Benjamin Franklin once said that distrust and caution are the parents of security. While some might label this type of thinking as paranoid, in most situations a little caution never hurt anyone — especially when it comes to insurance agents protecting the client data that is accessible on their mobile devices.
Insurance Best Practices for Protecting Data
Switch to a fully hosted agency management system like Partner XE
- Secure servers housed off-site at an impregnable data center, internet and server firewall data protection, encrypted communication, secure logons and more protect the data that is stored in your agency management system from natural disaster, server failure and people (honorable or not) that don’t have authorized access to the system.
Go Paperless: Move to an encrypted digital document storage system
- While paper files are very difficult to safeguard from theft, prying eyes or natural disaster– in an office environment or on the go – documents scanned and stored within your agency management system have the same security protection as the rest of your data.
Recognize that a laptop or other portable device can be lost, stolen or infringed upon
- Keep Passwords Secure – Protecting data starts with the basics. Take measures to ensure that passwords are not shared, publicly known or readily accessible by anyone who knows where to look. This may sound simplistic but don’t keep your password in your briefcase, on a “sticky note” on your desktop, in your planner, your desk, your PDA or anywhere else that someone else may find it. The best thing you can do is to commit it to memory. The greatest security risk to your data is a person with the right password.
- Keep Partner XE User Permissions Tightly Controlled – Authorize access only as necessary. Usually you want at least one backup for each role but don’t allow access that is not absolutely needed for a person to do his/her job.
- Remember to Log Out – While the data stored in Partner XE is password protected, if you remain logged into the system when you walk away from the computer, anyone can access it. Best practice then is to always log out of the system when not in use. (We talk Partner XE here because that is what we sell, but this advice would apply to any password-protected system that houses personal information.)
- Keep Data in an Encrypted Space – When confidential data is stored directly on the laptop outside of the agency management system it can be susceptible to theft. Examples of things that might fit into this category are completed forms, scanned documents, etc. Best practice then is to save this type of data in encrypted space. To create an encrypted space you can use a program like the very good (and free) TrueCrypt. You can also encrypt your entire hard drive, although that will likely slow the performance of your machine. Encrypted space does not slow performance.
- Use Security Software – Yes, when you use the Partner XE agency management system we make sure the data in your system is protected with internet and server firewall data protection, malware protection & anti-virus, weekly security patch updates to Windows and internet and server firewall data protection. This does not, however, impact data saved outside our system. To protect that “external” data, we also recommend that you use one antivirus program, a spyware scanner regularly and keep your PDF reader (usually Adobe Acrobat Reader) updated and on the latest version. Don’t over-do the security software, it often conflicts with other programs and can, if overdone, slow your PC to a crawl.