What does cybersecurity mean to your agency? You might have visions of robot guards or nightmares about expensive technologies. In reality, cybersecurity does require effort and technical know-how, but it isn't as out of reach as you might imagine.
What is Cybersecurity?
According to CSO, "Cyber security is the practice of ensuring the integrity, confidentiality and availability of information." Your insurance agency needs to consider cybersecurity for at least two reasons: 1) you need to protect your clients, and 2) your employees and the internet are fallible. Vulnerabilities exist within your staff, and they also exist within computer code and within the systems that store your data. Cybersecurity processes attempt to work with these vulnerabilities to make your information systems less prone to attacks or mistakes. This protects the insurance clients you work with and helps ensure that their information is safe.
What Does Cybersecurity Entail?
Cybersecurity doesn't always need to involve complex processes. In fact, a lot of cybersecurity involves what CSO calls "cyber hygiene." It's like sweeping the floor, doing the dishes, or washing your hands. These are activities that you do frequently to keep yourself and your home clean, and the same applies to cybersecurity. To keep your data safe, you can adopt practices such as:
Changing passwords and making them complex.
Having practices in place to deter staff from responding to phishing emails.
Keeping information about clients in a secure location online.
Keeping information in a secure real-world location. For instance, don't store that information on a single computer that would be the first to be grabbed during a break in.
Is Cybersecurity Complicated?
Some elements of cybersecurity go beyond the basics. It's best to work with cybersecurity professionals to do a checkup of your company's data so that you can make sure that you are as secure as possible. For instance, you should think about:
Network security. How secure is your network, and what have you done to monitor that network for intrusions and encrypt your data so that it is safe?
Cloud security. You might store some information in the cloud. How have those companies done their due diligence related to cybersecurity?
The security of your own website. If you have applications on there that engage with clients and collect data, you'll need to ensure that all of these are very secure so that clients can trust that their questions and information will go to the right hands.
The security of your objects in your office. For instance, if you have a printer or another device that sends wireless messages, how safe is that object and other smart objects?
Is Cybersecurity a Risk in the Insurance Industry?
While anyone can be hacked, is cybersecurity a real risk in the insurance industry specifically? Unfortunately, the answer is yes according to ITR Portal: after concerted attacks on the financial sector resulted in heavier security, "Rather than halt their activity altogether, many of these stringent security measures have instead prompted cybercriminals to shift their attention toward what they perceive to be "softer" targets, such as insurance companies." Any organization that collects a large amount of personal information from clients could be a target.
At American Agents Alliance, we strive to help you learn more about how to protect your insurance agency. Visit us to learn more about cybersecurity and other ways we can help you protect your business, such as agency E&O insurance.