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Improve Your Cyber Security

Quick Tips for Staying Cyber Safe in 2020

Posted in Brokerage

Author: Travis Lankerd

In an ever-changing digital world, cyber security is at the forefront of concern for all types of businesses. Now I know even finding a starting point when it comes to protecting your assets from criminals, can be somewhat overwhelming. That's why I've compiled a list of tips that can help your business increase and improve its cyber security efforts in 2020!

1. Don’t Forget the Basics!

Even some simple measures such as changing your passwords, requiring stronger passwords, locking up paper files, and locking up the building after hours can go a long way in protecting both your digital and physical assets.

2. Appoint a CISO!

A Chief Information Security Officer is your firm’s cyber-security czar! In the event of a breach, it is essential for a firm to have an appointed coordinator that will be able to act as the liaison between management/executive parties, legal, cyber-security vendors (such as a breach coach), insurance personnel (claims departments, retail agency) and even law enforcement, if necessary. Utilizing a single beacon of contact, ensures that all necessary communication, documentation, and related items are being relayed to the appropriate parties within reasonable time frames.

3. Get a Game Plan!

Potential data breaches, unfortunately, are often pushed to the wayside by small to medium-sized businesses due to the misconception that it is unlikely to happen. 

When in reality it’s not a matter of "if '', but "when" a cyber breach will occur. 
Failing to prepare for the inevitable is ultimately preparing to fail.  That's why Business Continuation Plans and Written Information Security Plans are essential to the enterprise risk management of a business entity. This is where the appointed CISO can head up these projects, with plenty of support from online references, as well as third-party services that can assist. Even, cyber insurance carriers offer free policyholder resources that include resources such as best practices tips and guides to help your IT team create an action plan to use in the event of a breach.

4. Consider an IT Vendor!

An in-house IT department is a great luxury to have as these individuals know not only the business’ nature of operations but are familiar with the operating systems, hardware, etc. However, in the event, this luxury isn’t available – a vetted, well-versed third party IT partner can prove to be a valuable arrow in your quiver. These professionals can take some of the pressure off your day-to-day business operations, as well as offer a higher level of cybersecurity, and may be able to assist in reducing your firm’s cyber exposures!

5. Keep Operating Systems Up-To-Date!

A simple, yet often overlooked risk to exposure, is outdated operating systems. Failing to update your browser or software, doesn't only mean you won't have the newest version, it will also expose you and your organization to a plethora of potential cybersecurity risk. Joel Alcon, from Bit Sight, breaks down the risks associated with outdated software in more detail in an article of his, 5 Risks Of Outdated Software, Browsers & Operating Systems, be sure to check it out!

6. Stay in the (K)now!

Another simple way to improve your firm’s cybersecurity is to stay up-to-date on trends within the cybercrime space. Some great online resources are Krebs On Security, BitSight, and Threatpost. Along with the aforementioned websites, these reports from the Ponemon Institute and the Verizon Data Breach Report are incredibly comprehensive sources of applicable data and information. 

7. Consider a Cyber Liability Policy

Data Breaches can be cripplingly expensive. On average a company in the United States pays around $200,000 for total damages associated with a breach. Therefore, transferring risk via a contractual insurance transfer can prove to be a literal “business-saving” decision, when a business is struck by a data breach event. That's why I suggest adding a cyber liability policy to your cybersecurity arsenal, as an additional layer of defense. Cyber liability policies can provide coverage for a wide array of costs that come along with a breach including legal costs, settlements, and damages awarded to third parties.

Typically, most cyber claims result in the first-party costs incurred by the business taking up most of the expenses associated with the breach such as forensic costs, notification costs, data recovery/re-creation, credit monitoring, etc. Cyber policies in the market these days offer said coverages up to full policy limits. These can include extortion/ransom payments requested by criminals or bad actors in the event of a breach (up to full policy limits). Cybercriminals and bad actors are walking away from breaches with more & more money every day. Many market-leading cyber policies offer sub-limited coverages to assist in the indemnification of actual monies stolen from a business.

Cyber Security may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Consider reaching out to your local independent insurance agency today to discuss cyber liability options for your business!

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