In recent years, cyber attacks have emerged as one of the most significant threats facing organizations of all sizes. It is important to remember that no organization is immune to the impact of cyber crime. When cyber attacks (such as data breaches and hacks) occur, they can result in devastating damage, such as business disruptions, revenue loss, legal fees, and forensic analysis and customer or employee notifications.
Cyber Security for Small Businesses
High-profile cyber attacks on companies such as Target and Sears have raised awareness of the growing threat of cyber crime. Recent surveys conducted by the Small Business Authority, Symantec, Kaspersky Lab and the National Cybersecurity Alliance suggest that many small business owners are still operating under a false sense of cyber security.
The statistics of these studies are grim; the vast majority of U.S. small businesses lack a formal Internet security policy for employees, and only about half have even rudimentary cybersecurity measures in place. Furthermore, only about a quarter of small business owners have had an outside party test their computer systems to ensure they are hacker proof, and nearly 40 percent do not have their data backed up in more than one location.
Don’t Equate Small with Safe
Despite significant cybersecurity exposures, 85 percent of small business owners believe their company is safe from hackers, viruses, malware or a data breach. This disconnect is largely due to the widespread, albeit mistaken, belief that small businesses are unlikely targets for cyber attacks. In reality, data thieves are simply looking for the path of least resistance. Symantec’s study found that 40 percent of attacks are against organizations with fewer than 500 employees.
Outside sources like hackers aren’t the only way your company can be attacked—often, smaller companies have a family-like atmosphere and put too much trust in their employees. This can lead to complacency, which is exactly what a disgruntled or recently fired employee needs to execute an attack on the business.
Attacks Could Destroy Your Business
As large companies continue to get serious about data security, small businesses are becoming increasingly attractive targets—and the results are often devastating for small business owners.
According to the Kaspersky Lab, the average annual cost of cyber attacks to small and medium-sized businesses was over $200,000 in 2014. Most small businesses don’t have that kind of money lying around, and as a result, nearly 60 percent of the small businesses victimized by a cyber attack close permanently within six months of the attack. Many of these businesses put off making necessary improvements to their cyber security protocols until it was too late because they feared the costs would be prohibitive.
10 Ways to Prevent Cyber Attacks
Even if you don’t currently have the resources to bring in an outside expert to test your computer systems and make security recommendations, there are simple, economical steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling victim to a costly cyber attack:
- Train employees in cyber security principles.
- Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business.
- Use a firewall for your Internet connection.
- Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.
- Make backup copies of important business data and information.
- Control physical access to your computers and network components.
- Secure your Wi-Fi networks. If you have a Wi-Finetwork for your workplace make sure it is secure and hidden.
- Require individual user accounts for each employee.
- Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.
- Regularly change passwords.
In addition to the listed tips, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides a tool for small businesses that can create and save a custom cyber security plan for your company, choosing from a menu of expert advice to address your specific business needs and concerns. It can be found at www.fcc.gov/cyberplanner.
Your Emerging Technology Partner
A data breach could cripple your small business, costing you thousands or millions of dollars in lost sales and/or damages. Contact Orgill Singer & Associates today. We have the tools necessary to ensure you have the proper coverage to protect your company against losses from cyber attacks.
OSHA Publishes New Rule Regarding Slip, Trip and Fall Protection
OSHA recently published a final rule to update the standards regarding walking-working surfaces, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) meant to protect employees from slip, trip and fall hazards. According to the agency, the final rule is meant to increase consistency between the general and construction industries’ fall protection standards, and will allow employers to choose the system that works best for their workplaces.
The final rule applies to all general industry workplaces and covers all walking-working surfaces—any horizontal or vertical surface on or through which an employee walks, works or gains access to a workplace location. The new standards for these surfaces address the following topics:
- Surface conditions and housekeeping
- Application of loads
- Access to and egress
- Inspection, maintenance and repair
- Additionally, the final rule also indicates that employers must ensure that employees have fall and falling object protection in certain areas and during certain operations or activities.
- Employers will be required to train employees about the requirements of the new rule. And, while the training employers provide to their employees is not required to be site-specific, it does need to address the hazards to which employees may be exposed at their workplace.
- The final rule becomes effective on Jan. 17, 2017, although OSHA will allow additional time for employers to comply with some standards. For more information on the final rule, including a full compliance schedule, call us at 775-828-7420, and ask to see our compliance bulletin, “OSHA Final Rule on Slips, Trips and Fall Protection.”
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If you own or operate a credible business in Nevada, you carry liability insurance. It’s really that simple. If you don’t because you think you’re saving money, you need to reconsider your stance. If you’re starting a business and liability isn’t a line item in your projected operating budget, get in there.
Why the insistence? What protections does it afford? How do you determine coverage needs? And, wait for it… How much does it cost? Let’s take these questions in reverse order.
It’s not expensive. You’ll likely spend more on gas each week than on your commercial liability insurance in Nevada policy. Costs naturally vary depending on the size of the company, number of employees, type of industry and associated risks, and services or products provided. Unsurprisingly, building contractors pay more than graphic artists.
The important question isn’t how much commercial liability insurance costs. Rather, it’s how much does it cost not to have it. We live in the world’s most litigious society. When people have an unfortunate or displeasing episode, they sue. And while the sue-happy mentality is repugnant to most of us, it’s a reality. The truth is that liability insurance will cost somewhere between $700 and $3,000 a year for most businesses. Place that cost next to attorney’s fees and the damages awarded to the employee, customer, or bystander who brings a substantiated claim against you. Without insurance, you’ll likely lose the business and all assets.
WHAT IT DOES
Commercial liability insurance protects a company’s assets and pays for obligations – like medical costs incurred when someone gets hurt on your property or injuries caused by you or your employees. It also covers the cost of your legal defense and settlements or awards to plaintiffs.
The coverage you need depends on the type of business you are in and its associated perceived risk. Your business location is also another factor that comes into play. If you fall into a low risk category, you may want to consider a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP), which combines general liability and commercial property insurance at a cost-effective rate.
FIND A TRUSTED NEVADA BUSINESS INSURANCE PROVDER
A reputable provider will quickly determine needs and optimize coverage before you invest in a policy. When events occur that could lead to a claim, notify your agent immediately. Record all relevant details including time, date, witnesses, and everything you know about the accident or episode. Once that’s done, leave it to your agent and provider, learn from the experience, and get back to safely operating your business with the assurance that you’re covered.
Need comprehensive commercial liability insurance in Nevada? Contact Altus Insurance Group today: Leave us a message or call (775) 828-7420.
One of the most important ways to protect your small business is with liability insurance, but what about Cyber Liability Coverage? Getting cyber liability coverage is now a must, because a data breach can happen any time and affect any kind of business. A data breach is a sudden event wherein personally identifiable information is compromised. Hackers, a faulty transaction, malfunctioning technology, or even just simple human error can be the culprit.
The effects of data breaches on your small business could be devastating. Not only will you be responsible for credit monitoring for anyone affected, but you’ll also have to investigate and look into how the data breach occurred and outline steps to avoid another occurrence. This can be costly and time-consuming.
Did you know that 85% of data breaches occur at the small business level or that 41% of small business owners have no secure data protocols? As a small business owner, it is in your best interest, as well as that of your employees, to get small business liability insurance in Reno. But don’t just stop there – you should also get cyber liability coverage. Read the full article on Cyber Liability or contact Altus Insurance Group for more information.
Did you know that the average cost of an organizational data breach is $5.4 million? Or that 55% of small businesses experienced a data breach? No business is data breach-proof and it’s not enough to get just a regular business liability insurance. Make sure your insurance has a cyber liability coverage.
Be ready with a proper Cyber Liability Policy. Contact Altus Insurance Group today to get more information.
Business owners can retain the best employees with a good health insurance coverage and additional employee benefits. With Travelers Benefits Plus®, providing more benefits to your employees has never been easier or more affordable. This new program is designed specifically for companies that are looking to provide more employee benefits at no extra cost. Employees can apply for auto, home, and other personal liability insurance at special program rates with many available discounts and convenient billing options.
What are the advantages for your company?
A comprehensive employee benefits program can go a long way to helping you recruit and retain the best talent. With Travelers Benefits Plus®, you can enhance your employee benefits program at no extra cost. Everyone needs personal insurance, and your current and future employees will appreciate being able to get excellent and affordable coverage from an A.M. Best, A+ rated company at special program rates and with no hassle at all.
Offering the Travelers Benefits Plus® program to your employees is quick and easy. Your Travelers agent will manage all the details of the program, including:
- Providing a variety of communications to notify your employees about this new benefit
- Preparing no-obligation quotations for insurance coverages for employees as requested
- Providing your employees with professional help with choosing the right personal insurance
Your Travelers agent will also work with you to develop a comprehensive plan for communicating the program to employees. They can provide a variety of marketing materials designed to help the program succeed at no additional charge. Your role is to guide your Travelers agent in tailoring the plan to meet your needs and to support the availability of the program to your employees.
During the first quarter of 2014, researchers found that commercial liability insurance prices rose by nearly five percent. A survey was conducted by Towers Watson to compare prices for different underwritten policies at different points in time. While prices kept growing, the increases noted were the smallest researchers had seen in about two years. They said their finding was one percentage point lower than the prior quarter’s. During the last two quarters of 2012 and the first two quarters of 2013, percentages analyzed by researchers were between six percent and seven percent.
While prices rose for all business lines, the most significant raises amounted to low and mid-single digits. Aside from professional liability insurance, fourth quarter increases were higher than those in the previous quarters. The largest price increase from year to year was with employment practices liability coverage. However, commercial auto and umbrella coverage both experienced significant increases. Large, mid-market, and small accounts did not have substantial differences, and the price increase for specialty pricing increased slightly.
Survey participants reported loss ratios with improvements of about two percent for year-to-date accident coverage from the prior year. Carriers reported an aggregate inflation of about two percent for cost inflation in 2014 and one percent in 2013. Experts concluded that price increases continued to decline after experiencing a moderate but steady decline over time. However, they also noted that price increases have resiliency with the market focus being on inflationary environment uncertainty, risk management and fixed-income investments that still remain low. In ending, they said that price increases are still exceeding the rate of claim inflation even though they are mitigating.
Survey data for this research project is based on renewal and new business figures that are taken from underwriting carriers. The survey’s participants included insurers in the United States in casualty and property categories. This included the top 25 insurance groups and the top 10 commercial lines in the country. More than 40 insurers total participated in the survey, and their reach totaled about 20 percent of the commercial insurance market in the United States. It is important for all companies using commercial insurance to stay current with what is happening and to understand why costs change. This helps them know what to expect in the future to some point.
Download the PDF version of this press release. To learn more about this topic or for answers to any other questions regarding commercial liability insurance policies, contact Altus Insurance Group Nevada today.
Small business owners know that it is their responsibility to keep their operations running smoothly while limiting their risks. However, not all people know how to go about doing this. Some small business owners think getting a commercial property insurance is enough, but that’s not all there is to it. Here are five crucial steps every small business owner should take to minimize risks regardless of the type of business.
- Choose Words and Actions Carefully. Avoid conducting business operations or making statements about the company, its image, or its services that can be considered questionable. For example, it is better to indicate striving to please customers rather than promising a specific outcome unless the owner is absolutely sure of it. Making promises and guarantees can be done, but should be done so with caution and with the ability to back them up financially if they fall through. Also, avoid slanderous statements or libel toward competitors. Do not conduct business with individuals or vendors who are unscrupulous. Another issue to consider is limiting conflicts of interest. These types of situations damage integrity and they can sometimes put a business owner in legal trouble.
- Retain a Good Attorney. It is good to keep an attorney on retainer for possible legal situations and for answers to legal questions. Before choosing one, conduct interviews with possible candidates. Ask friends and trusted contacts for attorney recommendations, and use the Internet to search for professionals with good reviews. A good attorney should not only have experience and a solid record but also should be accessible and return calls in a timely manner. Look for an attorney who is local, and familiar with local laws and regulations related to business operations. For issues that are only tax-related, look for a tax attorney.
- Stay Separate from the Business. While some small business owners choose to operate as a sole proprietorship, this can be a problematic choice. If the company is sued, it is often easy for the claimant to take the business owner’s personal assets in court. When setting up a business as a sole proprietorship, it is better to set up a trust to put the business in. This means the trust will own the business, file its own taxes, and will not cause any personal losses for the individual setting up the business. The only assets that can typically be taken are those that are in the trust. This means a person wanting to put a house in a trust as well should put it in a separate one. Some people choose to incorporate their businesses instead. This is another way to separate personal and business finances and assets. The only downfall about incorporation is that there are many more laws involved, not to mention the taxes and reports. When choosing this option, retaining a good attorney is a must.
- Keep Adequate Commercial Insurance. Every business should have commercial liability insurance, and some should also have errors and omissions coverage. When there is a formal board of directors, it is good to purchase directors and officers liability coverage, which will protect personal assets if the company is sued on a larger scale. Building protection in a policy is important. Discuss adding specific types of coverage with an agent. This will help prevent financial responsibility for the negligence of others, accidents and acts of nature.
- Protect Business Data. Many businesses conduct their operations and store information electronically. It is important to consult with a computer security expert to ensure all sensitive data is properly protected on a hard drive, external drive, and on the Internet. Security software, proxies, spyware removal programs, encryption tools, and secure storage are all essential for sensitive information. Having information backed up regularly will also prevent costly losses of data if computer systems crash, and third-party backup services may also be necessary.
These are just a few of the important steps small business owners can take to protect themselves. One major error in any of these areas could cost the business owner everything. To learn more about insuring against losses, contact Altus Insurance Group Nevada today to discuss your concerns with one of our agents.
Download the PDF version of this article.
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