Hard facts on adviser software

Financial advice, like any other business, is not immune to the march of technological progress. Unlike some other sectors, however, IFAs have to deal with sensitive and confidential information and they need to keep it secure.

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Cybercrime is a growing threat, and the perpetrators are increasingly out to steal funds, so it is vital that IFAs take steps to protect both themselves and their clients.

Storing data

Data is at the heart of things, and it is vital to know where it is stored and how it is protected. There is a growing trend toward storing information in the cloud, and it is important to know where the actual servers are located and what steps are in place to protect the data both at rest and in transit, such as encryption.

Good data handling practices are also important. If advisers are taking data home to work on, laptops and flash drives need to be encrypted, too. There is no point in making the central database safe but allowing information to be exposed elsewhere.

Communicating by email is commonplace today, but it is a method that is vulnerable to targeting by cybercriminals. Advisers need to use email, but they should take steps to ensure that they don’t share too much. If confidential information has to be exchanged electronically, it should be done using a secure file transfer service or simply by notifying the client that a document is available to access via a portal.

Mechanisms should also be in place for dealing with end-of-life data. When a client ends their relationship with an adviser, their information needs to be disposed of safely. Measures need to be in place to control access when employees leave the company, too.

How much detail?

Typically, back office systems for IFAs from suppliers such as https://www.intelliflo.com/ will require a certain level of information about the client in order to work. However, there is a fine balance to be struck between collecting enough information to serve the client’s needs and holding data just for the sake of it.

Consider how much information is actually needed and hold only that amount, but also take steps to keep the information up-to-date. Checking regularly with clients that their data is current is key to avoiding errors in communication and keeping marketing and other messages relevant.

Eco-Friendly Kitchen: How to Freeze Your Food Without Using Plastic

The kitchen is the hub of the house, where everyone gathers to sit and chat, eat and drink. But are we keeping our food products in a healthy way?

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Most kitchens around the country will have a variety of food containers and methods of storing food: plastic is probably the most popular. Our freezers are packed with plastic containers, plastic zip bags and cling film, but most of us are not aware that these items are not very eco-friendly.

Hot Food

Never put hot food or liquids into plastic containers to use in your microwave or store in your freezer. Heat can break down plastic and release chemical additives into your food and drink. You can, however, store cold or frozen food in plastic as long as the containers are not too old or scratched in any way (as exposure to the chemicals in plastic may be greater when the surface is worn down). Hot food for freezing should be cooled in the refrigerator and frozen when chilled.

Plastics

Don’t reuse single-use plastics, as they can break down and release harmful chemicals. Plastic wrap is single use and plastic zip bags have a fairly short life.

Foil

Foil is safer for your health and more eco-friendly than plastic wrap. It is also reusable. Be careful not to cross-contaminate food – if it’s used for chicken or other raw meats, throw away after use.

Glass

Glass is an ideal, safe, eco-friendly way to store food, both fresh and frozen. It’s non-toxic, recyclable and lasts for years. Make sure the glass containers you use are freezer-friendly; old glass jars will break more easily than new ones. Choose straight-sided jars and not ones that narrow towards the top. Never fill the jars right to the top – leave room for expansion. Only use metal lids that are plain metal on the underside and not white plastic.

Appliances

The eco-friendly kitchen should be an energy-efficient one. Many appliances are now available with an energy-star rating, including stoves, dishwashers, freezers and refrigerators. Solid door refrigeration, available from https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/solid-door-refrigeration is used in commercial kitchens and is energy rated for maximum efficiency – an important factor when running a business.

Let’s all do our bit, make more effort and stay healthier as we contribute towards saving the planet.