General knowledge of cybersecurity best practices is extremely important, because it serves as the basis for potentially compromising an insurance agency’s most prized data and operations.

Education and Awareness are Key

It is critical that an agency’s employees be educated and trained to a certain degree in cybersecurity, as a security threat cannot be avoided if it is not recognized. The most common of all security threats is caused by human error. This is the main reason cybersecurity training exists. According to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, email was the top delivery method of malware in 2021. Employees and insurance agencies are the target of these threats each day, sometimes multiple times, and a company’s best defense is ensuring their team can identify legitimate vs. non-legitimate and risky threats.

When employers make cybersecurity awareness training a priority, they are helping to prevent major losses within a company; though, awareness training rarely addresses the application of preventing a breach.

Addressing risky employee behavior is the critical part of implementing training and seeing it’s impact in prevention. Encouraging employees to become truly knowledgeable and commit to doing so throughout their career is a step in the direction of breaking the pattern of cybercrime vulnerability that plagues insurance firms and puts their policy holders and clients at risk. As hackers are constantly becoming more and more savvy about infecting a business, on-going training must be part of a firm’s onboarding and continuing education strategy from the time each employee begins their tenure.

Many people believe that small businesses, insurance agencies included, are off the radar of hackers. This is simply not true. All businesses are at risk, as human error is present across all firms, big and small.

Train your Employees and Protect your Agency

The following is a list of best practices to train and protect your agency:

  1. Conduct a webinar, interactive, and mandatory for all employees that focuses on ransomware attempts, insider threats, and email compromises
  2. Host a lunch and learn monthly to focus on best practices, such as often changing and strong password protection
  3. Implement and train your employees on multi-factor authentication
  4. Train your employees on how to spot a risky wi-fi network when working remotely, and the importance of using a VPN
  5. Test your employees as you teach them with examples of real and thwarted examples of attempts at company hacks, both through email and phone calls
  6. Create a “live fire” simulation of a real attack and gauge how your employees respond to assess where your biggest vulnerabilities lie

Protecting your Insurance firm against an attack is a feat that requires extensive knowledge and attention. Check out the post “Protecting Your Insurance Agency and Your Policy Holders Against a Cyberattack” for more information.