The data of more than 100 million Americans was hacked due to cyberattacks on the insurance industry in the past two years. As the keepers of our customers’ important personal and financial data, insurance brokers have an obligation to keep that data safe. Otherwise, you could be opening yourself and your company up to fines, lawsuits, and costly ransomware incidents – where a cybercriminal locks your systems so you can’t access data and requests a large sum of money to free it. Also, a data breach, if publicized, could lead to lack of trust for your brand, a scenario that has immeasurable hidden costs.

We aren’t saying this to scare you. Data breaches are part of the world we live in. They’ve happened to companies as large as Target and Twitter. It’s quite possible to recover from a cyberattack – but if you can reduce the risk of an attack, you’ll have greater peace-of-mind.

Of course, it’s impossible to eliminate all risks. But it’s critical that brokers who deal in employee benefits, including DBL and ancillary benefits, take steps to protect their clients’ information. What do you need to know about cybersecurity and how can you work to make sure your company is as protected as possible against threats in 2022?

Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication, which requires two logins for users to access your company network or specific software systems, has been shown to reduce the risk of cyberattacks. Even if a password is stolen, the account cannot be accessed without a second means of authorization, such as a code sent to a user’s phone or  email.

Update Software Systems for the Latest Protection

Legacy software systems often don’t have the security technology available to provide the highest level of protection. Moving to cloud-based systems, where data is housed on servers removed from your location, can help prevent the theft of data if someone breaches your network.

Delete Unnecessary Client Data

Hackers cannot steal sensitive data if that data is not available. Delete unnecessary client data, including outdated information or that of former customers, and lock down other data so that only professionals in your organization who need to access it have the capability.

Perform Audits of Network Systems and Software

Many insurance brokers do not think about cybersecurity. But it’s important to keep it at the forefront of your mind with regular audits of your system security. Even if you have an in-house IT team, you’ll want to bring in an outside firm to perform the audit, identify weaknesses in your systems, and make recommendations to close those gaps.

Cybersecurity professionals should assess your company’s security at every level, including your employees’ processes and best practices; the security of the software, apps, and services you use; and your overall network security.

Train Internal End Users

Cybersecurity experts agree that the “weak link” in the security chain for most organizations – including insurance brokers – are the internal end users: the company employees. Train both in-house and remote employees about best practices. Show them the importance of taking an active role in preventing data breaches. After all, it’s their data stored in your network systems, as well as their clients’. Next month we’ll cover more about end-user best practices and training, which includes how to establish and protect passwords and how to maintain network security wherever they might be working from.