Our own Aaron Davis was approached recently by National Mortgage News for his thoughts about business disruption plans—a very timely topic. (Subscription required). It’s a great read, and you should check it out if you can. It’s a great reminder that business disasters can come in many forms. Cybersecurity is only half of the battle. Sometimes, even the most secure systems get breached by persistent and sophisticated criminals determined to get in. If you don’t have a flexible, updated, and robust business continuity/disaster plan, your cybersecurity plan could go for naught.
You may recall that, just a few years ago, our industry had a fairly robust conversation about cyber-security and business continuity planning when ALTA unveiled its Best Practices. For the title industry, SOC 2 and/or Best Practices certification became not only a security need, but a way of differentiating to lenders. Of course, not everyone went the distance with their planning, and the Best Practices, while welcome, did not get extremely specific. At the time, hacking, hurricanes, fires, and the like were considered the primary threats. Over the next few years, wire fraud became the dominant topic—something that, while definitely a threat that requires cybersecurity planning, really doesn’t dovetail with disaster planning or business continuity. And so, it’s quite possible that some of those who put together great plans then, but haven’t regularly reviewed and updated them since, have some weaknesses in their system today.
If you jump ahead of that original conversation five or six years to 2021, one pandemic and one massive ransomware attack now behind us, things have changed. Ransomware is now a widespread threat. Cybercriminals have evolved along with the systems designed to thwart them. Clearly, it’s time to revisit, dust off or, if you didn’t have one already, build a solid disaster recovery and cybersecurity plan.
You may not know this, but FAN had one of our offices damaged in a fire not long ago. You wouldn’t know it unless you were there or told by someone. That’s because we had a business continuity plan—updated regularly—in place. And our data was securely cloud based. So we followed our plan: leveraging alternate technology from an alternate location and resumed the work week seamlessly. Now, a cyberattack is a very different thing than a fire. But remember this as well: the most successful cybercriminals go for the easiest targets most of the time. Odds are, if you’re up to date with a professional security system and effective business continuity plan, you’ll be in good shape.
Conference season is one of our favorite times of year. Even the virtual conferences of 2020, although they didn’t have nearly the same appeal, were worth attending. But as we see society re-open for business slowly but surely, there’s no doubt we’re ready to hit the road.
You’ve heard it a thousand times before, but it’s really true. Ours is a relationship-based industry. We build our businesses on relationships and referrals. And those start at the face-to-face level. One meeting at a time. One conference at a time. One client at a time. Where better to meet new people and catch up with old friends than an annual convention?
There’s a lot to discuss on stage and in the breakout rooms, as well. A lot’s happened in the industry (not to mention the pandemic…) since fall of 2019. Heck. A lot’s happened since May, 2021. So it will be good to hear from the experts as well as hash it out over cocktails or coffee in the exhibit hall or hallways. You can’t always get the full measure of that in a chat room or a Zoom breakout. Again, we give a lot of credit to the organizations that carried on during the great lockdown. But we’re willing to bet they’re as happy as we are to get back to in-person events. After all, a Zoom happy hour has a lot more in common with drunk dialing than social networking, don’t you think?
This year, we’ve got our tickets in hand for the following events:
We’re heading to New Orleans for ALTA ONE (October 12 – 15).
And don’t forget NS3 in Florida (August 31 – September 2).
There will likely be more travel ahead for us, but this should be a fine start. We hope to see you at one (or both) of these great events!
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