Examples of Cyber Attacks.

Target, the IRS, Anthem BlueCross/BlueShield, Yahoo, and Ebay. These are just a few of the biggest data breaches of the past five years. When you hear a data breach announced on the news, it is human nature to envision an IT Scientist cracking the code of an in-depth system of cyber security. Sometimes this is the source of a cyber attack, but many of the largest data breaches in history were started by something not highly technical. Here are some Examples of Cyber Attacks and how they begun.

Examples of Cyber Attacks | My Insurance Question

General Manager of a Professional Baseball Team uses a Weak Password

This actually happened between the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals when the Astros General Manager used the same user name and password in Houston that he had previously used when he worked in the Cardinals Front Office. Some employees from the St. Louis Cardinals Organization used this information to log in to the internal computer systems of the Houston Astros and obtained access to a database known as Ground Control, which was created by Luhnow. This database included details about confidential discussions within the Astros organization, player evaluations, trade recommendations, statistical information and more.

High-level Industry Executive uses the same password for all accounts

Many high level industry executives have extensive experience and expertise in their particular profession, but have only used computers for some or a small portion of their career. Many high level execs deal with interpersonal relationships between departments, partners and even competitors much more than the day to day operations of a business. For this reason they may not be as in tune with the risks a business faces in the realm of cyber security. These execs also have access to some of the most precious information a business may possess. This makes them prime targets for cyber attacks. In many industries there are many computer programs that require these execs to remember many different usernames and passwords. When you pair these accounts with all of the accounts these people have to use in their personal life, it is human nature to use the same password for multiple platforms. This makes it easy for hackers to find their password from one platform and use it to gain access to a bigger platform with more valuable sensitive information.

Salesman is travelling across country and has their laptop stolen in an airport

A few of the most common examples of cyber attacks are when an employee has a laptop stolen when they are away from the office. Depending upon the information saved on the device, it can be the source a hacker uses to start a data breach. Several data breaches have started when an employees laptop was stolen when their car was broken into and another occurrence happened at an airport while travelling for business. Bringing this to the attention of your employees when they use devices remotely will go a long way towards protecting your business.

Employee leaves the password to his computer on a post-it note attached to his desk

Leaving out a password in plain view can be a common way someone gains access to internal servers. Most offices have commercial cleaning companies in the facility after hours with little to know supervision. The people who work for these third party companies may or may not be ethical. Regardless it is imperative to not give them the opportunity to gain access to your internal computer systems. Many banks do monthly walk-throughs on unannounced days to find if employees are leaving sensitive information out on their desk. Depending upon the type of information your organization works with, this might be necessary for your business.

An employee clicks on an email that is actually a phishing scam

Phishing scams are a very common way for hackers to either install something malicious on one of your businesses computers or gain access to your internal servers. A phishing scam is when a hacker sends an email that looks legitimate asking the receiver to click on something within the email. Many of the emails look very authentic. There are businesses out there that can help you send out test emails to prepare your employees for a phishing scam. The company will send out an email periodically to see who will fall for the request. If the employee clicks on the link you are notified and you can go through additional training with that employee.

Small Business Insurance Jargon

Small Business Insurance Jargon you need to know as a business owner

Buying commercial insurance is something a small business owner has to do once a year. It is not something most business owners think about on a daily basis. When interacting with employees within the industry, there may be an awful lot of small business insurance jargon that is not exactly common knowledge to the general population. Here are ten terms to familiarize yourself with before your next renewal.

Small Business Insurance Jargon

BOP

BOP Stands for Business Owner’s Package or Business Owner’s Policy. A BOP is a package of policies, sold in tandem for businesses in a certain industry or classification code. Because of historical claims records, insurance carriers know the common risks for certain businesses in certain industries and they have created packages of policies specific to that industry.

Experience Mod

The Experience Modification Rating is frequently referred to as the Mod or the Experience Mod. This rating is a formula that includes the businesses Employer’s FEIN by the rating bureau (NCCI or the State Bureau).  The rating compares your loss data to other employers within the same class code of your business. The rating is expressed as a credit or debit on your policy.

Actual Cash Value

The current value of an insured piece of property. This is simply the appraisal value of a piece of property and does not include additional expenses related to a property loss.

Replacement Value

The value of purchasing a new property to replace a lost or damaged property,but it pays for the replacement at today’s value. Depending upon the language in the policy, a replacement value policy may include additional expenses like tear down and removal of debris, bringing the property up to current codes, and construction costs on the new property.

First Party

First Party Insurance Policies are policies that deal with the damages to you and your business. They may include damages like replacing a vehicle after a crash, replacing specialized equipment damaged during a storm, or even hiring a PR Firm to restore the reputation of your business after a data breach.

Third Party

A Third Party Insurance Policy deals with the liability your business faces relating to outside third parties that are damaged by the actions of your business. This may include repairing a broken window caused by the employee of a landscaping company or medical costs for someone slipping on their way to the bathroom in a restaurant.

EPLI

EPLI stands for Employment Practices Liability Insurance. This is an insurance policy that can protect your business when it faces a lawsuit related to hiring and firing of employees. In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, collected more than $482 million for victims of discrimination in private, federal and state and local government workplaces. The reason there is a need for this policy is that a lawsuit does not have to be founded to take up an enormous amount of time for you and your business to prove your innocence. An EPLI Policy can help your business stay afloat when you face one of these claims.

E&O

E&O stands for Errors and Omissions Insurance. It is also called Medical Malpractice in the Medical Profession. This policy protects the insured (you the business owner) against liability for committing an error or omission in performance of professional duties. This may include work done by an engineer or architect on a particular construction project. It may also include the work done by a doctor during surgery. Generally, such policies are designed to cover financial losses rather than liability for bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD).

Hired and Non-owned Auto

Hired and Non-owned Auto Insurance Coverage is designed for businesses who have employees who use their personal vehicles for business purposes or employees who use rented vehicles. The time that these employees are using the vehicle for business purposes is a time when your business is liable for the damages that are caused to third parties as a result of an accident that is the fault of your employee. It is commonly added as an addition to a commercial auto policy, but if your business does not own any vehicles it can be sold as a stand alone policy.

Inland Marine

An Inland Marine Insurance Policy is a specialized form or property insurance that is often referred to as equipment coverage. The primary distinction between inland marine and other property insurance is the fact that inland marine is designed specifically for property which is likely to be moved or in transit. Landscaping companies that have equipment on a trailer is an example of this risk. Inland Marine may be needed for companies with highly specialized property that requires a unique valuation. A land surveyor who uses specialized surveying equipment may need this policy.

 

Lawncare and Landscaping Risk

4 Risks all Lawncare and Landscaping Businesses Face

When looking to purchase commercial insurance, a business owner will hear a lot about the different types of Lawncare and Landscaping Risk their business faces. Many of the risks your business faces are similar to businesses in many industries, but many risks are unique to this industry. Here are four types of lawncare and landscaping risk that all businesses in this industry face.

Lawncare and Landscaping Risk

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, Trips, and Falls are a risk that many businesses face. The Lawncare and Landscaping Risk is high in relation to slips, trips, and falls. Because of the physical nature of the work, lower back injuries are common. Talking about the health and safety with your staff is the first step to any good workplace safety plan. Let your employees know you care about their health and they will be more likely to take it seriously.

Driving

Because of the remote nature of the industry, driving is a part of the work. The time that employees are driving to and from a third party location is a time when the business is liable for damages that occur as a result of a car accident that is the fault of a businesses employees. It is essential to secure adequate commercial auto insurance, to pull the driving records of anyone who will be driving as part of their job, and to implement a safe driving program into the fabric of your business.

Third Party Liability

Liability to third parties is high because of the remote nature of the Lawncare and Landscaping Industry. Third party liability can come in the form of property damage, bodily injury and even dissatisfaction with your work. This type of liability can include damage to the property you are working on, injury to the people at those locations, or even not performing the tasks to the standards of your new clients. Doing a walk-through with all potential clients is important to set expectations, but also to get to know the ins and outs of the property that may not be obvious to the untrained eye.

Seasonality

Depending upon the weather in the area your business operates, there will be peaks and valleys when it comes to the seasonality of your business. Even if your business offers snow removal services in Winter, there will be some amount of time throughout the year when the amount of work declines. It is important to plan for these time periods and to use them wisely. Keeping up an adequate amount of hours for your staff may be the difference between keeping a valued employee and having to train a new fresh employee without adequate experience.

Landscaping: Pay as You Go Workers Compensation

4 ways Small Businesses can save when purchasing Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses

The Landscaping Industry can be seasonal in nature depending upon the climate where a business is located. The industry is also dependent, to some extent, upon the weather. Because of this seasonal nature and the dependency on the weather, it can be difficult to forecast man hours throughout the entire year. This can make a traditional workers compensation policy costly and in accurate. For this reason it is wise for most companies to go with Pay as you Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses

Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses | My Insurance Question

Low Up-front Costs

With a traditional workers’ compensation policy the insurance carrier requires a down payment of around 1/4 to 1/3 of the total premium up-front just to get a policy in place. This amount is estimated depending upon the previous year or the previous three years payroll. In the landscaping business this can be a problem because the amount of man hours is dependent on a number of factors that are out of the businesses control. In most cases, with Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses, a business owner can get a policy in place for little more than a few hundred dollars. This allows the business to free up additional cash that can be better spent on more immediate business needs.

Pay Premium in Real-time

As previously stated, a traditional workers compensation insurance plan is based off of an estimate from a previous years payroll. This can be extremely different than the current years staffing levels. This can cause a landscaping business to severely over or under pay for premium throughout the year. When you have over paid this might be a pleasant surprise after an end of term audit determines you get a refund. On the contrary if you under pay premium it can cause you to take on an unexpected cost. When a business goes with a Pay as you Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses, they pay the premium in real-time based upon the previous months actual payroll levels. This dramatically improves accuracy and frees up cash for other expenditures.

Less risk of being audited

Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation allows business owners to pay their premium in real-time each month based upon the previous months payroll. They do this through a three way partnership between a payroll company, the insurance agency, and the landscaping business. This benefits all three parties involved because the payroll company keeps an accurate count of man hours worked each month, the insurance agency bills the landscaping company based upon an accurate payroll from the previous month, and the landscaping company is at less risk of being audited mid term for their payroll and insurance premium payments.

Frees up Cash

When a small business decides to go Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses they are able to free up cash for two main reasons. First, because of the accuracy of your insurance payments there are less surprises at the end of the term due to over or under paying. Also, there is a lower up-front cost due to not having to pay up to a third of the premium just to get coverage in place. This is great for start ups and cash strapped businesses alike.