The US government created Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the fall of 2004 and its message remains important twenty years later. This is a great time for individuals and businesses to consider their cyber risks and how to mitigate them. As an independent agent or broker, you have to think about your agency’s cyber security and also that of your policyholders.
Use our checklist to review your cyber safety and security and share your tips with your policyholders to help keep them safe online. Awareness is the first line of defense when it comes to cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Tips for Independent Agents and Brokers
Update your agency’s digital security this month by following our top cybersecurity tips. You can also share these ideas with your policyholders to help them stay safer online.
Use strong passwords.
This tip almost seems too simple to work, but it is effective. Make it an agency requirement to use strong passwords and to update them often. People should avoid using the same password for different systems. Try a password management program to help create strong passwords and store them securely.
Enable multifactor authentication.
If a program or app offers multifactor authentication, turn it on. Many banking and financial apps use it along with other agency management sites. Multifactor authentication means using a password plus another form of verification to log into your account. It could be a text or email message with a code sent to you, a biometric identifier like your fingerprint or retinal scan, or a changing code from a token you own. Microsoft says accounts are 99.9% less likely to get hacked if users enable multifactor authentication.
Stay on top of software updates.
Update your software regularly and as required by the manufacturer. When the developer pushes updates to your software, they may include fixes for known or attempted breaches. If you do not stay up to date, you run the risk of being vulnerable to attacks. Follow recommended update schedules and work with your software vendors to maintain SaaS products your agency relies on.
Train your staff.
People can fall for phishing and other social engineering schemes, even when all the technological safeguards are in place. All it takes is one person to click a link or to believe a fraudulent email looking for protected information to put your agency at risk. Train agency staff regularly and be sure to include cybersecurity training in your new employee onboarding. Ask staff to report phishing attempts and reward them for their diligence.
Back up files regularly.
Duplication is a basic risk management technique. Just like you would make a copy of your house key, make a copy of your agency files, and store them in a secondary system. Regularly backing up your data and encrypting it helps if your accounts do get hacked and you lose access. Having a recent backup copy that you can access separately means you won’t lose time or money buying back your information in a ransomware attack.
Become a Member of the American Agents Alliance Today
Try these five cybersecurity tips at your agency and share them with your policyholders. Cyber-attacks can be costly so keeping up with these tips can save you time and money. Become a member of the American Agents Alliance to learn more helpful tips like this.
Join today for valuable member benefits and exclusive access to our network of professionals to talk to about agency cybersecurity and all your other independent agent challenges.