Today, virtually all businesses collect and store personal information about customers, employees and others. The frequency of data breaches – the theft, loss or mistaken release of private information – is on the rise. Data breaches aren’t just a big business problem; small and mid-sized businesses with fewer data security resources are particularly vulnerable. In fact, more than half have been hacked and nearly three-quarters report they can’t restore all their data.
Additionally, the majority of states have enacted breach notification laws that require businesses to notify those affected by a data breach. This process can cost $50 to $100 per record or more, not to mention the damage caused to a business’ reputation and customer relationships. As a result, it’s important for businesses of every size to take steps to prevent a data breach. Here’s how:
Safeguard data: Lock physical records containing private information in a secure location. Restrict access to that information to only those employees who must have access. Conduct employee background checks. Never give temporary workers or vendors access to personal information on employees or customers.
Update procedures: Do not use Social Security numbers as employee ID numbers or client account numbers; develop another ID system. Make sure that your procedures comply with any applicable state or Federal laws. Also, make sure that they align with any applicable industry required standards, such those that may be required by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard.
Educate/ train employees: Establish a written policy about privacy and data security, and communicate it to all employees. Require employees to put away files, log off their computers and lock their offices/filing cabinets at the end of the day. Educate employees about what types of information are sensitive or confidential and what their responsibilities are to protect that data.
Secure computers: Implement password protection and “time out” functions (requires re-login after period of inactivity) for all computers. Train employees to never leave laptops or PDAs unattended. Restrict tele-commuting to company owned computers. Require the use of strong passwords that must be changed on a regular basis. Don’t store personal information on a computer connected to the Internet unless it is essential for conducting business.
Keep security software up-to-date: Keep security patches for your computers up-to-date. Use firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software; update virus/spyware definitions daily. Check your software vendors’ websites for any updates concerning vulnerabilities and associated patches.
If your business’s data is breached, you could incur substantial costs to respond and provide personal services such as credit checks for those affected. Do you have insurance to cover this? Most standard commercial property and liability insurance will not help pay for these expenses, but data breach insurance can.
Because data has become so critical today, many business owners are adding this specialty insurance along with their basic property, liability, fire and theft coverages. Data breach insurance not only pays for the costs to respond, but provides risk management services for customers. At BB Insurance Marketing, we provide Cyber Liability insurance solutions for any industry with access to insurance providers with specific products to combat data breaches or hacking. Contact us to learn more about our Florida insurance solutions and cyber liability coverage or fill out our quick quote form and get a free quote today!