Computer Security

ARE YOU PRACTICING GOOD COMPUTER HYGIENE?

Protecting Online Assets with Cyber SecurityAll of us are painfully aware of the online data breaches that occur with alarming frequency. No need to list them here – it would take this entire blog and then some. Most of these breaches that make headlines happen to large retail chains and government agencies – anywhere there are millions of people’s data stored in one place. That does not mean, however, that there is nothing individuals can do to keep themselves as protected as possible.

For your family, some of our homeowners’ insurance policies include identity-theft coverage, which may include credit monitoring and assistance if your identity is stolen. Prevention, of course, is the best protection so it is crucial that one practice sound “computer hygiene,” by keeping anti-virus software up-to-date, creating unique passwords and changing them periodically and never opening suspicious emails.

For businesses, sound computer hygiene is more complicated. Here’s why.
While it is true hackers go after the “big fish,” they also look for softer targets – smaller businesses with weaker defenses. The most vulnerable businesses are those that accept credit cards, store customer information, and conduct business online or in the cloud.

Cyber Insurance for Safety & Security

For these businesses, it is wise to look into adding cyber and privacy insurance protection to cover liability for a data breach in which the firm’s customers’ personal information is exposed or stolen. These policies cover a variety of expenses, including notification costs, credit monitoring, costs to defend claims by state regulators, fines and penalties, and loss resulting from identity theft. The policies can also cover liability from website media content and other risks from business interruption, data loss/destruction, computer fraud, funds transfer loss and cyber extortion.

One final note: Not all computer hygiene is high-tech. In a small business, every employee wears several hats so it’s important to have strict rules about handling customer data. What would happen if an employee discarded sensitive information into the dumpster by accident or an employee lost their laptop with all their information? A shredder could be a wise investment.

Home Flooding

IS YOUR HOME FLOOD RESILIENT?

With the devastation of recent hurricanes on everyone’s mind, the dangers of flooding has taken on new urgency.  Few of us think want to think about it happening in our backyards.  Instead “out of sight, out of mind” though, a better strategy is “prepare for the worst, hope for the best.”   Many agencies maintain checklists on what to do before and after a flood, including:

American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/flood)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (   https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409002852888-3c5d1f64f12df02aa801901cc7c311ca/how_to_prepare_flood_033014_508.pdf)

Department of Homeland Security (https://www.ready.gov/floods

Many of us likely sought them out when we thought we might get a direct hit from Hurricane Irma.   As good as those checklists are, however, we’d like to suggest one more with steps you can take to reduce the damage to your home in the event of a flood.  It comes from the Institute for Business and Home Safety, a non-profit group supported by the insurance industry that does for buildings the same thing that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does for cars (crash tests.)

A detailed list is available at  https://disastersafety.org/flood/reduce-flood-damage-to-homes/, but we want to display a great chart that illustrates these steps.

Flood Insurance

All of us hope that we never to cope with the ravages of a flood, but besides having flood insurance and perhaps a lot of sandbags, there are other steps we can take to keep our prized possessions even safer.