Business Article

 

Encrypted Files Essential for Debt

By Mark V. Matz
Collection Law Firms and Agencies Chief Marketing Officer of Viking World Corp
President of the National Board of Collection Attorneys

Who would have thought the operation of a successful collection law firm or debt collection agency would be using tactics, terms and technologies that recall the era of a Cold War spying operations or a James Bond movie?  Welcome to 2012!  

Today, it is especially important for collection lawyers and agencies to comply with regulation guarding securing information in force and pending at the federal and state levels.  Keeping up with technology to maintain records has always been a part of the industry.  We are using the latest software on continually faster and computers holding more data.  Most of us are equipped with the latest communication devices and actively participate in online social networking.  

Often, we are accessing our most sensitive files from virtually anywhere, including free Wi-Fi hot spots as we work more remotely than in the past.  Data that has always been confidential; but it is now increasingly being deemed sensitive and protected through legislation enacted across this county and the world.  The advance of technology means that a little flash drive can hold more data than rooms full of computers from when many started in business a decade or more in the past.  Think of how much information (both personal and professional) resides in your smart phone, ipad or laptop that leave the security of your office every day.  

We’ve all heard or read about major companies having their security breached and hackers accessing files with personal data and credit information.  While huge companies offer criminals enticing targets, what would happen if your firewalls were breached? Collection law firms and debt collection agencies possess a wealth of payment information for debtors they are collecting from and their clients whom payments are forwarded.  The industry has been highly targeted by those trying to break into files or simply con the business by creating false information on fake claims.   

Data encryption is quickly turning into the newest form of insurance that all entities dealing with other people’s money need to be using.  Encrypted backup data will provide protection against your files being stolen and possible contributing to identity theft and other compliance violations. If you are in violation of these government regulations, the government can impose huge and costly fines which quite possibly result in bankrupting your business!  There are a variety of data encryption applications to fit the needs of any user so just sitting back and wishing to be spared is not a viable solution – it is an essential requirement to maintain the integrity of your information (and your clients’ as well).   

Encryption was developed to achieve privacy.  It is the process of scrambling a message so that only the intended recipient can read it.  How it works is best described by the technicians, who develop and upgrade the process, but suffice it to say that it is a highly complex and sophisticated practice to secure information that is so easily transported today via the expanded network of internet communications. 

As the need for security rises exponentially; so has the need for encryption to secure the data in commercial debt collection agencies and law firms.  There are a number of providers, all whom each business should thoroughly investigate before making any decisions to use (many easily found through an internet search).  One such company is BizGuard (www.bizguard.co) which was originally designed for the financial and healthcare industries to comply with their stringent rules and regulations.  Some of the points and questions to ask which they provided that will help your law firm or agency when reviewing choice for an encryption service are:

 

1)      Compliance needs both an on site and off site encrypted backup system

2)      Be sure the company you select can easily accommodate the size of your files

3)      How often is data backed up or is it automatically set?

4)      Will the backup affect your staff’s use of the files?

5)      Is the solution protecting your data & meeting the best practices standards?

6)      Check to see that the encryption technology military grade?

 

Insurance has always been a part of the efficient management of any law firm or collection agency working in the debt collection industry.  Being sure your information and that of your clients’ are fully secured is probably one of the best practices anyone practicing in the industry today should be using to the fullest extent.


Meet Mark V. Matz

Mark V. Matz - began working in the broadcast media for WGN Radio and Television in Chicago, IL (a part of the Tribune Company) back in the late 1970's as part of the team on the then number one rated radio program. He later worked in the station’s Sports Department working for Baseball Hall of Fame Broadcasters Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray and Lou Boudreau - before moving into the Finance Department at WGN, reaching the title of Credit Manager in 1986.

Moving beyond broadcasting, he went to work in the credit industry on the association side of the business before branching out to provide marketing services to a number of members of the industry ranging from attorneys, collection agencies and law list publishers. Mark served on staff as Marketing and Membership Director for the CLLA and remains active with the association; including serving as Co-Chair of the National Marketing Committee and on the Midwest Regional Executive Council. He also served on the Creditors’ Rights Executive Council, as Secretary of the Association of Law List Publishers and in various positions on other CLLA and Commercial Collection Agency Association committees. Mark has written numerous articles and spoken at a number of educational programs on marketing, finance, credit and collection issues during his thirty-plus year career.

Currently, Mark is the Chief Marketing Officer of Viking World Corp, the parent company for many businesses which provide marketing opportunities for collection and legal entities throughout the United States. Mark is also pleased to serve as the President of the National Board of Collection Attorneys, a membership based organization which provides maximum web exposure for its elite collection attorney members through the utilization of premium online marketing and promotional techniques. 

 

 

 

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