Genivity HALO CTO Interview | Financial Information Security

Today we welcome the Genivity CTO, Heesh Naim, to the Genivity blog to tell us a bit more about himself, explore his stance on security, and how he fosters growth within the organization. Heesh comes to Genivity with a wealth of experience in both enterprise security and startup growth. He worked for 12 years at Motorola in IT security and then spent time working with one of the fastest growing Insurtech companies, Snapsheet.

As the Chief Technology Officer, Heesh is the technical wiz that powers Genivity. But aside from all things technology, he also enjoys being involved in the other aspects of Genivity as a business. “That is one of the reasons I joined the team. I have the ability to be involved and integral to everything from driving individual product direction and decisions to proposing new products and solutions to driving the overall company direction and interacting with investors.”

Heesh believes that being well rounded allows him to make the best technology decisions to foster the growth and success of the organization.

He sees the Genivity HALO solution as an evolution of years of discovery, research, and development. That evolution will be ongoing in order to keep the solution at the forefront of the industry, offering both an easy yet comprehensive solution to planning for health expenses in retirement. Part of that evolution will be the creation of complementary and augmented solutions, providing an option to meet the financial planning needs of every client, advisor, and organization.

Security has been a focal point for tech companies, especially in the fintech sector, in recent years. Heesh has worked tirelessly to ensure user security for HALO users, as he views ” cyber attacks, data breach, and unforeseen outages are amongst our top security concerns.”

The first two of which really revolve around privacy, meaning that customer data is anonymized and protected. Heesh and the Genivity team as a whole go to great lengths to ensure this privacy as it is designed into our solutions, gathering mostly non-personally identifiable information, yet still specific to give the best-personalized recommendations.

“Behind our solutions are also a host of security mechanisms in place to detect and prevent a data breach. We also utilize an auto-scaling, geo-redundant, cloud-based solution to protect ourselves from unforeseen outages.”

The foundation of a secure system begins with the client. As such, there are several things financial advisors should be aware of as they think about the security and privacy of their client information.

Heesh believes there are two major aspects that provide the foundation for the security of a financial advisement practice. First, the vast majority of financial advisors are utilizing 3rd party software to enter, pull in, or aggregate financial information for their clients. Your overall security is only as good as your weakest link. If any of those aggregation points is insecure, all of the data is vulnerable.

“The second follows the concept of the weakest link, where my message to the financial advisor would be, don’t be the weakest link. The majority of information leak or data breach is due to someone taking information from a secure environment and housing it in an insecure environment. For example, a printed document that isn’t disposed of properly or sending secure information over insecure channels. Don’t open suspicious emails, don’t store sensitive information insecurely on your laptop, overall educate yourself on best practices for your information and apply that to your practice.”

Beyond security, Heesh sees several other areas at the top of the Genivity development list.

“Modularity/Extendibility of our solutions is a big concern in the development of all Genivity products. We are trying to create a baseline solution that plugs a significant gap in financial planning software today, however, there isn’t a one size fits all type of solution that will work across the board.”

In order to meet these needs, it’s of Heesh’s view that we must develop our product to be agile in the way it can fit with current and future financial planning solutions. We are creating a suite of options that an advisor or organization can customize the solution to best plug into their systems and fit their needs.

Genivity could have a profound effect on the financial advising industry because of our focus on health and how it relates to wealth and a client’s legacy.

“Our solutions help the industry by providing smarter data-driven recommendations that better prepare their clients for retirement. Naturally, the financial advisor industry is recommendations based. The difference is our recommendations center around health and longevity and branch outward from there when traditionally the approach has always been financed based. To me, our approach seems very intuitive as the saying goes “you have nothing if you don’t have your health,” and the data shows the largest unforeseen costs center around health issues, so how can you create a plan you have confidence in if you aren’t taking into account the “heart” of the plan, pun intended.”

Heesh urges everyone he interacts with to talk to their financial advisor about how health and longevity are factoring into their future. If they don’t have a good answer, ask them about HALO from Genivity and let them know that you want to take into account your personalized health outlook when planning for retirement.

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