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10 Cyber Security Resolutions to Reduce Your Data Exposures

Part of the series provided by Chalmers Insurance Group

Cybersecurity threats and trends can change year over year as technology continues to advance. As such, it’s critical for organizations to reassess their data protection practices at the start of each new year and make achievable cybersecurity resolutions to help protect themselves from costly breaches.

The following are resolutions your company can implement to avoid becoming the victim of a cybercrime:

  1. Provide security training—Employees are your first line of defense when it comes to cyber threats. Even the most robust and expensive data protection solutions can be compromised should an employee click a malicious link or download fraudulent software. As such, it’s critical for organizations to thoroughly train personnel on common cyber threats and how to respond. Employees should understand the dangers of visiting harmful websites, leaving their devices unattended and oversharing personal information on social media. Your employees should also know your cybersecurity policies and know how to report suspicious activity.
  2. Install strong anti-virus software and keep it updated—Outside of training your employees on the dangers of poor cybersecurity practices, strong anti-virus software is one of the best ways to protect your data. Organizations should conduct thorough research to choose software that’s best for their needs. Once installed, anti-virus programs should be kept up to date.
  3. Instill safe web browsing practices—Deceptive and malicious websites can easily infect your network, often leading to more serious cyber-attacks. To protect your organization, employees should be trained on proper web usage and instructed to only interact with secured websites. For further protection, companies should consider blocking known threats and potentially malicious web pages outright.
  4. Create strong password policies—Ongoing password management can help prevent unauthorized attackers from compromising your organization’s password-protected information. Effective password management protects the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of an organization’s passwords. Above all, you’ll want to create a password policy that specifies all of the organization’s requirements related to password management. This policy should require employees to change their password on a regular basis, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and use special characters in their password.
  5. Use multi-factor authentication—While complex passwords can help deter cybercriminals, they can still be cracked. To further prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to employee accounts, multi-factor authentication is key. Multi-factor authentication adds a layer of security that allows companies to protect against compromised credentials. Through this method, users must confirm their identity by providing extra information (e.g., a phone number, unique security code) when attempting to access corporate applications, networks, and servers.
  6. Get vulnerability assessments—The best way to evaluate your company’s data exposures is through a vulnerability assessment. Using a system of simulated attacks and stress tests, vulnerability assessments can help you uncover entry points into your system. Following these tests, security experts compile their findings and provide recommendations for improving network and data safety.
  7. Patch systems regularly and keep them updated—A common way cybercriminals gain entry into your system is by exploiting software vulnerabilities. To prevent this, it’s critical that you update applications, operating systems, security software, and firmware on a regular basis.
  8. Back up your data—In the event that your system is compromised, it’s important to keep backup files. Failing to do so can result in the loss of critical business or proprietary data.
  9. Understand phishing threats and how to respond—In broad terms, phishing is a method cybercriminals use to gather personal information. In these scams, phishers send an email or direct users to fraudulent websites, asking victims to provide sensitive information. These emails and websites are designed to look legitimate and trick individuals into providing credit card numbers, account numbers, passwords, usernames or other sensitive information. Phishing is becoming more sophisticated by the day, and it’s more important than ever to understand the different types of attacks, how to identify them and preventive measures you can implement to keep your organization safe. As such, it’s critical to train employees on common phishing scams and other cybersecurity concerns. Provide real-world examples during training to help them better understand what to look for.
  10. Create an incident response plan—Most organizations have some form of data protection in place. While these protections are critical for minimizing the damages caused by a breach, they don’t provide clear action steps following an attack. That’s where cyber incident response plans can help. While cybersecurity programs help secure an organization’s digital assets, cyber incident response plans provide clear steps for companies to follow when a cyber event occurs. Response plans allow organizations to notify impacted customers and partners quickly and efficiently, limiting financial and reputational damages. This can be costly but cyber insurance can help.

Talk to your Chalmers account manager for more information about cyber 800-360-3000.

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Pet Insurance Coverage Basics and Costs

Part of the series provided by Chalmers Insurance Group

Unfortunately, just like humans, pets can have medical problems that may yield expensive veterinary bills. Fortunately, pet insurance is available to combat those risks.

What is Pet Insurance?

Most pet owners consider their animals to be members of their family; therefore, their pet’s quality of life and health is extremely important. By purchasing pet insurance, pet owners are not burdened with veterinary bills and can focus on making sure their pets get and stay healthy.

Coverage Basics

Here are the details of a typical pet insurance policy:

  • Policies allow the pet owner to select a coverage percentage or monthly premium that will work best for them.
  • Pets must have an annual exam and owners must adhere to the recommendations of their veterinarians to remain covered.
  • Coverage is not extended to existing conditions and injuries.
  • Policy covers expenses relating to the following:
    • Some vaccinations
    • Lab work
    • Accidents, injuries and illnesses
    • Prescriptions
    • X-rays
    • Surgeries, including spay/neuter
    • Hospitalization
    • Dental work

Steep Costs

Medical costs for your pets can add up quickly. Here are some of the most common veterinary treatments and typical average costs:

  • Benign skin mass: $1000
  • Torn ACL or cartilage: $2600
  • Tooth extraction: $900

We’re Here to Help

Don’t take the chance of not being able to afford medical care for your furry family members. Call Chalmers Insurance Group today at 800-360-3000 to learn more about all of our insurance solutions.

For an immediate quote and our Strategic Partner Discount, please visit our trusted carrier partner FIGO using this link https://figopetinsurance.com/?p=9H8i8m7z1r5

Safeco Insurance® honors Chalmers Insurance Group with membership in the Safeco® Premier Partner Program

Chalmers Insurance Group has been selected for membership in the Safeco Premier Partner Program, which recognizes the outstanding achievement and partnership of only the best agencies.

Fewer than 10% of independent insurance agencies that sell Safeco personal lines products receive this distinguished honor.

At Chalmers Insurance Group we are pleased to be among the top agencies in the country!

As a member in the Safeco Premier Partner Program, we will receive access to special resources and programs that support us in serving our customers.

We strive to provide our customers with trusted guidance, so this Safeco honor makes us proud.

To work with Chalmers Insurance Group please call 800-360-3000 or get a quote at ChalmersInsuranceGroup.com

M&M Assurance Business to Business Newsletter

Business to Business Newsletter
August – 2013
In This Issue
“Risky Business” – The Blog
Employees and E-Mail: Security vs. Privacy
Do You Have a Cell Phone Use Policy?
Malware – 7 Ways to Fight Back!

Check out our Blog – “Risky Business”!

 

RECENT POSTS:

 

Equipment Breakdown Insurance: A Must Have Coverage

Safeguarding Your Key People

Product Liability Insurance Can Improve Your Bottom Line

 

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Employees and E-Mail: Security vs. Privacy

 

How can you oversee your employees’ use of company e-mail without violating their privacy?

 

According to a recent nationwide survey, more than 40% of businesses monitor their workers’ e-mails (Harvard among them, apparently). If you’re one of these companies, a disgruntled employee might well sue you for invasion of privacy (the number of privacy lawsuits has skyrocketed by 3,000% during the past decade).

 

The best way to protect yourself against this risk is to create a written policy warning employees that you might be monitoring their use of e-mail. Bear in mind that because your business owns the e-mail system – software, network access, and computers – you have the legal right to oversee workers for misusing it to violate company policy or break the law.

 

The first step in implementing this policy is to…


My family always finishes out the summer with a week at the Beach. It’s totally my “happy place”, and I look forward to this trip all year long. Vacation is always amazing, but this year we received an extra special gift. My fantabulously talented friend Lisa of Where Chaos meets Creativity came down to do a family photo shoot for us!

 

I’ve always had fun taking pictures, but let me tell you… I am no Lisa Wilkinson! My friend knows her stuff!  She suggested clothing that would bring out the right contrasts with the ocean background. She knew how exactly how many minutes we were going to need to wait for the lighting on the beach to be perfect. She posed our family in creative ways that resulted in some really interesting shots. She was even able to engage my 12-year-old boy, who was way too cool for a family photo shoot (and had the facial expressions to prove it), and capture so much of what I love about him on film. We all (even Noah) enjoyed the time. Lisa didn’t just give us great pictures… she gave us a great experience!

 

When it comes to insurance, we at M&M Assurance Group really do know our stuff. We can help you estimate the amount of business personal property coverage you should purchase. Should you suffer a loss, we can guide you through the claims process for a prompt and fair resolution of your claim. We can even make sense of that Workers Comp audit that looks like a headache waiting to happen.

 

But you know what? That’s not enough. We don’t just want to give you an accurate picture of insurance and the challenges facing your business, we want to give you a great experience.  We want you to walk away knowing you were treated well and feeling better for having spent time with us. If there’s anything we can do to improve on the way we help protect what matters to you, please let us know.We’re committed to serving you.

 

And if you’re looking for a great photo shoot experience, get in touch with Lisa. She rocks! J

 

Heather Clement

M&M Assurance Group
P.S. Please feel free to give us a call anytime at 603.356.3392. Also, check out our new website at www.mmins.com. You can also find us on Facebook, LinkedIn andTwitter. We love to hear from you!

Drivers and Cell Phones? No! 

 

A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 69% of U.S. drivers talked on their cell phones – and 31% read or sent text messages or e-mails while driving. “The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive,” warns CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

 

Using cell phones to text behind the wheel can increase the danger of fatal crashes by six to 23 times, and drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to become involved in crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

 

You probably have rules about employees talking on their phones and texting while driving – but are they following them?

 

According to Jim Evans, president of human resources consulting firmJK Evans & Associates…

 

Malware – 7 Ways to Fight Back     

Recent headlines about electronic spies hacking into computer networks from the Pentagon to China reinforce the dangerous reality that “malware” (software that accesses systems to steal sensitive financial and client information) is becoming increasingly sophisticated and widespread.

 

According to a recent report from the NPD Group, the average U.S. household with a Web connection has 5.7 devices – desktops, laptops, tablets, and/or smart phones – which are highly vulnerable to malware attacks. The more workers who use these devices to access the Web sites of their employers, the greater the threat of cybercrime.

 

To help protect the security of your company’s data against intrusion from malware, experts recommend taking these precautions…

Thank you for taking the time to read this month’s newsletter! Remember, your feedback helps shape future issues. We value your input, so please…let us know what you think! Have a great month!

 

Sincerely,

 
Heather Clement

M&M Assurance Group 

M&M Assurance Group

3304 White Mountain Highway
North Conway, NH 03860

T (800) 298-0802                               
F (603) 356-3392