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September 22, 2017
Cyber attacks are intrusive and becoming a greater threat each year. Companies are investing millions of dollars on safeguards to protect their data, but hackers seem to find ways around every new technology developed. Corporations and the government are developing white kits, protocols, and safety seminars dedicated to the detection of actions that compromise the security and integrity of corporate data. Homeland Security has looked into a Cyber Incident Data Repository to keep track of all invasive attacks, so corporations can sift through the code and determine how their companies are getting hacked. Insurance companies have become prime targets. The amount of client data they store is considered ripe for the picking by cyber thieves, and IT outsourcing is starting to look like the only way to protect that data.
Insurance companies are not just full of data on procedures and policies. They have very intensive information on every client; social security numbers, medical information, bank accounts, assets, and much more. This information is what cyber thieves are after. They use the information for identity theft, fraud, and other criminal activities. Information needs to be prioritized in order of importance. Data used for day to day functionality of the company may not be as important as patient data, or even data on employees stored on HR servers. When prioritizing and evaluating your security needs, consider the following:
Once you have compiled all this data, then you need to ask yourself the all important question; is it worth it? Many insurance companies are relying on IT outsourcing to handle many of their security needs. Mainly, backups and data recovery are the most used options for security assurance. If the data can be restored quickly and efficiently, then it practically stops ransomware attacks, which is one of the biggest threats to the insurance industry. Learn more:
Firewalls and antivirus programs will only get you so far. There are several types of security breaches; employee theft, viruses, and spyware are the ones that top the list. Most data thefts are the result of employees clicking on a link that uploads spyware to the network, or they go to a site that uploads a virus. Whatever the case, most breaches are employee related. It is important to have protocols set in place to educate the importance of not searching sites not authorized, and not reacting to unknown emails. One good measure is to have your IT department require administrator privileges to install any .exe file onto any computer and make sure those administrative rights are only usable by IT.
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If you do decide to outsource your IT department, then make sure you talk backups. Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey illustrate what can happen during a natural disaster and a solid ransomware attack can be similar. It is not only important to have all your data backed up, but, it should be backed up in more than one location. If there is severe flooding or an earthquake, then you do not want your local data and your saved data in the same geographical area.
Although cyber security threats are not typically considered part of a disaster recovery plan, they should be. Some ransomware attacks not only encrypt your data and hold it for ransom, but there is no way to know for sure that the virus has been removed. The only sure way to know it is gone is to wipe out all your servers and back them up from a previous time.
Get the informaiton you need, buy the book ‘Easy Prey: How to Protect Your Business From Data Breach, Cybercrime and Employee Fraud’.
Choosing an IT outsourcing solution also allows you to receive specific monitoring tools that would normally cost you a lot of money. These tools can monitor your bandwidth and potential threats, but more importantly, they can keep track of user preferences and sites they have visited. Depending on the degree of security you want, you can see every keystroke or clicked link by every employee. The purpose of these monitoring tools is not necessarily to spy on your employees but to be able to trace where a threat originated from. Subscribe to the TOSS C3 blog to find out more about IT outsourcing and all its benefits for your insurance firm.
One of the biggest problems in security is that companies do not want to be inconvenienced by the processes of over protection. Longer passwords are stronger, period. All CAPS, no caps, and added symbols once made hackers expand their coding, but those days are gone. Hackers now use code-embedded-dictionaries to find common words. However, the longer the password is, the more possible combinations there are, which makes the password more difficult to hack.
Some companies keep a focus on making it more convenient for users by allowing shorter, personal passwords, and have users add a symbol at the end. This type of convenience mentality leads to increased risks and the end result may be that hackers are allowed into your servers. Don’t become a victim. Get a free assessment and see how TOSS can help you stop cyber threats to your insurance firm.
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