The internet can be a tool to positively transform your business, but there are also dangers lurking online. From hacking to data breaches, the web can be a wild place, and your insurance agency could be at risk. If your agency falls victim to a cyber attack, this can spell disaster for your business. Smaller businesses can have fewer tools to protect themselves from a cyber attack and can be more vulnerable. Here's how to ensure that your site, your data, and your customers' trust remain intact.
1. Recognize That What You Have is Valuable
Even when you're small, your insurance agency still has data that's valuable to criminals. As an insurance agency, you work with information about peoples' homes, health, and financial status. You gather information to help you contact your customers and make good decisions about their risk factors, and it's this information that a criminal wants to collect. Small businesses need to recognize that they have valuable information and take their security seriously.
2. Update Your Virus and Spyware Protection
This step may seem basic, but a simple virus can bring down your website or transmit information to a hacker. Make sure that all of your devices are equipped with antivirus software, automatically updated, and scanned regularly to ensure that there are no viruses on your system. Implement upgrades as they occur. When you're creating a website, make sure that all of your pages are protected by a security application, not just the ones that process financial information.
3. Ensure That Your Employees Are Well-Trained
Employee training can help your team identify problems and work with information in a way that's as safe as possible. For example, employees should not store documents containing sensitive information on an unsecured computer or drive. Educate your employees to ensure that they're acting safely and in the best interests of your company when they're interacting on social networking sites.
4. Be Cautious With Passwords and Payments
A stolen password could be an easy entry point into your company's computer systems. Implement a company policy around password security to ensure that your employees use complex passwords. When employees are making payments online, they should use a computer that's different from the one used to download from the internet. Password safety is equally important when processing payments as well.
5. After an Attack, Do Your Due Diligence
If you've been unlucky enough to be the victim of an attack in the past, make sure that you contact the correct authorities and rectify the problems that caused your data breach in the first place. This can prevent future attacks from happening.
After an attack, you need to:
Talk with the relevant law enforcement agencies
Talk with your lawyer and communicate with your customers about the breach and next steps
Report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission
Ensure that you report any stolen financial or personal information to the Internet Crime Complaint Center
Talk with US-CERT about computer vulnerabilities
Work with your web host and designer to fix any problems that led to the hacking
Work to rebuild your reputation and let customers know that you are working to ensure that this will not occur again
Are you trying to improve your technology and increase your business success? The American Agents Alliance is here to help. We're an insurance association that provides networking connections, professional education, and discounted products. Learn more about our membership benefits today.