Hearsay Systems added biometric and PIN-based security features to its Hearsay Relate communications app for the financial services industry, the San Francisco technology firm said Thursday.
Biometric and PIN-based security make it easy for advisors to protect client data and communications, and also make Relate the “industry’s first solution to offer this high level of privacy and security across both iOS and Android devices for advisor texting and cellular calling capabilities,” the company said. The advisor workflow app had already been providing compliant voice and text messaging capabilities, it noted.
The new features provide “another layer of protection” to Android and iOS mobile devices running the app, which launched in October 2018, while also “advancing” the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s cybersecurity recommendations, according to Alex Falls, vice president of product at Hearsay Systems.
“Security has definitely been a big theme from our customers,” he told ThinkAdvisor, noting improved security was something they were looking for. After all, the “advisor-client relationship is certainly a fairly intimate one … so, protecting the content of that conversation” that they have is “key to both parties,” he said.
At the same time, “there’s been a push away from using corporate devices for communication” in favor of “BYOD – Bring Your Own Device” at many companies, he noted. Because employees’ own devices are outside corporate control in many cases, that “demands a heightened level of security within the app” because there’s been an increase in the number of hacking attacks on mobile devices, he said.
Which biometric method is selected will depend on which device the user has, Falls told ThinkAdvisor, noting many older devices don’t support facial recognition. And many older devices don’t have fingerprint security, either, so those users will have the “fallback option” of using a PIN, which he noted will be independent of the PIN users already selected for their devices, he said.
More secure two-factor authentication combining two of the three security methods is an option down the road when more devices become compatible. “Our stance is we’re going to be paying attention to what the market demands,” Falls said, adding: “Two-factor authentication is certainly on our list as something that we’re consistently watching to decide whether and when it becomes an investment that our customers are going to value. At the moment, we haven’t seen a big push for it. But, I think, the way that the direction of the world is going, we can anticipate that at some point, that’s going to become more of an interest.”