How To Mitigate Cybersecurity Risks At Your Insurance Agency
The insurance industry helps protect people and businesses from financial loss, making it an important part of the economy. This also means that insurance agencies must take cybersecurity threats seriously and develop a comprehensive plan to mitigate risk. After all, it’s not just your company that’s at stake; it’s also your customers’ sensitive data and the sense of security they derive from holding insurance policies with your firm.
In this article, we’ll cover the top cyber security threats insurance agencies should know about and the steps you can take to protect yourself. PrintMail has been a trusted expert in customer communication management for more than two decades. We take cybersecurity very seriously and adopt rigorous quality control measures to protect our customers and their customers from fraud.
Why is cybersecurity important for businesses?
2021 saw a 50% increase in cyber attacks per week compared to 2020. Combine that with the finding from a recent study that every 39 seconds hackers attack computers with Internet access and you have to wonder: could your insurance agency’s computers be the next target? If cybercrime were its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest economy–totaling about $6 trillion in global damages annually.
Top Cyber Security Threats For Businesses
Now that you know why cybersecurity concerns are increasingly important, learn about the top threats to your insurance agency.
Short for malicious software, malware refers to various kinds of computer software designed to harm your devices or steal your company and customer data.
A play on the word “fishing,” this type of cyber attack is about getting you to fall for the bait. Phishing attacks try to fool you into thinking the message is legitimate so you will click on the link or download the attachment, unknowingly exposing your computer to malware.
3 Types of Email Phishing Attacks
Email is one of the most popular platforms for hackers trying to breach businesses. Learn about the three primary types of email attacks to watch out for:
- Spear phishing: Mimics a known or trusted sender such as a bank, major retailer, government agency, and so on. Employees at your insurance agency may be targeted by spear phishing emails that mimic the IRS, the company’s bank, or the vendor you order office supplies from.
- Whaling and CEO fraud: This type of phishing attack targets top executives in your company by pretending to be the CEO or CFO. Who wants to say no to the president when he needs a wire transfer or to be reminded of the company bank account information? However, why would the president be asking you to send sensitive information over email? Always verify these requests independently before responding to the message.
- Clone phishing: A copy of a legitimate, previously sent email with attachments or links that have been replaced with malware.
Other Common Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are the cause of more than 80% of cybersecurity breaches. While email may be the frontline for phishing attacks, learn about these two other types of phishing scams.
- SMS Phishing: Refers to messages sent via text, app, or social media. Follows the same pattern of email phishing messages by impersonating a trusted company or individual and trying to get you to click on a link and reveal login credentials or other sensitive information.
- Calendar Phishing: Refers to unsolicited calendar invites via Google or other digital calendar platforms.
A type of malware that blocks you from accessing your computer and data until a ransom is paid. The average ransom cost can range anywhere from about $5,000 to $200,000. If you don’t pay the ransom, you may lose access to your files forever.
There were over 600 million ransomware attacks reported globally in 2021. Ransomware can be downloaded from a website or delivered as an email attachment. Hackers will also pose as antivirus software companies or tech repair with a pop-up saying your computer has an issue that needs to be addressed asap. If you give them permission to remote access your machine, they can install ransomware.
Take these steps to protect your insurance agency against cybercrime
It’s much easier to prevent a cyber attack than to recover from one. Invest the time and resources needed to train employees, purchase antivirus software, and execute your cybersecurity plan.
You can purchase security awareness and training programs for your employees from a private company. Free, high-quality training resources for your employees can also be found on government websites such as Stop.Think.Connect. and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency.
Strong Password and Multi-Factor Authentication
When was the last time your employees changed their passwords for company devices and account logins? Are they using weak passwords such as “abc123” or “password”? Create a password policy with the following guidelines:
- Use a unique password for each account.
- Use memorable phrases instead of short strings of random characters.
- Use mnemonics or other individual tactics to remember long passwords.
- No sharing credentials with each other, no matter how convenient.
- Change passwords after a set period of time.
A password manager tool can help you create and store strong, unique passwords for each account login.
Multi-Factor authentication is also a good security practice to establish where possible. MFA means using more than one personal token to log in to an account. For example, a temporary one-time passcode sent via SMS or email is the most common type of MFA.
BACKUPS, BACKUPS, BACKUPS
Having a full, current backup of all your data can be a lifesaver. Use the 3-2-1 rule:
- 3: Keep three copies of any important file, one primary and two backups.
- 2: Keep the files on two different media types to protect against different types of hazards.
- 1: Store one copy off-site (e.g., outside your home or business facility).
Alternatively, you can also use cloud backup software to store your files.
Partner with vendors with strong cybersecurity protocols like PrintMail!
If you outsource any of your operations, such as statement printing and mailing, to an external vendor, you want to make sure that they are implementing the latest cybersecurity protection measures. For example, PrintMail performs an annual SOC II audit, along with quarterly penetration testing, to ensure the security of your company and customer data. Physical security is also paramount, with state-of-the-art systems and procedures in place.
Partner with PrintMail!
PrintMail Solutions has the most comprehensive and stringent security in the customer statement outsourcing business. We will meet or exceed all your requirements for critical vendors. To learn more about our communications solutions for insurance agencies, including statement processing, eStatements, statement redesign, mail marketing, or digital marketing for insurance providers, contact us today!