business Technologies to learn more about how mortgage lenders can successfully safeguarding their company and their customers’ data.

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Topics: cybersecurity security mortgage business mortgage industry

ABT Leads the Digital Transformation of the Mortgage Lending Industry

ABT Leads the Digital Transformation of the Mortgage Lending IndustryA laptop on the desk of a finance professional.

There is no slowing down for mortgage lenders in 2018.

Mortgage volume in the US is expected to grow and according to National Mortgage News, lenders increasingly view technology as a way to gain a competitive advantage in the growing market.

While some lenders embrace the efficiency that technology gives to the industry, a full 29% describe technology initiatives as a “necessary evil” of the industry.

Access Business Technology, a California-based fintech company, is determined to bring the industry up to speed and usher in the digital transformation of the mortgage industry.

ABT Deploys Quality Hardware & Software

Access Business Technologies (ABT) is a fintech consultant focused on technological advancement for the finance world. The company deploys both hardware and software meant to advance the technological capabilities of their clients.

For hardware, ABT deploys the Surface Pro armed with MS Office 365 for finance professionals who need the best tools for communication and collaboration. This combo provides a quality all-around foundation for finance-focused companies looking to standardize or reduce their device inventory.

ABT is also software developer with award-winning platforms created specifically for mortgage lenders. They have an array of software solutions for lenders that are up-and-running quickly while providing a seamless work environment for staff.

By working with a fintech expert like ABT, lenders save money and get a premium setup with premium service from a single channel.

ABT Provides Secure Cloud-Based Infrastructure

Quality software and hardware are not the only considerations for ushering in an age of technology in the mortgage industry.

Infrastructure also affects staffing. How can mortgage companies attract the best talent?

Flexjobs, a resource for remote workers, reports that workplace flexibility is becoming more important. From 2014 to 2017, the number of people who quit a job due to lack of flexibility has doubled.

Cue the new standard for business: the cloud-based work environment.

The cloud-based platforms that ABT offers to the world of fintech are a major solution to the increasingly remote work environment. Clients who migrate to the cloud don’t need to worry about scaring away talented finance professionals who demand flexibility.

Though the cloud is a relatively new requirement for finance companies, ABT has ensured that security is a first priority. ABT, with its finger on the pulse of the mortgage industry, has focused their fintech developments on cyber security and ensuring that data breaches are not a danger for their clients.

ABT provides cloud-based protection for Office 365 email from being hacked. ABT also provides a host of safeguards including multi-factor authentication, phishing protection on email, as well as encryption and security programs for lost or stolen devices.

ABT is the Mortgage Industry Tech Expert

With hardware, software, cloud-based infrastructure, and cyber security covered, ABT has set a new bar for fintech in financial institutions.

The push to remain at the cutting-edge of mortgage technology comes from an understanding of the industry. ABT knows that a quality tech setup gives lenders the ability to provide the best quality of service to customers.

ABT’s drive to develop quality solutions earned the company classification as a Microsoft Gold Level Partner. As a trusted developer for Microsoft solutions and the experience of deploying Office 365 in the mortgage industry, ABT is digitally enabling a newly mobile generation of mortgage workers.

Through integration and device support, ABT allows mortgage lenders to work even more flexibly and productively.

At the forefront of fintech, ABT hopes to continue the trend in the United States of increasing mortgage volumes by continuing to accelerate the industry along a full path of digital transformation.

To find out more about how ABT empowers financial professionals by using technology to transform the way they work, check out the Access Business Technologies blog.

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Topics: mortgage software integration multi-factor authentication cybersecurity mortgage documents security cloud storage productivity mortgage business data warehousing mobile technology Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Compliance Audit cloud-based data Housing Market Mortgage Lending

Why Cyber Security Comes First in the Mortgage Software Market

Why Cyber Security Comes First in the Mortgage Software Market

Equally important: physical security and cyber security.

The finance industry’s data-handling platforms have a clear bulls-eye on them.

The U.S. mortgage industry supply chain is considered a “massive target for information security breaches.” In fact, from 2015 to 2016 the number of data breaches in the United States went up by 40%.

Still, most mortgage lenders sidestep cyber security by shopping for software the old-fashioned way.

Functionality across platforms is comparable, but security is where the largest variation exists amongst current technology offerings. The regulatory and litigation atmosphere surrounding data breaches in 2018 is such that the best mortgage software addresses cyber security first and foremost.

Here is how the best mortgage software on the market is focused on security frameworks first.

The Weakest Link

Poor cyber security has a financial and regulatory impact. This, combined with the negative press of recent international breaches, is what the modern financial institution wants to avoid.

Though large institutions have tight security, an increase in automation and “digital mortgage” online customer interactions means that high-tech services are being farmed out to third-party vendors. Tools like business intelligence (BI) and machine learning (ML) also means data transfer within the industry is nearly constant.

Homebuyer information is especially ripe for hackers because it includes secondary digital assets like credit data.

Though big banks are heavily invested in keeping this data safe, the sharing of borrower data to smaller vendors has caused a disruption in the security systems. The immature security of these third-party service providers has created a weak link in a previously well-fortified industry.

Who is Responsible?

Though it seems like the third-party vendor is the one who should catch up to security norms, the tech newcomers are not being held responsible.

New legislation in the US holds financial institutions responsible for the security level of their third-party vendors—no matter where the data or breach originated from. When a smaller vendor experiences a security event, it is the large mortgage company that is on the hook.

Even if the company avoids catching the eye of regulators, cases of mishandled customer data have executed litigation of $201+ per recorded liability.

Cyber Security Solutions

The solution is to rein in weak spots by employing cyber security technology that goes beyond the traditional server model. It should cover gateways, third-party access, and employ strategies that keep an eye on common but unsafe tech-related practices.

A tech developer called ABT offers a cloud-based platform called MortgageWorkSpace that ticks the right boxes.

ABT works exclusively with the mortgage industry to develop software solutions for lenders and third-party financial institutions in the home buying industry. With the functionality of the lending platforms in place, ABT leads mortgage tech by focusing squarely on cutting-edge cyber security.

Above all, MortgageWorkSpace provides a secure gateway to access lending data. It employs multi-factor authentication and monitors system email use to fend off phishing as well.

Despite increased accountability, mortgage lenders can keep the company name and customers safe by shopping for a platform that puts security first.

Advanced Cyber Security Features

With market demand high, on-board security features distinguish better platforms from those that add build-out security capabilities as an afterthought.

ABT has a built-in consumer protection feature called Remote Desktop which gives mortgage lending employees a cloud-based real-time file management system. Offering functionality to the user, this feature actually prevents the storage of data on local PCs. This Dropbox-like feature means that the employee’s desktop is not only updateable from anywhere, but that files containing sensitive information don’t get downloaded out of the system where security is weakest.

Lenders shopping for top mortgage software should keep an eye out for features like the Remote Desktop that combine user experience with security in a way that is seamless.

Developers who have security at the forefront of their business model will also provide crucial non-tech extras for lenders.

ABT gives clients a written information security policy that outlines the software’s parameters and security compliance rules. This type of documentation may have been overkill in the past, but is increasingly required by state and federal law for legal operations in the U.S.

Though most software shoppers understandably look at usability first, the consumer financial sector increasingly puts cyber security front and center.

Mortgage broker software is no exception. Platforms should have a full range of built-in cyber security solutions, usability features that incorporate digital protection without being clunky, and advanced features that provide extended protection as regulations become more stringent.

As a target for hackers and a trend of increasing legal accountability, cyber security is now the main consideration in the mortgage software market.

Check out the full range of ABT’s security-driven mortgage business products on our website or contact us to learn more.

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Topics: Hosted Software options Mortgage Servicing in the Cloud mobile security mobile device security email security data security mortgage company security financial data security social networking safety phishing multi-factor authentication Business Intelligence cybersecurity mortgage documents security data warehousing

4 Ways Loan Management Software Improves the Mortgage Experience

4 Ways Loan Management Software Improves the MortFinancial management software makes everyday interactions smoother for mortgage lenders.

Mortgage software has relied on legacy infrastructures and paper processes for far too long.

In almost every other sector, interactions between banking institutions and customers have moved online.

Web-based transactions for commerce are increasing annually. In 2017, global e-retail sales amounted to 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars and projections show a growth of up to 4.48 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021.  As retail transactions migrate away from brick-and-mortar, the rest of the banking world plays catch up.

In the mortgage world, loan management software offers lenders high-tech solutions to keep them on the cutting edge of the finance world.

Here are the 4 ways that loan management software improves the mortgage experience.

  1. Centralized Access to Document Management

Cloud-based domain services store data on the cloud instead of on a localized server. This gives mortgage companies access to business-critical data from virtually anywhere. Office PCs, employee-owned laptops, and even mobile devices can capitalize on business opportunities anywhere that lenders are interacting with clients.

Loan management software like MortgageWorkSpace (MWS) offers a “portal” or single point of entry to all employees with internet access.

Users can synchronize their user settings and application settings data to the cloud, providing a unified experience across their devices and reducing the time needed for configuring a new device.

Lenders prefer the speed and breadth of information that online-based software provides. When lenders have quick access, customers get quick responses and customer service is perceived as fast and convenient.

Not only does this portal make remote work possible, but it keeps things secure as the mortgage industry embraces the remote working environment.

  1. Improved Security for Client Data

This single point of access protects company assets through multi-factor authentication, ensuring that data remains secure.

Further cyber security measures are managed using Windows Defender, an anti-malware component that keeps intrusions at bay for all devices joined to the MortgageWorkSpace network.

With MWS, there is a cloud-based firewall protecting the devices joined to your lending company’s network as well.

When security events do happen, this software gives the company the ability to remove company data from a mobile device or PC via remote access. This means that even if an employee’s device is stolen, the mortgage software keeps sensitive personal and financial information safe from hackers. 

  1. Effortless Compliance

Running parallel with cyber security, this software handles compliance regarding data security without needing to purchase, integrate, or maintain separate compliance software. MSW has what the industry calls “built-in” compliance features.

Other compliance issues faced by the mortgage industry are included in MSW. Documentation, record keeping, document expiration, and record retention are all features of this platform. This means that lenders using this software are always prepared for an audit without the last-minute scramble.

 In comparison to wider umbrella software, this platform is specifically built and maintained by developers who know the mortgage world.

Developed by California-based ABT, the company is an industry leader and watches the horizon for mortgage legislation that will affect their product’s performance. Lenders using MSW can be sure their software is not only up-to-date with compliance but that it will on boarding the most important finance trends as they happen.

  1. Integration Builds Capacity

Though compliance features are built-in, the platform remains flexible so that your lending company can utilize applications that give a competitive edge.

The Mortgage BI (business intelligence) dashboard powered by Microsoft gives unrivaled visibility to company data. This leads to data-based business decisions that improve the bottom line.

Analysis isn’t limited by this platform’s own BI capabilities though. MSW is vendor neutral so it integrates with loan origination systems, CRMs, Saas apps, on-premises networks, and plenty of proprietary software that makes business run more smoothly.

The days of paper-heavy processes for buying houses are numbered.

Developers are producing these sophisticated platforms that make the mortgage process better.

New financial management software is cloud-based, safe, and expandable. Customers can now enjoy a seamless experience thanks to platforms that give mortgage lenders speed and flexibility in their work.

Good software means agile lenders, which in turn means happy customers.

Does your mortgage company have outstanding software that improves this end-to-end experience?

MortgageWorkSpace is the award-winning business solution that mortgage lenders need. Learn more by visiting ABT.

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Topics: mobile device security email security data security phishing multi-factor authentication Business Intelligence cybersecurity Mortgage BI mortgage documents cloud storage productivity mortgage business mortgage industry cloud-based data Housing Market Mortgage Lending disaster recovery MBA

Cyber Security Seatbelts Save Digital Lives

digital seatbeltsWear a seatbelt—navigate your cloud-based systems with safety in mind. 

“Safety first.”

It’s a pretty easy idea to agree on. We all think safety is important.

So what do we do when customers say we aren’t being safe enough?

2017 saw the largest consumer data breach in world history. Equifax made international headlines for a breach that exposed the personal information of as many as 143 million people.

As Equifax knows well, financial and credit-related information is extremely valuable to cyber criminals. Hacks of this kind need to be protected against.

Consumer Safety

After many years of unsafe automobiles, consumers were tired of dangerous cars. They demanded that the industry clean up its act to make vehicles safer. With a little help from activists, car makers complied.

With government regulations in place, riding in a car has changed. Now all cars are made with seatbelts and few people get into a car without buckling up.

The auto industry’s move towards standard safety precautions can teach finance folks a lesson about how to face consumer demand for safety.

Cyber Seatbelt

Safety precautions for automotive vehicles began with the simple safety belt.

The seatbelt of the mortgage industry is MFA security, which keeps data safe.

The safest “seatbelt” on the market, it’s time to implement multi factor authentication when your company migrates into the cloud.

For your staff, a cloud-based workspace makes work convenient and accessible. For cyber criminals, migration to the cloud means they have a doorway to try and break in.

Also known as MFA, multi factor authentication is a nearly fool-proof way to prevent the wrong people from accessing your company’s data.

MFA requires that employees accessing the cloud have to enter at least 2 forms of digital identification. MFA validates that the person logging into the system is who they say they are. Whether by a text message to their company phone or another form of ID, staffers are let in and hackers are kept out.

MFA is so secure, it has become the modern standard for financial institutions. It was adopted by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PSI DSS) in February of 2017. It was also listed as the standard for the mortgage industry in New York’s new cyber security legislation.

For any financial institution that works in the cloud, MFA is the first safety precaution that can protect both the company and consumers.

If MFA is the visible seatbelt, what are the airbags that provide safety behind-the-scenes?

Cyber Airbags

Email Guardian is a product developed by a US-based company specifically to keep financial information secure for mortgage companies.

Its main job is to watch business email. It checks URLs on incoming messages to watch for phishing attacks. It filters every link and tests linked sites to make sure they are clean. If a link is dangerous, this program catches it and breaks the link before your staff can click-through.

It protects companies from intrusion by providing comprehensive, multi-layered email security and content controls. A web-based application especially for financial institutions and big business, this application handles dynamic security precautions including email encryption and security tracking as well.

Just like how airbags provide a layer of cushioned protection for car drivers and passengers, this innovative technology provides layers of security to keep email hackers at bay and avoid catastrophe.

With MFA and Email Guardian combined, your company data remains out of harm’s way.

Lessons from the Auto Industry

Just as with unsafe automobiles, consumers are reacting to the Equifax disaster by demanding that something be done about info protection for credit companies and mortgage brokers.

Government regulators have begun to react as well. New York introduced groundbreaking legislation to regulate cyber security for financial institutions. Colorado and Vermont are following suit.

When consumers make an industry-wide demand, companies need to pay attention.

Since widespread consumer outrage over information leaks continues making news and influencing regulators, mortgage companies are wise to adopt security measures and establish a basis of protection for their customers.

In the same situation decades ago, auto manufacturers made serious efforts to improve consumer protection for their products. Today carmakers are seen by the public as one of the most safety-conscious industries.

Taking care of consumer data is important if lenders want to be seen in the same light in the future.

ABT’s cutting-edge Email Guardian application provides strict security breach protection and data leakage prevention. Contact us to learn more.

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Topics: Mortgage Cloud Services cyber security email security data security social networking safety cybersecurity security mobile technology mortgage industry HUD Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Compliance for Mortgage Companies Compliance Audit Housing Market network safety MBA

Why Mortgage Companies Need Built-In Compliance Tools

blog pic for Why Mortgage Companies Need Built-InBusiness data is available at your fingertips, but is it protected?

If your mortgage company isn’t talking about advanced data governance, you’ve missed the memo.

Mortgage companies around the world are facing 2018 with a regulatory backlash as a result of data breaches in the US and Europe.

Every company is scrambling to find the best cybersecurity options for financial data and figure out how to comply with stringent reporting regulations at the same time.

How can your mortgage company ensure that you are up-to-date with the newest industry standards in data governance?

Bolt-On vs. Built-In Data Governance

There are two types of compliance tools that financial institutions can use to follow the law.

Bolt-on refers to compliance tools that a business implements to interact with their existing computer-based financial systems.

Built-in refers to governance features that are part of the same computer system that they use to do their daily business activities including customer retention, storage, and database systems.

Bolt-on tools are a non-integrated option from the first wave of computer data compliance. Systems with built-in compliance features and built-in threat protection are the modern solution to meeting compliance standards.

Built-In Compliance Runs at the Speed of Business

The main issue with bolt-on tools is that they lack the visibility necessary to maintain compliance and keep moving at the pace of the company. For example, when working with outside vendors, mortgage companies are responsible for verifying vendor security.

The legal industry reports that using bolt-on tools can delay the on boarding of third-party vendors for up to 17 days and slow down overall revenue growth. Built-in options, due to being native to the system, move faster.

Built-ins can also coordinate with IT permissions on devices such as laptops and tablets used by third-party employees to access sensitive data. They offer high interactivity while bolt-on tends to offer single-process patches for cybersecurity issues.

As regulatory agencies push for never-before-seen requirements, bolt-on solutions don’t make financial sense anymore.

The True Cost of Built-On Compliance

Though switching to a new system is an investment, bolt-on solutions are actually more expensive in the end. The incremental investment is limitless; each new regulation requires a new patch.  

Instead, built-in systems work backwards by going all-in. They offer extreme security features that allow a company to scale back to the compliance limit.

Bolt-on solutions also cost man-hours. It creates busy work for employees who handle information instead of receiving a completed system report. When you factor in confusion and redundancy, the hours start to add up.

In the US, a time lag in reporting can mean trouble. New York State is blazing the trail for new cybersecurity regulations by mandating that mortgage companies have less than 72 hours to officially report a cyber attack or else face financial penalties.

With a built-in system, alerts are immediate and coverage is full from day one. Your financial services institution is protected from the risk associated with litigation and data breach.

Built-In Protection from Data Loss

ABT, a California-based company, has developed a platform for mortgage companies with built-in compliance tools called MortgageWorkSpace.

Systems like this take compliance out of employees’ hands and create strict policies that are enforced by the platform itself.

Since financial institutions are legally required to hold onto sensitive customer data for specific periods of time, a system like this allows the company to write the retention policy directly into the document management system. The system itself identifies, tags, and protects data for archive, even by custom query.

Integrated Security Features

Built-in systems have other data protection features that connect with employee activity.

For example, Felipe the Finance Director receives an email addressed from Ciara the COO but doesn’t notice that it isn’t from her company email address. Because the company email is integrated with the cybersecurity system, Felipe sees an alert that the sender’s email address is suspect and likely a phishing attempt.

Even if Felipe opens the email and clicks on an unsafe link, the system will take Felipe to a safe link where he is alerted again not to proceed. This type of security safety net is possible because built-in security can transparently see activity system-wide and isn’t limited to a single platform.

Built-in security tools helps catch phishing links, unsafe attachments, unsafe webpage links, malware, and spam so that breaches are prevented.

As data governance regulations increase in almost every global financial market, mortgage companies can remain compliant by implementing cybersecurity measures that are fast, transparent, complete, and save the company money in the long run.

The best way to meet these ever-rising regulations is to get outfitted with a platform that handles compliance as a built-in feature of the system.

MortgageWorkSpace is a business solution that allows mortgage companies to comply with full industry requirements regarding sensitive data. Learn more about cybersecurity for mortgage companies by visiting ABT.

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Topics: Mortgage Servicing in the Cloud Access Business Technologies MortgageExchange cyber security information security for mortgage companies DeviceGuardian MortgageWorkSpace data security mortgage company security financial data security multi-factor authentication Business Intelligence cybersecurity mortgage industry cloud-based data Housing Market

How to Protect Your Devices from Bad Guys

how to protectA businessman takes his work laptop home.

What exactly happens when a company device gets stolen?

Imagine that Richard is a loan officer for a mortgage company. He is behind on email and decides to take his work laptop home over the weekend. After a few hours at a coffee shop, he gets up to use the restroom. Two minutes later when Richard returns, the laptop is gone.

Are the files on Richard’s computer safe? If Richard has remote access to company systems, will there be a data breach? Can the thief access all of Richard’s accounts and client information? What exactly is at risk here?

Keeping Data Safe from Hackers

Stolen laptops are more common than you might think.

Kensington reports that over 70 million cell phones are lost each year and one laptop is stolen in the US every 53 seconds.

The laptop thief’s hope is that he can gain access to all the passwords and sensitive information contained in the device. Selling stolen data is profitable; the device itself is not actually the most lucrative part of the theft. Getting a corporate device would be like hitting the jackpot then, right?

Well, it all depends on what kind of data protection measures the company has in place. For financial institutions dealing with sensitive personal data on a daily basis, it’s important to have a system with the most cutting-edge cybersecurity features in place.

MortgageWorkSpace, a platform that won HousingWire’s Tech100 Lending category for 2018, is one such system.

With MortgageWorkSpace protection, Richard’s stolen machine will remain on lock-down and safe from hackers.

The Windows Operating System on Richard’s computer has a program that encrypts system and user files on the device called BitLocker. The laptop also uses Windows Defender Credential Guard, a security program that uses virtualization to isolate sensitive files and keep unauthorized people from accessing that system data.

In Richard’s case, the thieves have no choice but to wipe the machine and lose all the data.

Great. Richard’s data is safe, but it’s all lost. What is he supposed to do about work?

Getting Back to Work

Richard still needs access to his files and the computer programs that he uses every day to do his job.

To make sure that Richard can return to work, MortgageWorkSpace has an advanced continuity feature called “lost device re-provisioning.” This means that when Richard’s device is reported stolen, the system shuts down his previous portal and passwords. When he authenticates his identity on a new machine, he will have all the same data from his previous machine and full access to work-critical programs.

This is the beauty of a cloud-based system like MortgageWorkSpace. All the system files are located in the cloud and not on Richard’s local machine. He doesn’t lose even a single day of work because of his missing computer.

MortgageWorkSpace uses Richard’s corporate credentials and multi-factor authentication to identify that Richard is not one of the sneaky hackers and he is back into the system on a different computer.

Richard’s company has other strict security options to choose from. For the authentication process, the company can require a user-created PIN to identify him as an employee. Some modern companies are even switching to biometric identification like fingerprint and facial recognition technology rather than PIN numbers, which can be guessed.

Whether low-tech or high-tech, the key is to have multiple authentication steps that are difficult for hackers to duplicate so that sensitive system data remains hidden from the prying eyes of laptop thieves.

More importantly, Richard’s company doesn’t experience a system-wide data breach. Forbes Magazine reports that nearly 41% of the data breach events from 2005 to 2015 were due to lost and stolen devices.

Thanks to technology, Richard’s customers’ information is safe and the company’s reputation remains intact. That’s what’ the most advanced security system has to offer the mortgage industry. . While the security gates are keeping the bad guys out, people like Richard can stay productive and customers can stay safe.

For financial institutions, this type of lost device re-provisioning feature is essential for business continuity.

Businesses protected by MortgageWorkSpace don’t need to worry when a company laptop or mobile device is stolen.  Contact us to learn more about cloud-based mortgage and cyber security solutions.

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Topics: DeviceGuardian mobile device security mobility mobile workforce mortgage company security financial data security phishing multi-factor authentication cybersecurity security cloud storage productivity mortgage business mortgage industry Housing Market Mortgage Lending

Know Your Cyber Security Reporting Obligations

Know Your Cyber Security Reporting Obligations

New laws dictate how finance companies report security issues.

New York’s recent crackdown in state cybersecurity laws marks true reformation in the finance industry.

14 pages of detailed regulations fully outline the new accountability measures at Wall Street’s epicenter.

The regulations compel close to 10,000 financial institutions and 300,000 insurance licensees to put consumer protection before their corporate reputation for the first time in US history.

From a minor system access attempt by hackers all the way up to a full data breach, the new law saddles financial institutes with direct accountability to the state and implements a new standard in reporting for all mortgage loan servicers, banks, credit unions, and insurance companies.

For finance companies wondering how to conduct business in this new reality, here is a guide to the reporting obligations of New York’s new cybersecurity law

Governing Bodies

The first step of understanding the new obligations is to get familiar with the regulatory bodies of New York’s finance world.

The main authority on the new regulation is the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS).

In the past, financial institutions were regulated via voluntary frameworks and reported externally to DFS in few situations with undefined parameters.

Under the new law, DFS established immediate authority by requiring a DFS-issued cyber security Certificate of Compliance as a basic prerequisite for operating a financial company. This gives DFS the ability to discipline non-compliant companies by revoking their certificate.

Beyond DFS, the regulation stipulates the creation of internal positions for officers to interface with DFS on behalf of the company. This requirement pushes aside ineffective industry-based governing bodies in favor of a direct link.

Mortgage companies must designate a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for in-house enforcement of company security procedures. The CISO reports in writing annually to the company’s board and will be held personally, legally responsible in the event of a breach at the agency.

Reporting Obligations

The final piece of accountability addressed in the new law is a reexamination of security reporting.

A “cybersecurity event” is any attempt of unauthorized access private consumer information. In order to mitigate the effects of a security event, financial institutions need to disclose data loss when it happens. This gives consumers sufficient time to take protective action such as changing passwords or putting a hold on a compromised credit card.

In practice though, finance companies endeavor keep data hacks under wraps. They prefer to save face and avoid losing consumer confidence.

In September of 2017, the Equifax data breach made international headlines. Though not the largest, it is considered the worst data breach in US history due to the sensitive nature of personal data that was accessed.

Despite being aware of the situation, Equifax spent five weeks running corporate damage control before disclosing the leak. The company initially underreported the number of affected consumers as 2.5 million instead of the actual 145.5 million people whose private data was stolen.

This failure to disclose the full extent of the damage infuriated the public.

Lawmakers vowed to protect consumers against this type of cover-up. With Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at the helm, this is how the new regulations were written into law.

No More Cover-Ups

Now, the superintendent’s office places a strict time cap on security breach announcements. A company has no more than 72 hours to report any event that has a “reasonable likelihood of materially harming the normal operations” of the company. 

Since Equifax’s disregard for public safety, the law now stipulates that a data breach report is no longer the jurisdiction of the local supervisory body. Instead, reports of data loss go up the chain of command straight to the New York Superintendent’s office.

With a quicker turnaround time, consumers can be alerted quickly and efficiently through official channels about the breach.

Though basic requirements of the law have already gone into effect, the state of New York did allow time for mortgage companies to learn the law and implement it piece by piece.

According to the roll-out dates of the law, companies are required to be legally compliant with specific sections of the law on March 1 and September 3, 2018. The end of the full two-year transitional period and full compliance will be enforced by March 1, 2019.

For comprehensive compliance guidance and other cybersecurity solutions and, contact us.

Image: Visual Hunt

Topics: cyber security mobile security mobile device security email security cybersecurity security mortgage industry Trump Administration Housing Market Mortgage Lending 23 NYCRR Part 500 NYSDFS

7 of the Most Interesting Facts About Cyber Security

 

pic blog-1.jpgAs technology of cyber security advances, so does the technology of hackers.

A computer hacker is the name given to the tech-savvy folks on both sides of the internet battlefront. Bad guys or “black hat” hackers are the ones trying to break into computer systems, steal data, and install harmful software. The “white hat” hackers are cyber security heroes that develop ways to catch bad guys and stop malicious programs from doing damage. That’s interesting nomenclature, right?

The world of cybersecurity is full of intriguing tidbits that help us understand the dangers and how to protect ourselves from the black hats of the world. Here are 7 of the most interesting facts about cyber security.

  1. The number of cyber attacks is going UP not down. Though white hat hackers continue to improve, the total number of cyber attacks doubled in 2017. That’s according to the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), which has named 2017 “the worst year ever in data breaches and cyber-incidents around the world.” 
  2. Ransomware is leading the way in modern cyber security events. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that holds a victim’s data hostage until a ransom is paid. Instead of selling victims’ information on the black market, ransomware has established a way to make money off this stolen information directly from victims. The threat of ransomware is based on doxxing (publishing of the personal data) or blocking a victim’s online access to their own accounts.
  3. 91% of cyber attacks in 2017 started with a phishing email. Phishing is the practice of sending fraudulent emails that seem to be from a reputable company. When the victim clicks on a link or freely reveals their passwords or credit card information as a response, the phish is a success. The two best ways to avoid phishing attacks are to (1) never click unknown links and (2) never send sensitive information that has been requested via email.
  4. Cyber-crime damages will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion just a year ago. This massive amount of money represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history (2017 Cybersecurity Ventures).
  5. Financial organizations are the biggest targets of cyber attacks. Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Report breaks down the hacks by percentage: Last year, 24% of breaches targeted the finance industry, 15% were aimed at healthcare, 15% were retail, and only 12% of breaches occurred in the public sector.
  6. Mortgage companies are the #1 target in the industry because of the treasure trove of information that they require from customers. Mortgage companies hang onto more non-public than any other type of financial organization.
  7. 93% of breaches could have been avoided by taking simple steps, such as regularly updating software or leveraging modern cloud based solutions. Can you believe that breaches are easy to prevent? There is an old saying that “the best defense is a good offense”. It applies to the cyber security world too.

If you take the initiative ahead of time to set up clear security mechanisms, your company’s data systems won’t be attractive to bad guys.

What are the new standards for security? Modernized IT including updated password policies and Multi Factor Authentication. Cloud-based data systems are key for getting your company data off those old office servers. Sophisticated cloud-based email gateways configured especially for the mortgage industry to protect against email-based threats. These are the foundations for data security when it comes to financial institutions in 2018.

Be the cyber security leader in your industry. Make the changes before hackers make the first move on your company. When you aren’t an easy target, your data remains safe and your customers stay happy.

The best thing a business can do to keep those black hats at bay is to stay informed about cyber security by reading articles like this and use their knowledge to implement solid security measures before a hack occurs.

Businesses protected by proven security measures like ABT’s Email Guardian remain safe and receive monthly reports detailing security threats. Contact us to learn more.

Image: Pexels.com
Topics: Mortgage Software Reporting dangers of ransomware email security data security mortgage company security financial data security creating strong passwords social networking safety phishing multi-factor authentication cybersecurity security productivity mortgage business malware network safety