During stressful times, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, how can you secure your insurance business? While you may have organizational strategies that work well for your insurance office when you’re there in person, once you are all working from home you need to revise those strategies. The issues that you’re grappling with regarding workplace security are different when your team is collaborating remotely from their individual home offices.
Securing Your Business
If your staff are working from home, that means that you will need to organize your physical office location to support this move. If you have a physical location, consider how you will organize and secure that business. You might choose to:
- Jointly hire security if you work in a building that has many businesses
- Remove valuables from the premises or store them securely
- Install a surveillance and alarm system, with prominent signage
- Keep some lights on in the office at night
- Remove materials that could be used to facilitate break-ins, such as rocks or building materials
Talk with your local business improvement association to start a business community dialogue about safety so that you are well-prepared for any concerns and can work together as a business community to protect your physical spaces.
Cybersecurity When Working From Home
While some businesses have few problems working from home, insurance agencies work with sensitive client information including financial information and information about a particular individual or family. This information must remain secure, even if your employees are working from home.
What are the risks? According to Comparitech, there are three main cybersecurity concerns for employees working from home:
- Employees might choose to use unsecured wifi networks.
- Employees will use personal devices and networks that are not as secure as work devices and networks.
- Employees could fall victim to scams that target remote workers.
Organizing Your Remote Work Space
How can you increase your security by organizing your remote workspace and your remote workforce?
- Work on security protocols and train your employees in these protocols. While everything might seem urgent right now, it’s important to take the long view and spend some time on employee training to prevent security disasters later.
- Provide work-related financial and organizational resources to facilitate security. For instance, if your employees require new antivirus software, give them the connections and financial resources to acquire this.
- Create ongoing times for work check-ins, and place security procedures on the list every time. Encourage employees to bring up new concerns that you may not have addressed yet.
Best Practices for Cybersecurity
As you develop practices for your new remote workspaces, here are some of the best practices that you should consider:
- Ask employees to use a password manager or improve their passwords.
- Request employees to have locks on all of their devices, just in case they are stolen or get lost.
- Check-in with employees regarding their antivirus software and firewalls. If necessary, reach out to your regular tech support team to ensure that all employees have these in place. Create an ongoing reminder to check devices and update security.
- Develop ongoing backup practices for data so that it’s not lost.
- If you need to send sensitive information in an email, look into specialized encrypted email providers.
- Request that employees use a VPN to encrypt their work when they are working for your agency online. Get them to change their router password and install any updates required.
- Train and notify employees about common scams such as phishing emails. In a global crisis, these scams may seem legitimate and relevant; however, it is still important to confirm whether or not they need to click on that link or open that attachment.
The US Small Business Administration offers training materials and information about small business security.
Cybersecurity isn’t like building a house – it’s like cleaning one. Every time you think you’re done, you need to do it again. Keeping a clean and organized online presence will help your insurance agency manage this time of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic with more ease and less worry.
Whether you’re looking for E&O insurance or other resources to support your small insurance agency, American Agents Alliance is here to support your independent insurance agency. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer your agency.