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Maintaining Cyber Hygiene to Meet Edmonton Insurance Standards

Maintaining Cyber Hygiene to Meet Edmonton Insurance Standards

In the age of rampant cyber threats, maintaining excellent cyber security hygiene is crucial for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Alongside playing a pivotal role in preventing phishing attacks and safeguarding operations, it also helps meet stringent cyber insurance criteria, ensuring you get the best coverage at the best price. Today, we explore what cyber hygiene is, its influence on insurance policies, and five key steps to practicing good cyber hygiene with the help of a local IT service provider.

What is Cyber Hygiene?

Cyber hygiene refers to the routine practices and precautions that individuals and organizations take to maintain the health and security of their digital environments. Just as personal hygiene is essential for your physical health, cyber security hygiene is critical for the security and functionality of your digital assets. It encompasses a range of activities designed to protect computers, networks, and data from cyber threats.

How Does Cyber Security Hygiene Help with Phishing?

Phishing attacks are one of the most prevalent and damaging cyber threats that businesses face. Good cyber hygiene helps mitigate the risk of successful phishing attempts in several ways:

  • Improved Security: Since phishing attacks are most often deployed via email, cleaning up your teams’ inboxes is a surefire way to minimize attacks. Implementing robust email security measures, such as spam filters and anti-phishing tools, helps prevent phishing emails from ever reaching users, reducing the risk of employees clicking on a questionable link or handing over sensitive details to the wrong person to near-zero. Going a step further and enforcing multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security, making it harder for attackers to gain access even if credentials are compromised.
  • Increased Awareness: By taking a more active stance towards cyber security preparedness, you help yourself and your team become more mindful of working safely and securely. Regular training programs educate employees about recognizing phishing attempts and avoiding suspicious links or attachments, and are the sort of thing a cyber insurance evaluator will look out for when assessing your SMB’s eligibility for policies.
  • Reduced Vulnerabilities: Practicing good cyber hygiene helps minimize the chances of falling victim to phishing attacks by enabling you or your IT service provider to spot and eradicate potential weaknesses before they can be exploited by cyber criminals. Keeping software and systems updated ensures that any areas primed for targeting by phishing attacks are patched up and strengthened, and the odds of a successful attempt are lowered. As a result, you’re less likely to have to file an insurance claim, meaning you get a better deal on your premium.
  • Elevated Preparedness: Having a clear plan for responding to phishing incidents minimizes damage and recovery time, and perhaps unsurprisingly, devising robust incident response plans are a key part of cyber hygiene. By laying out the steps you’ll take in the event of a breach, you demonstrate to insurers that you’re ready and equipped to handle any crises, phishing or otherwise, that may worm its way around your defenses.

The Impact of Hygiene on Cyber Insurance for Edmonton Businesses

For SMBs in Edmonton, good cyber security hygiene isn’t just about preventing attacks; it’s also about meeting the requirements set out by cyber insurance providers. At every stage, the process of getting insurance is impacted by your ability to demonstrate cyber security preparedness.

First, insurers will assess your business’s cyber risk management practices. If you can prove that you’re taking proactive steps to identify, eradicate, and protect your assets from phishing attacks and other digital threats, you’re more likely to be rewarded with a favorable evaluation.

A favorable assessment – in other words, you being classed as a low-risk SMB – leads to lower premiums and more comprehensive coverage. Since the additional protection you’re undertaking makes you less likely to fall victim to an attack and equips you to meet specific compliance practices that are required to be eligible for insurance, cyber insurers are more likely to offer complete coverage at a better rate. All in all, effective cyber hygiene helps mitigate risk and, crucially, keep insurance costs more manageable for SMBs.

Five Good Cyber Security Hygiene Practices (and How a Local IT Service Provider Can Help)

So, we know why cyber hygiene matters for Edmonton’s businesses; but what does good security hygiene actually look like? The basic measures are actually fairly straightforward, and partnering with a local IT service provider can make implementing them a breeze.

  1. Regular Security Training and Awareness Programs

Conduct regular training sessions to keep employees informed about the latest phishing tactics and cyber threats. A professional IT team can offer tailored training programs, simulate phishing attacks to test employee readiness, and provide ongoing education resources depending on which attacks Edmonton businesses are likely to face at any given time.

  1. Enforcing Strong Password Policies

Not only free and easy to introduce, using complex, unique passwords for different accounts is an incredibly effective cyber hygiene step that should be added to your routine ASAP. However, this tactic isn’t enough by itself; to truly fortify this area of your defenses, combine strong password policies with multi-factor authentication (MFA). Just like with personal hygiene, a multi-layered approach to cyber security is the best way to take care of your business. An experienced team can help set up password management tools and policies, ensuring that all employees follow best practices for password security and meet cyber insurance standards.

  1. Introducing Privileged Access Management

Privileged Access Management, or PAM, is one of the robust security controls that most insurers require businesses to implement to qualify for coverage. Designed to control and monitor access to critical systems and sensitive data, PAM involves steps such as identifying and inventorying privileged accounts, enforcing least privilege access (meaning users only have access to the information and tools they need to perform their job role), and regularly auditing access controls and activities.

  1. Regular Software and System Updates

Software and system updates are easy to let slide when you’re running a growing business. However, they could be the very thing that holds back your cyber security hygiene and causes you to miss out on ideal cyber insurance coverage. Ensuring all software, operating systems, and applications are kept up-to-date with the latest patches and updates means you won’t find yourself submitting claims for breaches that could’ve been avoided with more proactive cyber security awareness. To relieve you of the burden, an outsourced IT team can manage and automate update processes for you, keeping systems secure against known vulnerabilities.

  1. Developing and Testing an Incident Response Plan

Another essential requirement for meeting and maintaining compliance with cyber insurance standards is incident response planning. Devise a clear, actionable plan for responding to cyber incidents, including phishing attacks, with the assistance of an IT service provider. They’ll have knowledge of any eligibility criteria your plan will need to fulfil, help conduct regular drills to test the plan, and provide vital support during an actual incident.

Hygiene is Key for Accessing Cyber Insurance in Edmonton

Maintaining strong cyber hygiene is essential for protecting your business from phishing attacks and meeting the stringent requirements of cyber insurance. For SMBs in Edmonton, adopting robust cyber security hygiene practices not only enhances security but also demonstrates a commitment to proactive risk management, which can lead to more favorable insurance evaluations and lower premiums. By partnering with a local IT service provider, businesses can implement these practices effectively and ensure ongoing compliance with cyber insurance standards. Investing in cyber hygiene today can safeguard your business against tomorrow’s threats and secure your peace of mind in an increasingly hazardous digital landscape.

Tier 3 IT Solutions: Trusted Managed IT and Cyber Security Partners in Edmonton and Alberta

Want to learn more about implementing good cyber security hygiene practices and securing better insurance premiums? We help over 50 businesses in Edmonton and beyond stay aligned with their cyber insurance policies by providing them with innovative tech support and expert insights. To talk to us about scrubbing up your cyber hygiene; reach out now.

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Hi, I'm Jesse and I look forward to speaking with you.

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