As a key piece of an insurer’s risk management efforts, multi-layered security is a must for small to mid-size insurers. Protecting your client data from cyber threats is a priority, and here are a few ways to secure data and remain in compliance.
Cloud technology has come a long way, now safely equipping small and mid-size insurers with the platforms they need to stay competitive. The cloud’s scalable platforms and host-provided security updates alleviate many IT concerns, but insurers must choose their software wisely. Unlike generic, off-the-shelf software packages, insurance software solutions specifically built for and in the cloud, include comprehensive compliance and assurance programs. The same packages also provide protections that meet or exceed insurance industry security guidelines. This is an important consideration as states such as New York and California set the standard for new cyber security regulations.
Industry security guidelines are met through the provision of multi-layered security. A secure cloud platform is one layer, but security experts strongly suggest following data encryption standards from end-to-end. This approach includes protecting data that is in-transit data as well as protecting data at rest.
Encrypted, secure, and controlled data is optimal but only when that data can be shared and accessed. After all, data is only powerful when it can be used. Yet it’s important to note that internal threats can also compromise data security. Controlling access to information, while still making it available to those who need it, is doable when data is classified and then accessed through a role-based access system. Employees are able to access only the data they need within a secure, single-platform, controlled-access environment.
Countering Human Error
Human error is still a primary cause of security breaches, whether through phishing attempts, simplistic passwords or shadow IT. Error is mitigated when training and protocols are developed and followed. Choosing insurance software that facilitates note-sharing between colleagues, provides calendar updates and in-platform workflow management tools ensures that employees will never need to work outside of the platform’s secure environment.
A Formal Cybersecurity Program
Whether using a cloud-based platform or incorporating cloud-based software as part of a larger IT operation, it’s important for insurers to consider the bigger, risk-management picture, and establish a cybersecurity program in order to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the organization’s IT systems and assets.
Under the management of this program and as part of the organization’s larger risk management efforts, insurers should consider creating a cybersecurity policy that includes the following basics:
- Risk assessment
- Asset inventory and device management
- Physical security and environmental controls
- Access controls and identity management
- Business continuity and disaster recovery planning and resources
- Systems operations and availability concerns
- Systems and network monitoring and security
- Customer data privacy
- Vendor and third-party service provider management
- Incident response