How Cyber-Secure is Your Insurance Agency?
If you aren’t concerned about cyber security threats, you should be. Cyber crime is expected to cost companies over $6 trillion by 2021, and smaller companies are just as vulnerable as big global enterprises—sometimes more so. Insurance companies are especially vulnerable, because they work with large volumes of sensitive client information. This means you have to be especially committed to protecting your customers’ data.
Cyber threats are new and constantly changing. Here are a few things you can do today to make your business and client information more secure.
Make sure all your software is up to date. You know those update alerts that sometimes pop up when you’re using software on your computer? Keeping up with those is important for security—as using the old version of your software leaves your data vulnerable to hackers.
Train your employees. Employees—even well-meaning ones—are often the biggest cyber security threat to companies. Your employees should be trained to use complex, unguessable passwords on all their work computers and devices; never let others use those devices; avoid public Wi-Fi connections; and spot the more subtle email scams, among other best practices.
Two-factor authentication. These services are available from many cloud providers for free, and offer a last line of defense in case someone gets hold of employee passwords. The system provides another layer of security and can work in a variety of ways—by texting or emailing a code to the employee, for example, or requiring a special USB key in addition to the correct password.
Redundant back-up protocols. You never know when ransomware will hit. This is a type of malware that locks up your system until you pay money. Ransomware has become a huge problem in recent years; one notable 2017 example, the WannaCry virus, spread to businesses and individuals in over 150 countries.
Malicious software like this will delete all your files if you don’t pay the ransom on time—often using obscure payment methods like Bitcoin. It’s crucial to have your data backed up securely in a place malware can’t reach.
Hire a security expert. Even small independent agents can benefit from talking to an expert about how to improve their cyber security. If you run a larger agency, it may be worth it to hire a consultant.
The consequences of a data breach are huge—both for your agency and your customers. Protect their data and your business by implementing these as first steps, and talk to an expert to find out how you can improve cyber security at your company. Hopefully you’re never targeted—but it pays to be prepared.