Fortified industry

Fortified industry

Fortified industry

The mortgage industry in Canada isn’t exactly renowned for its technological innovation, but one company is endeavouring to change that with state-of-the-art security for mortgage brokers.

Lendesk, founded in 2013, by Alex Conconi, is a Vancouver-based team of 35 that digitizes, and streamlines, the origination process for both consumers and loan originators with a specific focus on mortgage brokers. However, Lendesk’s security provisions are what make it stand out.

“We, the mortgage industry, are dealing with some really sensitive consumer information here,” said Conconi. “Whether lenders or brokers, we owe a big duty of care to people who provide us information to do business with us, so you need to invest in your technology with security in mind. The industry standard is called the SOC 2 Type 2 audit.”

There is a caveat to SOC 2, however, and it is cost. That tends repel smaller vendors, but Conconi says it’s worth every penny.

“It goes through all the non-financial controls of the business,” he continued. “It looks at all attack surfaces, like employees, physical location—everything. We do a few interesting things on the security side, like having security teams try to penetrate our system, we do daily scans, internal training for staff, and we employ a company that tries to phish our employees—even ‘vish’ them with voice calls to try to trick them—so it keeps our employees on their toes, but if they’re ever caught it’s reported to management. We take security seriously.”

He added that, luckily, there haven’t been any major breaches in the mortgage industry, given the growing inter-connectedness of today’s world.

“I think as industry participants, it’s incumbent upon all of us to build processes that fundamentally fortify the industry a bit better,” said Conconi. “An example of where it can go wrong quickly is when mortgage brokers don’t have a scanner available to them, so they go on a phone to scan documents. Scanners are few and far between these days, but mobile apps take their place, and the problem with that as a mortgage broker is if you’re out in the field scanning people’s private documents on your personal phone, like an iPhone, the document becomes part of your personal files synced with your home devices.”

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