Approximately 43% of all cyberattacks are on small businesses, and, in 2020, 12% were attributed to finance and insurance industries. In the age of digital insurance, your independent agency is part of that vulnerable small business group. And, this threat increased since the COVID-19 pandemic: researchers report a 30% increase in cyber-security breaches since the pandemic hit.
As a particularly vulnerable industry, insurance agencies must be mindful. The volume of files processed daily and the sensitive information contained in each mean insurance agencies are increasingly at risk. Yet, KPMG found that only 43% of insurance executives said their organization was protected.
Is your agency taking cyber attacks seriously? Here are some ways you can start.
1. Provide secure infrastructure
Cloud-based systems – most notably agency management systems – are the fastest, most accessible tools. Yet, cloud-based systems are also increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. Keep your agency safe with up-to-date hardware and secure cloud hosting. Consider using a VPN to keep information protected at all times, especially when accessing data outside the office.
2. Train and re-train your staff
Humans are by far the weakest link in cyber-safety. Shockingly, anti-virus developer McAfee found that only 30% of employees receive cybersecurity training. Without training, your staff can create multiple cyberattack vulnerabilities each day. Train employees on elements like identifying and reporting suspicious emails and test them regularly with fake attack attempts. As tech advances rapidly, so too do cyberattacks. Continually train your staff to stay up-to-date on the latest threats.
3. Use anti-virus software
While your staff may be well-trained to spot cyber attacks once they reach them, they cannot see what is going on behind the scenes. Anti-virus software can identify threats before they make it to your inbox or server, offering a sophisticated level of protection. As you keep your staff training updated, do the same with your anti-virus software. Be sure to download updates to add new protections against emerging threats.
4. Use more and complex passwords
Your agency processes sensitive information daily. Each time you access personal data, you should enter a password. The more often you require passwords to view information, the better it’s protected. Establish guidelines for these passwords, requiring them to be as complex as possible and less vulnerable to hacks. Enhance protection by requiring passwords change frequently and remind employees not to share their passwords with anyone, including their coworkers.
5. Employ back-ups
Whether it’s a cyberattack or a power outage, you need back-ups of all your agency data. If you find yourself unable to access your primary server, you want a secure back-up to rely on to keep your business moving.
6. Vet your vendors
You and your agency can do everything to combat cyberattacks, but if you partner with a company that’s vulnerable to attacks, you are, too. Work only with vendors that take cybersecurity seriously and understand how to keep their – and your – information safe. Ask questions about their cyber protections, back-ups, and disaster recovery plans. You want a partner that cares about your data just as much as you.
At Partner Platform, we value security to keep our agencies protected. And, we know enough to recognize we’re not the experts in everything: that’s why we partner with highly-vetted Partner Allies to keep us at the expert level.
On our secure, cloud-based infrastructure, we employ redundant back-ups and multi-character password protection on our host servers. We understand that cybersecurity measures change frequently, so we regularly train and test our employees on cybersecurity measures. We value providing a high-quality agency management system experience that’s also well-protected.
Want more security resources? Check out our partners at ACT. And, find out more about our other tech partnerships and get connected to see how the Partner Platform management suite can bring you speed and security. Contact us at [email protected] or click here.