5 Ways to Help Protect Your Company’s Data

A data breach could turn into a catastrophic event for any company, especially for small businesses that may not be prepared for this emerging threat. The 2015 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report found that 60% of all targeted attacks struck small- to mid-sized companies.1 As a business owner or an employee, there are a number of preventive steps you can take to help keep your company’s data secure. The most important place to start is to know the common causes of data breaches and how to avoid them before the damage is done.

You may think data breaches are mainly caused by outsiders hacking into the system. While that scenario is the one that makes headlines in the media, the fact is that employee error, such as a lost or stolen computer or mobile device, or downloading malicious software, can also lead to data loss or a data breach incident. Train your employees to better understand these risks to help protect your company’s data.

Following are some safety steps, including how to help protect your work space, stay safer when receiving email and create strong passwords.

  1. Protect Data at Your Work Space

If you step away from your desk while you are in the middle of a project that includes sensitive business information, take some precautions to protect company data from visitors or others who are not authorized to see that information. Remember these simple tips for keeping your work spaces secure:

  • When you step away from your computer, lock it up. You can also change your preferences to require your user account password when unlocking or waking up your computer.
  • After a meeting, clean up your materials.
  • After printing, copying or faxing, pick up your documents right away.
  • Keep sensitive documents in secure locations.
  • Always stay aware of your surroundings.
  1. Be Aware of Phishing Schemes

Phishing emails are fake email messages that can be used by criminals and hackers to target your credit and identity, gain control of your computer and network or steal your password and access company information. They often appear as if coming from a trusted source, such as your credit card company or another vendor, and can often include links or attachments that they ask you to download. You should delete suspicious emails without opening them.

Before you open an email or respond to any requests to download files or click on links, confirm that it:

  • Comes from someone you know.
  • Comes from someone who has sent you an email before.
  • Is something you were expecting.
  • Does not look odd, with unusual spelling or characters.
  1. Passwords: Longer is Stronger

Using strong passwords and changing them regularly makes it harder for thieves to access information. Never share your password with anyone. Choose something cryptic so it is difficult to guess, but it should also be memorable so you can avoid writing it down. If you do write it down, keep it in a locked cabinet or drawer.

Best practices for strong passwords include the following:

  • Passwords should not contain all or part of your name or ID.
  • Passwords should be at least seven characters long.
  • Passwords should contain characters from at least two of the following four categories: upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols (e.g., &, %, $, #).
  1. Stay On Guard While Traveling

Portable devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones, can be easier to lose and a target for thieves. Be aware when logging in to secure systems in public places so others cannot see your username and password.

  • Keep your mobile device with you at all times while at the airport, on public transportation or in any public space, and never check it with your baggage.
  • When you travel by car with your laptop, put it in the trunk of the vehicle. Take it with you when you arrive at your final destination.
  • Never store your password or backups with your mobile devices.
  • When away from the office, keep your company laptop, mobile device and portable storage devices, such as flash drives, secure, either locked up or in your personal possession.
  1. Recognize Social Engineering

Much like piecing together a puzzle, social engineers get what they need by gathering pieces of information from many different sources, including your social profiles and other information about your organization. Since people may not be who they claim to be, always verify before providing any kind of information.

If someone you do not know claims to be a fellow employee, you can:

  • Try calling the person back at their work phone number.
  • Send a code word or number to his or her company email address and ask the person to call back with it.

Share these tips with others in your organization to help keep your company’s data safe. Learn more about cyber risks and how to create cyber security training for employees.

Sources: 1 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, April 2015, Volume 20: https://www4.symantec.com/mktginfo/whitepaper/ISTR/21347932_GA-internet-security-threat-report-volume-20-2015-social_v2.pdf

 

 

 


Are there additional types of General Liability Insurance?

Take a look at the list below for additional general liability coverages that are often available:

  • Professional Liability Insurance (Errors & Omissions)

Errors & Omissions (E&O) covers professionals for negligence and errors or omissions that injure their clients or cause damage to a third party’s data. This type of insurance is particularly important to licensed professionals such as accountants, attorneys, insurance agents, architects, engineers and technology companies. ALLIANCES INSURANCE AGENCY, LLC recommends that all professional and technology companies have E&O coverage.

  • Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

Employment Practices Liability Insurance for employers covers employment-related liabilities other than on-the-job injuries. This can include legal fees and damages for suits such as wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, and other alleged violations of employees’ legal rights. If you have employees, ALLIANCES INSURANCE AGENCY, LLC recommends considering this type of coverage.

  • Directors and Officers Insurance (D&O)

D&O covers directors and officers of a company for negligent acts or omissions and for misleading statements that result in lawsuits against the company. There is a variety of Directors and Officers coverage available such as corporate reimbursement coverage, personal liability, and entity coverage. D&O policies may be broadened to include coverage for employment practices liability as well.

To find out more about these, as well as other products and services, call ALLIANCES INSURANCE AGENCY, LLC at 267.614.4234 and we’ll help make sure you’re properly covered.


General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance, also known as Commercial Liability Insurance, is a broad commercial insurance policy that covers general liability exposures of a business. Essentially, it is an insurance policy that pays for businesses legal expenses when it is sued by non-employees. Lawsuits covered by General Liability Insurance usually include, but are not limited to the following: property damage, bodily injury, slip-and-fall accidents, libel and slander, copyright infringement, and product liability. Ask an agent from Alliances Insurance Agency, LLC today about our General Liability Insurance.


Preventing Identity Theft

Your Identity Belongs to You. Protect It, Too.

The best way to protect yourself against identity theft is to prevent it. If your identity is stolen, you’ll be able to lessen problems by being prepared to act quickly.

Start with Good Preventive Habits

  • Leave your Social Security card at home in a safe place.
  • Shred papers with personal information.
  • Reduce your credit card accounts, and carry only the cards you need.
  • Photocopy both sides of your credit cards and store safely.

Watch Your Accounts Closely

  • Review balances and transactions often by phone or online.
  • Make sure every transaction on your credit card statements is accurate.
  • Sign up with ExperianTransunion and Equifax. Stagger your requests to get a free credit report every four months or sign up for credit watch service that will report directly to you.

If Identity Theft Happens to You

  • Report to the police immediately and make several copies of police report.
  • Call your credit card companies and ask where to send a copy of the police report.
  • File a Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Complaint and Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Have your bank place an alert on your driver’s license number and Social Security number, and freeze your account.
  • Call fraud units of the credit report agencies ExperianEquifax and Transunion.

Tools and Resources

Federal Trade Commission identity theft line and websites

Social Security fraud line

  • 1-800-269-0271

Credit reporting agencies

 


Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?

Posted by Safeco October 20, 2014

Umbrella Coverage Explained

umbrella

One of the most certain things in life is, certainly, uncertainty. Your dog could bite the neighbor’s kid. Yourteen driver could hit a cyclist. A guest could fall down your stairs. A rainy morning commute on worn-out tires could result in a multi-car accident. And you could be held liable to others for the cost of damages – injuries, property destruction, emotional distress, lost wages and more.

Good thing you have insurance. But, wait, your policy covers $300,000 of liability, and, in a lawsuit, you’re judged liable for $1 million. That leaves $700,000 left to pay. How will you cover it?

If you have umbrella insurance and your policy covers the incident, the additional $700,000 will come from your policy. If not, it will come from the assets you have now, such as your home and savings, and from future assets, such as your wages or inheritance.

The fact is, it only takes one serious accident and a resulting lawsuit to put everything you own – and will own – at risk. And it only takes one umbrella policy to help protect it all.

Here are a few things you should know about umbrella insurance:

  • Personal umbrella policies typically offer $1, $2, $3, $4 or $5 million of liability coverage. Consider your net worth when choosing your coverage –you could be sued for everything you have.
  • An umbrella policy is not a stand-alone policy. Your insurance carrier will typically require you to meet certain qualifications, such as having an auto policy with a certain level of liability coverage, in order to purchase umbrella insurance.
  • Even when you have umbrella insurance, your car or home insurance is your first line of defense. For example, if you are liable for $2 million in a car accident and your auto insurance covers $500,000 of liability, your auto policy covers the first $500,000. Your umbrella policy covers the remaining $1.5 million, assuming your policy covers the incident and that you purchased that much coverage. If you are liable for $250,000 in an accident on your property and your homeowners insurance covers $300,000, your umbrella policy won’t be needed.
  • If you insure a motorcycle, ATV, golf cart, snowmobile, motorhome or watercraft, your umbrella policy may provide additional liability coverage on top of those policies as well. Be sure to check with your carrier to confirm your coverage on these types of vehicles.
  • A single umbrella policy typically covers all of your family members who are residents of your household.

Essentially, an umbrella policy gives you excess liability coverage on top of what your other policies provide. If you’re at fault for a serious accident, you’ll need it.

Umbrella insurance also gives you liability coverage in instances where other policies don’t. Examples include driving in a foreign country or renting a boat.

 


6 Questions for Your Annual Insurance Review

Posted by Shaun Murphy, Pablo Beach Insurance June 18, 2015

Assess Whether Your Current Insurance Fits Your Current Life

Annual_Insurance_Review

Everyone gets busy with daily life – family, jobs, kids, school, travel, and the list goes on. Before you know it, a year or more has slipped by without you giving your insurance coverage a second thought.

You pay your premiums and phone your carrier when an accident or other need arises. Otherwise, you assume all is well with your policies. But, what if it’s not?

There are a number of life changes and events that should prompt you to pick up your phone and call your insurance agent. You may need more homeowners coverage, for example, or you may need to remove a driver from your auto policy.

Even if you adjust your coverage as some of these changes occur, you’ll likely only catch others if you catch up with your insurance agent once a year – or more often. When you do, here are six questions you should be prepared to address:

  1. What Have I Added or Updated Around My Home?
    Did you add an addition to make room for baby? Did you remodel after the youngest left the nest? How about adding a pool or finishing your basement? All of these examples and more increase the value of your home and how much it would cost to rebuild it. You should update your insurance coverage to reflect not only the new home value but also any new risks.
  2. What Has Changed With My Vehicles or Drivers?
    Are you driving a longer distance to work? Is the vehicle you previously used for commuting now sitting in your garage more often than not? It’s a good idea to reexamine your auto insurance coverage at least once a year to ensure you have the exact coverage you want – not too little, and not too much.
  3. What Significant Purchases Have I Made?
    Did you invest in a home automation system or a high-end leather couch? What about that piece of fine jewelry you picked up on the cruise ship? If the value of your personal belongings has increased significantly, you’ll want to check whether your homeowners or renters insurance still provides enough coverage. If not, you can likely purchase additional coverage for specific items or possibly groups of items. Otherwise, if a costly item is lost, damaged or stolen, you may find yourself needing to replace it with a lower-cost version.
  4. What Is New With My Family?
    Did someone leave for college? Are more people now driving your motorcycle? These are things to discuss with your independent insurance agent, too.
  5. Are There Any Discounts for Which I Now Qualify?
    Doing things such as adding a burglar alarm to your home or driving your car less may help you gain discounts you didn’t qualify for when you first purchased your policy. So, if you like to save money on your insurance as much as the rest of us, an in-depth annual discussion of recent changes in your life and around your home is a must.
  6. Should I Consider Any Coverage Options?
    More than likely, your carrier offers some coverage options that might just be a good fit for you now, even if they weren’t when you first purchased your policies. Examples can include roadside assistance for cars, motorcycles, scooters, RVs and other vehicles. You may want to add stereo coverage for the new system you put in your car or appliance coverage following a kitchen remodel. Your agent, of course, can help you explore these options and select what fits.

Some other questions you might consider before your annual insurance review include:

  • Do I need any specialized disaster coverage, such as flood insurance or earthquake insurance, that I don’t already have?
  • Is my home inventory current?
  • Can I afford to raise my deductibles, and would it lower my insurance costs?
  • Am I carrying high enough liability limits to protect myself?
  • Is an umbrella policy right for me?

Just like filing your taxes, an insurance check-up is an annual item on your to-do list that can’t be skipped. After all, there’s nothing like the headache and heartache of thinking that you’re fully covered and then finding out you’re not when a claim occurs.

Remember, your insurance policies should reflect the life you have now – not the life you had when you first signed up with your carrier. So, keep your insurance policies up to date and keep your annual appointment with your insurance agent.