Amid rising fears about the number and nature of cyber security threats, the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) is forming a volunteer working group to help develop an industry-wide approach to cyber security.

The IIAC is calling for volunteers to participate in a new working group devoted to the issue. The industry trade group notes that the investment industry is a “prime target” for cyber criminals, given the type of sensitive data that it deals with.

Yet, it also says, “Our members’ level of cyber security and preparedness for an incident varies widely.” And, it warns that, given the interconnectedness of the systems and common service providers in the investment industry, these differing levels of preparedness “leaves the industry exposed for an incident that could have a significant impact on firms, clients and the industry’s reputation.”

Since firms have different approaches to cyber security, and vastly different resources available to deal with it, the IIAC says that it is “initiating a project to assist members in the development of industry-wide cyber security plans and processes.”

The first step in that is forming an industry working group to assess the challenge of cyber security. It’s expected that the group will then meet with experts in various areas, such as firm-level security, insurance, and forensics “to help flesh out what tools, templates, services, education and support is needed”. The IIAC says that it also plans to work with the U.S. industry trade association to benefit from its experience in this area.

“This is a very important project for the industry, as the threat level is high and the damage that can be done by cyber criminals is significant,” it notes.