Cyber safety tips for your business

In this digital age, small businesses, like their larger counterparts, store data about operations, customers and employees. Much of this information is sensitive. With the growing risk of data breaches, it is critical that a cyber security plan be in place to keep your business cyber safe.

 
Cyberattacks or losing data can jeopardize a business’s reputation and operation. Business owners are responsible to keep their digital data safe to protect not only their employees and customers, but the business operation as well. Here are some guidelines to help protect your business from hackers and data loss and keep your digital information cyber safe.

 
1. Protect computers and information – The best defense against online threats such as malware and viruses is having the latest cybersecurity antivirus software installed on your business computers. You can set the antivirus system to run periodic scans that detect online threats. It is also important to install updates to the antivirus system so that it can detect the latest threats to help keep your computers safe. Also, keeping your web browser and computer operating system updated as well can help thwart threats.

 
2. Backup data – All digital information should be backed up on a regular basis. Such files include customer and employee privacy information, receivables/payables, databases and financial accounts. The backed up information is best securely stored in the cloud or offsite with a reliable storage firm.

 
4. Change passwords – You and your employees should change passwords for computers and accounts logins every few months. A good practice is to have a multi-tiered authentication where at least two sets of unique passwords are required to login to computers and accounts. Ask the financial institution who handles your financial accounts and vendors who have access to your sensitive information if they employ multi-tiered password logins.

 
5. Keep mobile devices secured – Company laptops, tablets and cell phones have access to sensitive business information and it is imperative these devices are protected. Your business information should be encrypted and each employee who uses the devices should have their own unique password.
6. Train employees – Your employees should be trained about cyber security such as not opening suspicious emails and attachments. Control employee access to certain information and accounts.

 
7. Secure your Wi-Fi – Keep your business Wi-Fi secured. Shut off or change the Service Set Identifier (SSID). This is the unique 32 character identifier that is broadcast by the Wi-Fi router. If this is not secured, a hacker can gain access to your Wi-Fi network.

 
Keep alert to all your digital accounts and investigate anything that looks suspicious. Your employees should also be vigilant to any changes or strange activity on your business computer system such as unusual software installations, changed passwords, or disabled antimalware. These are sure signs that your system has been hacked.

 
Having a cyberattack response team set up is the best and efficient way to respond to a data breach. If a breach is suspected, immediately secure the computer system. Then, conduct a thorough investigation and notify police if warranted. Determine if any liability needs to be addressed and mitigate any consequences.

 

If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.

Lois Drukman
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848
Email: ldrukman@waltermayinsurance.com

So What About The Law [Radio Broadcast January 2016]

Latest Radio Broadcast

“So what about that law?” Radio Show

Sunday 10:30 AM WATD 95.9 FM

January 3, 2016:     Lois Drukman, Home, Auto, Health Insurance Agent,  co hosted the show and we discussed how to avoid penalties for not having health insurance and how to save some money on your health insurance options.

Here’s the link to listen…

https://soundcloud.com/sowhataboutthatlaw/so-what-about-that-law-january-3-2016

Holiday Safety Tips

The holiday season is the most joyous of the year but, sadly, can also be the most tragic. A large number of house fires occur during December, mostly related to holiday decorations. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), home holiday decorations cause over 400 house fires and $15 million in property damage and loss annually. Additionally, some 5,800 injuries occur each year from falls while people are placing rooftop decorations on their homes, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.

Here are some tips to keep you, your family, and your home safe during the holiday season.

Christmas trees – Many families prefer real trees for their home for Christmas because of their natural look and fragrance. Real trees, however, require care. When selecting a real tree, make sure the needles are fresh and green and do not fall off when touched. About two inches should be cut from the bottom of the trunk. Water should be added daily to the tree stand to provide moisture. A dried out tree is like having a can of gasoline sitting in your living room.

The tree should not be placed near any heat source such as a fireplace, stove, radiator or vent. Never use candles on a real tree. Use only Underwriters Laboratory approved lights. Make sure the lights and cords are not damaged. One of every three house fires caused by a Christmas tree is related to an electrical problem. The NFPA reports that one of every 31 house fires sparked by a Christmas tree results in death compared to one in every 144 house fires.

Lights – Holiday lights should not be used for more than three seasons since they are delicate and can damage easily. Do not use more than three sets of push-in bulb strings together. You should also not use more than 50 screw-in bulb strings together. Check the cords for fraying or damage. Also, check the conditions of the bulbs. Do not overload electrical outlets or extension cords. Never run an electrical cord under a rug. Turn off the lights when leaving your home or going to bed.

Candles – Although real candles can set a mood, they can be dangerous. December is the prime month for candle-related fires. Never leave candles unattended in a room or place them near anything combustible. Place candles on non-flammable and heat-resistant surface or plate. According to the NFPA, 56 percent of candle-related house fires are the result of candles being too close to another object.

Children and pets – Holiday decorations draw the attention of both children and pets. While adding to the festive ambiance of your home, decorations can be a hazard for your child or pet. Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe are poisonous if ingested. Symptoms of poisoning from these plants include rashes and nausea. If your child exhibits these symptoms, call the National Poison Center at 800-222-1222. Pets can also show similar symptoms and should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. Also, never let your child handle electrical extension cords since most contain lead that can rub off on hands. Wash hands after handling electrical cords. Tinsel, small toys, and decorations pose choking hazards. It’s best to keep an eye on your child or pet when these near objects.

Following these holiday safety tips will make your holidays memorable – in a good way!

If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.

Lois Drukman
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848
Email: ldrukman@waltermayinsurance.com

Turkey Frying Safety Tips

Thanksgiving turkey is a tradition in the United States, but the conventional way of roasting the turkey in an oven is turning to deep frying the bird. A deep-fried turkey, according to aficionados, is juicier and has more flavor than one that has been oven roasted.

Turkey Fryer Fires

Deep frying turkeys, however, comes with its risk. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) says that more than 1,000 fires occur each year caused by deep fryers. The agency reports that the majority of these fires happened in November and December during the holiday season causing about $15 million in damages and serious injuries.

Hot, spattering oil from deep fryers has caused burns, some life threatening. Because of the inherent dangers, the Underwriters Laboratories and the NFPA are advising people not to use them. If you decide to deep fry your turkey, there are several safety tips to take that will help protect both you and your property.

1. Use a fryer that has a solid base and at least four legs. This provides better stability and helps prevent the cooker from toppling over. Read and follow the fryer’s directions to the letter. Never leave the fryer unattended while it’s cooking. It is best to use a fryer that has temperature controls.

2. The fryer should never be used inside the home or on an outside deck. The fryer should be placed on solid, level ground at least 10 feet from any structure and not under an overhang or awning. The propane tank should be at least two feet away from the burner.

3. The turkey should be completely thawed and dry before placing into the fryer. Water or ice in or on the turkey will quickly turn into steam and cause a flare-up or an explosion when it contacts the hot oil. Also, do not use the cooker while it is raining or snowing since either could also create a flare-up or explosion upon hitting the heated oil.

4. Do not overfill the cooker with oil. Allow for displacement when the turkey is placed into the fryer. Overflowing oil can ignite when it comes in contact with the burner. It is best to use a smaller size turkey for frying, one that is no more than 12 pounds. Do not stuff the turkey or use water-based marinades.

5. Before cooking, put the turkey in the empty fryer. Pour water to determine how much oil will be needed to just cover the turkey. Remove the turkey and water and then dry out the fryer before using. Add the the oil to about one or two inches below the water line. Remember, oil will expand when it heats.

6. Turn the burner off before placing the turkey in the fryer. Once the turkey is in place, turn the burner back on. You should wear goggles or safety glasses and oven mitts for protection. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

7. Monitor the oil temperature. Oil can ignite when it is heated over its smoke point. If the oil starts smoking, turn off the burner to avoid a flare-up that could cause serious burns or start a fire.

8. Use a non-oil fryer. These cookers use infrared heat instead of oil. They cook just as fast and are much safer. With these oil-less fryers, you can add rubs or marinades on the turkey.

If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.

Lois Drukman
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848
Email: ldrukman@waltermayinsurance.com