With so much personal information from customers on record, it’s vital for insurance agents and agencies to follow the best cybersecurity practices they can.

Why is cybersecurity so crucial for insurance agencies? Insurance agencies hold a wealth of personal and financial data, making them a prime target for cybercriminals. It only takes one small slip up and hackers will steal as much information as they can. That’s not something you want your agency or your customers to contend with. Following some of the best cybersecurity practices can minimize the chances of slipping up or getting hacked. 

Make no mistake. Hackers are smart and constantly changing and adapting to work around the security systems everywhere from banks to government agencies to your insurance company. With the rise in sophisticated threats, let’s dive into the best cybersecurity practices to safeguard your information.

best cybersecurity practices

Why cybersecurity is essential

The digital era has brought about many conveniences. But, like a double-edged sword, it’s also opened doors to various cyber threats, especially for insurance agencies, whose stakes are incredibly high.

Think about it for a moment. An insurance agency has your name, address, possibly your health information, bank details, and much more. What happens if this goldmine falls into the wrong hands?

Before diving into the best cybersecurity practices, let’s get a sense of the adversaries we’re dealing with.

Types of Cyber Threats

There are countless threats out there. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll focus on a few significant ones.

  • Phishing Attacks. Imagine receiving an email from your “bank” asking for your account details. Sounds fishy? That’s because it probably is. Phishing attacks trick individuals into giving out personal info.
  • Ransomware. You arrive at work, fire up your computer, and a message demands money to access your files. That’s ransomware for you!
  • Insider Threats. Sometimes, the threat is closer than you think. A disgruntled employee, perhaps?

10 of the best cybersecurity practices you can put in place right away

All right, now for the meaty stuff. Let’s dive into the best ways to safeguard your insurance agency.

1. Regular Security Training. You wouldn’t drive without learning first. Similarly, equip your employees with the skills to detect and counter threats.

2. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication Passwords can be cracked. But are you adding another layer, like a fingerprint or a code from your phone? That’s tough to bypass.

Here are some ways insurance companies can use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to bolster their security:

  1. Login Verification: The most common use. When employees or clients log in to their accounts, they provide a password (something they know) and a second factor, often sent to their phone (something they have).
  2. Mobile App Authentication: Many insurance companies have mobile apps for their clients. MFA can be implemented to access the app. For example, after entering a password, users may need to provide a fingerprint (something they are) or a code from a text message.
  3. Token-Based Authentication: Users are given a hardware token that generates a code at fixed intervals. This code, alongside their regular password, is required to log in. This is especially useful for high-level employees accessing sensitive data.

3. Regular Backup of Essential Data. It’s like having a spare key. If one key gets lost (or, in this case, data gets compromised), you’ll have a backup.

4. Document Your Backup Strategy. Keep detailed records of backup procedures, schedules, locations, and responsible personnel. This documentation is invaluable during recovery operations or audits.

There are three main types of backups.

Local Backups:

  • External Hard Drives: Periodically back up the database to external hard drives. Ensure the drives are encrypted and stored securely.
  • Network Attached Storage (NAS): A dedicated device connected to the network, providing centralized data access and storage for multiple users.

Offsite Backups:

  • Tape Backups: A traditional method where data is stored on magnetic tapes. Tapes are then physically moved to a secure, offsite location. This protects data from local disasters but may have slower retrieval times.
  • Remote Server Backups: Data is transferred to a remote server located in a different geographical location. It ensures protection against local calamities.

Cloud Backups:

Use reputable cloud service providers like AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure to back up data. Cloud backups are scalable, can be automated, and data can be accessed from anywhere.

It’s essential to remember that no backup strategy is complete without a robust testing and recovery plan. Regularly test your backups to ensure that data restoration processes are effective and meet the company’s recovery time objectives.

5. Keep Systems Updated. Would you leave your front door unlocked? Outdated systems are just that—a welcome entry for threats.

6. Limit Access. Not everyone in your agency needs access to everything. It’s as simple as that.

7. Encrypted Communications. Think of this as whispering secrets in a crowded room, but only the intended recipient can hear.

8. Employ a Security Team or Consultant. Sometimes, it’s best to leave things to the experts. This might just be one of those times.

9. Monitor Network Traffic. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

10. Establish a Response Plan. In case things go south, have a plan to navigate the storm.

Bonus! Stay Informed of the Latest Threats. Knowledge is power. Stay updated, stay safe.

Cybersecurity in insurance agencies isn’t just a good-to-have; it’s an absolute necessity. With the above best cybersecurity practices, you’re safeguarding data and building trust with your clientele.

FAQs

  1. What is a Phishing Attack? A deceptive technique where attackers masquerade as trustworthy entities to steal information.
  2. How does Multi-Factor Authentication work? It requires two or more verification methods: something you know (password), something you have (a phone), or something you are (fingerprint).
  3. How often should we back up data? It depends on the data’s importance and changes, but weekly backups with monthly or quarterly full backups are everyday.
  4. What’s the importance of encrypted communication? Encryption ensures that even if data is intercepted, it remains unreadable without the decryption key.
  5. Can small insurance agencies afford a security consultant? While hiring full-time might be costly, many consultants offer affordable hourly rates or package deals tailored for smaller businesses.

Cybersecurity is a vital part of your agency’s operations, but you still need clients. Our leads are pre-qualified, so all the hard prospecting work is done for you. Your team will be sending out more quotes in no time. So sign up for HBW Leads today!


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