587-597-5478 heather@thinkinsure.ca

Hi again, it’s Heather Cournoyer – your commercial insurance advisor. Last week I shared some information about some of threats posed from cyber criminals.  You now have a basic understanding of some of the method’s cyber criminals use.  This week we’ll talk about some of the best practices and how you can protect yourself.

Remember many of the breaches and hacks are caused by simple human error.   I’ll share some tips on what to look for so you aren’t victimized.

Let me remind you that I am not a techie.  I’m a business owner just like you and feel that it’s important to me to understand the risk and prepare.  It’s like putting a fire wall in a building to prevent spread of a fire or ice-melt on your sidewalks to prevent slip and falls.  Cyber risk is huge and very costly and I want to be prepared.  Hopefully this information will be helpful to you and please check with your tech guru for their expertise.

I preface this blog with a reminder that protecting yourself, your data and data of others, is not just a nice thing to do.  There are laws in place that impose strict rules and responsibilities under Provincial and Federal laws.  The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) (PIPEDA) and Canada’s anti-spam legislation (Anti-Spam) are two pieces of legislation.

Here are some suggestions as to how you might protect yourself.

1. Know what’s happening. If you read my first blog, you are already aware of the some of the threats posed by cyber-criminals.  Good for you!

2. Change your passwords. I know!  That’s such a pain.  It’s much easier to use one password for all your sites.  The danger in that is that if your passwords are duplicated and not changed regularly, a hacker has much easier access to all of your sites.  There are a number of software programs available to assist you.  Personally, I use Norton’s Password protector.

3. Secure your home office. Have you changed your router password since it was installed?   Do you have antivirus software and automatic back-up tools?

4. SPAM. You’ve all seen those emails that look like they are coming from someone you know.  So, you click on it or worse yet open an attachment.  Bang – you’ve just downloaded malware onto your system. Check email headers and sender’s addresses and only open attachments of verified trusted senders and those that you are expecting to receive.

5. VPN. With so many business owners and employees working from home, it makes it much more accessible to cyber-criminals.  A Virtual Private Network on your home computer can mask your internet protocol (IP) address so that your online activity is virtually untraceable.  It establishes secure and encrypted connections.  Again, shop around to get good speed and reliability.

6. Public WIFI. Be careful! As I said early, I am not a techie so here’s a link to Norton’s Do’s & Don’ts of using public WIFI

These are just a few tips that many of you may know about.  If not, I hope it’s been helpful.  Remember to call on the tech experts.  I would also suggest that perhaps an Information Technology Audit might be appropriate to make sure you are safeguarding your assets, maintaining data integrity and operating effectively.

In our next blog, I will talk about the next level of cyber protection – yes Insurance!   As technology and society changes, the insurance world must adapt. There are now many insurers who have products available.  We will talk about some of the features to look for.

Thanks again for following me and reading my blogs.  As I said, my goal is to provide business owners with information to help them protect their business with a combination of risk management and insurance.

Remember – “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”

Take care, stay safe and be well.