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Business Continuity – Disaster vs. Recovery

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25% of businesses do not reopen after a major loss.

48% of businesses do not even pretend to have a business continuity plan.*

But 95% think they are prepared.*

Is your plan only keeping your insurance policy somewhere safe?  (Which is not the worst start in the world, but it’s grossly inadequate.)

Do you have tasks for each employee after a disaster?  (Did they actually agree to them?)

What would actually be a disaster for your company?  (Flood, hurricane, fire, data breach, lawsuit, death of an owner?)

Yes, sometimes  it seems like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but these things really do happen.

There are many small businesses which would suffer less from a flood than from a cyber breach;  doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, consultants, architects come to mind.

There are many small businesses which would suffer less from a hurricane than they would from the death of an owner without a succession plan, or adequate life insurance.

Spend a few hours once a year to prepare a continuity plan; surviving a disaster will be much more pleasant if you do.  Then talk to your insurance advisor so you know if you have money to help you recover.

*Travelers Insurance survey result

GBW Insurance/AssuredPartners 855-467-2877, extension 677

19% have Cyber Insurance, 50% expect more attacks

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Computer_Drill_10-14Most companies don’t have cyber/data breach insurance.  And most think attacks are getting worse (and they’re right).  But even large companies are 4 times more likely to use insurance to protect loss of physical assets than loss of data.

These figures come from a current Ponemon Institute study quoted by the national Professional Insurance Agents. (PIA)  There’s a link to the study at the bottom of this post.

What do we have to do to convince businesses to protect themselves?

I think, as President of the New Jersey Professional Insurance Agents in addition to GBW Insurance, that most agents are including information about Cyber issues in their talks with clients.  But the level of misinformation and ignorance at the client end is still very high.

Smaller businesses tend to assume 1) that they are not exposed, and 2) that there is adequate coverage in their basic insurance policies.  #1 is a bad joke; small businesses are great targets for hackers and even better for disgruntled employees.  And #2 is a fantasy.

I’m going to go write another letter to all our business clients…

Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) link to the study

The Ponemon Institute study has many other entertaining facts. For example, large  publicly held companies said they would have to disclose large lawsuits or large-scale damage to physical assets, but not cyber penetration.  I’d like to hear a business litigation attorney on that one.

The Scope of Cyber Liability And Data Breach Exposures – And Insurance

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Computer_Drill_10-14

These are complicated exposures that now affect even small businesses.  And the necessary insurance coverages are complex too.

Business owners must think about paper records, physical system security, and electronic data.

  1. It will involve their physical building locations, as well as their e-systems.
  2. They’ll need to know how much data they use and/or archive, as well as how many, and what nature of customers that they have.
  3. They must think not just in terms of the operations that they solely control, but also of the “Network” in which they are engaged.

A network is as everything and everyone that business owners allow to have some portion of access to their corporate operations, whether they are employees (on-site or remote), on-site or remote contractors, connected third parties and even connected customers. This is especially true when it comes to the use of mobile devices.

Look at how broad the term “mobile device” is, legally, now.

Mobile data includes workstations, computer terminals, internal IT operations, their websites, Facebook pages, Twitter, and other social media connections, as well as all employee connections whether through company provided devices or their own. It also includes all other connections that your customers use to and from third parties to connect to you and accomplish their work, including off- site physical and e-storage locations. It involves current, stored/backed-up and archived data, and documents and files. It is everything.

Take a few hours a year to consider the risks to which your business is exposed.  Walking through that allows a business to better see what needs to be done, including insurance.

If you’d like to discuss this and other issues in cyber related insurance, or more traditional business insurance, give us a call at 800-548-2329.  We are a NJ insurance agency.

Data Breach – Learn Some Lessons from the Big Companies

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Computer_Drill_10-14You’ve seen data breach announcements at companies like Home Depot and Target.   And Morgan Stanley announced that it fired an employee who stole account data on 350,000 clients.  From those breaches come huge cyber liability lawsuits.

All are big companies with huge market value, large customer databases, strong brand names and plenty of budget to spend on data security.

We in the smaller businesses don’t have all those resources.   But are there lessons from these breaches that can provide learning to the owner or manager of a small business?

Yes, there certainly are.

The key lesson?  In most cases, part or all of the data breach was caused by people very close to the organization:

  • Home Depot – Criminals stole a vendor’s credentials.  Then they exploited a weakness in Microsoft Windows.  Then it looks like Home Depot may not have implemented the existing patch for that weakness.  That would be vendor weakness and poor IT procedures.
  • Target – It looks a Target emplyee clicked on a link in a vendor e-mail; the vendor had been hacked, and the link let criminals in the Target system.  That would be vendor weakness and poor security procedures at the employee level.  A Federal judge is allowing a lawsuit by credit card issuers to proceed against Target.
  • Morgan Stanley – Morgan Stanley is said to have caught the employee before the majority of the information was published or sold.  They said they’ve turned the information over to law enforcement.

These company probably spend more on data security that you or we bring in with total sales. And they were still burned.

What should you learn from their examples? (Our thanks to IT Radix for much of this material.  Click here to visit their page for more info or to get their help with IT problems.)

1) People you know are the most likely cause of a breach.  A former employee, a careless employee, an employee not implementing security, a vendor opening your door to hacking.

2) Have a secure back up program in place both onsite and offsite – ensuring that at least one part of the backup program is not directly attached to your network.

3) Have a password policy in place and follow it.  It should include:

  • A password strength protocol
  • A password change policy
  • A plan to change passwords

4) Consider putting an employee monitoring program in place that will help:

  • To monitor and filter website and web traffic
  • To guard against company secrets being shared via email
  • Delete files or lock a computer if a laptop is stole

5) Whether a user is accessing company files in the office or remotely, ensure that your file access permissions are correct and that at least double security identification measures are in place.

6) Put a strong email program in place where:

  • Email is backed up
  • Email is encrypted as it goes through the Internet.

7) Ensure that anti-virus and malware protection is in place and up to date.

8) Server and computer operating systems, software, anti-virus software, firewalls, applications of all sorts should patched and updated regularly – some daily.

9) Consider putting a hardware firewall appliance in your network and if outsiders need access to some company data, place that data outside / securely apart from the internal company network.

10) Separate your secure Wi-Fi network from any that guests use to access the Internet.

11) Cover yourself with data breach insurance for your own problems, and cyber liability insurance for losing control of client information.

The smart business owner or manager may not have heard all these recommendations before, but they are becoming survival issues for any organization, regardless of its size.

While we’re happy to talk about data breach insurance issues (in NJ 800-548-2329), the first stop is a good IT organization.  Call a good provider like IT Radix (at 973-298-6908.)

Cyber Security, Mobil Devices – Threats and Insurance

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Computer_Drill_10-14

We have now seen, month after month, one major company after another suffering data breaches.

You would think that people would have gotten the message about the dangers of cyber penetration and other forms of data breach.  You would also think businesses would take strong preventive measures and buy more insurance for their own protection.

But it looks as though, even while mobile device data breach is a real threat, businesses and consumers are not catching up with the problems.

The Ponemon Institute (click here for the website), dedicated to data protection and information security policy, found that IT security specialists believe mobile devices to be the fastest frowing part of networks, and less secure than other components.  But at the time of the survey, 30% said that they had no security system in place for corporate mobile assets.

In a survey of consumers, Kaspersky Internet Security found that 58% are concerned about the safety of their information on mobile devices.  But 38% still store highly sensitive data on their mobile devices, even though they fear it can be hacked.  80% of consumers surveyed think that financial cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, and 40% still use their obile devices to transact banking business.

One implication for businesses is that consumers and your B2B customers regard data breach protection as your responsibility.  Over 75% of consumers in the study cited above believe that businesses, banks, and online payment systems, either have or should provide secure applications and systems to protect them against cyber attacks.

Businesses need advice; if there is one field of insurance coverage which is not largely uniform across the industry, it is cyber liability/data breach.

If you’d like to work on your corporate protection for data breach losses, give us a call at GBW Insurance 800-548-2329, or click here to leave a quick request for info or a quote.

Thank you to the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents for some of this material.

Tropical Storm headed toward you?

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Insurance companies prohibit adding or starting property coverage when named storms approach. A tropical storm is approaching the Atlantic coast of the US. If you want property coverage, if your coverage is inadequate, act now.

If you need help in with New Jersey insurance coverage, call us today. 1-800-548-2329. or http://www.GBWinsurance.com

If you want flood insurance, it may be too late for this month, but you should get started if you want it before September.  Hurricanes in the Northeast peak late in the season.

Who owns your company’s data? How do you make sure?

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You own your data, but you have to take steps to make sure you can control it, both legally and in the cyber world.

Do your employees use only devices your company owns?
Have they acknowledged that their information on those devices is not private?

If they use their own devices to access your information, have they agreed to let you review any and all information on those devices?
Have they agreed to let you wipe their devices if you find your information on them?

All of this should involve help from your own lawyer.

Even if you get a signed acknowledgement that you can look at their information and look at information on devices they own, you’d better be talking to your own lawyer if you run into a communication between your employee and his or her own attorney.

On the IT front, a good IT provider can help erect barriers to penetration by outsiders, and to theft of data by insiders.

But multiple platforms are complicating IT.  Mobile malware is exploding.  And many small businesses don’t keep current with firewalls and monitoring of data use.

If you’d like to discuss IT issues in more depth, try this link to IT Radix.  And we thank them for putting on the seminar that provoked many of these questions today.

The legal questions in the seminar today were posed by Colin Page, Esq.  Try this link to make contact with his law firm if you have questions on data ownership and employment issues.