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Threats, like humans, evolve. Therefore, as humans move to a highly digitized way of living and doing business, so too will threats as they are often the product of human involvement.

I know you were waiting for me to type these words: cyber security.

If you have glanced at a news article or have even stepped foot outside your door, you’ve probably been inundated with this concept. In the insurance world, whether you’re talking about property and casualty or employee benefits, cyber is quickly evolving into a dominant coverage need and a serious concern.

A majority of businesses rely on the cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT) to retrieve information and store data, and hackers have taken note. As with any threat, precautions must be taken, and we must educate ourselves and others. So consider this blog post a small, educational step in the right direction.

Back to Basics

“if hackers find the cloud infrastructure vulnerable, it is easy for them to invade while remaining anonymous”

Hackers are looking for holes in your software security. So, first things first: ensure your organization at least has basic antivirus protection software in place. If your software is going to be hacked, you may as well make it as difficult as possible. Oftentimes, if hackers find the cloud infrastructure vulnerable, it is easy for them to invade while remaining anonymous; they appear as though they belong in the system.

Additionally, you should utilize encryption when handling sensitive documents and data. This precautionary step is important not only for your organization, but also for your clients. It’s an organization’s responsibility to protect employee and client information.

Finally, a simple measure we should all take in protecting private information is backing our files up on external hard drives. This is a simple way to add an extra layer of security.

High Risk Industries Three major industries are at a higher risk for cyber attacks and should be on guard:

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Government
  3. Healthcare

As you may imagine, these industries have a heightened level of private information that could seriously be damaging if stolen.

However, it’s important to note that bigger is not always better in the eyes of a hacker. Fortune 500 level companies are not the only organizations at risk. In fact, smaller companies can provide equally damaging information with potentially less work on the part of the hacker.

Hiring Information Security Professionals

As a result of these new and evolving cyber threats, companies would be wise to focus on hiring top information security professionals. These risks are not going to subside, so we have to make an effort to get ahead of them as much as possible. As we have seen in this year’s election, hackers are sophisticated and are able to penetrate top government officials’ personal emails. This should be a major red flag for organizations worldwide to batten down the hatches on cyber security.

Want a more in-depth view of cyber risk and measures to protect yourself and your organization? Lockton’s SVP and Cyber Risk Practice Leader Ben Beeson recently co-authored a paper for Symantec in addition to his practice’s Cyber Risk Update blog.