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Maintaining Safe Cybersecurity Practices for Remote Workers

This past Saturday, multiple news outlets reported a massive cyber attack infiltrating personal cell phones, mainly iPhones.

The attack used a spyware program called Pegasus to infiltrate apps like iMessage or by having victims inadvertently click on a link containing a virus. Similar to ransomware, this spyware exists in a smartphones memory, making detection difficult. It allows hackers to read text messages and emails, tracks user’s locations, activate systems like the camera, and more. Spyware is very dangerous and leaves the users very vulnerable. For more information on this cyber breach click here: https://time.com/6081622/pegasus-iphone-spyware-hack/.

Companies spend a lot of money and resources to ensure their company protocols and trade secrets are kept confidential; employees sign nondisclosure agreements and there is likely a complex anti-virus system installed on all company computers.  But there is one growing risk that needs to be addressed, your employee’s personal cybersecurity. COVID-19 has taught us that we no longer need to be sitting in a corporate office building to work;  employees can work from home, on the go, or in a local coffee shop. So, it doesn’t matter if your company has the best anti-virus protection; if your employees are working from an unsecured device or location, you are at high risk for a cyber attack.

In a world where employees need to be work accessible at all times, how can companies stay protected against a cyber attack? We have compiled a list of tips to keep Cybersecurity top of mind for a remote workforce.

Employers need to take the following steps to protect the companies cybersecurity:

  1. Adjust Your Cyber Strategy – Ensure you evaluate your cybersecurity strategy, budgets and prioritize investments to improve the companies cybersecurity plan regularly.
  2. Step Up Cyber Training and Exercises – Employees can’t help mitigate risk if they are unaware. Employees need to be informed of new cyber threats and reminded of their role in effectively preventing, detecting, responding to and recovering from cyberattacks. Set up training exercises and workshops for all employees regularly.
  3. Install a secure connection to connect to the company network – Ensure the company VPN is configured to use multi-factor authentication. Note, this is difficult if employees access company data, such as emails on their cell phones.

Employees need to take the following steps to protect the companies cybersecurity:

  1. Not connecting to the company network with any unsecured public Wi-Fi. Working from a coffee shop or having a lunch meeting is very intriguing. But, it is very unsafe to connect to a public WIFI connection.
  2. Creating new and strong passwords their your laptops, mobile devices, and emails regularly.
  3. Not clicking on anything they think could be unsafe or from an unknown source.
  4. Disabling Bluetooth audio discovery and auto-connect on their smartphones and laptops.
  5. Being text message aware – Don’t respond to text messages from people they do not know. Do not respond to unsolicited text messages from companies or organizations.
  6. Not using the same passwords for multiple sites.

If you have any questions about what cyber coverage you need or how to reduce your risk of a cyberattack, please contact Mike, our business insurance expert, at 709-726-4498.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schools Out for the Summer!

Schools out!

This is the best day of the year for students, parents, teachers, and school administrative staff! But, we want to remind drivers and parents about the importance of keeping children safe throughout the summer months. Kids will be excited and may not be thinking about their personal safety, so drivers need to be extra cautious in looking for child pedestrians and bicyclists during the summer months.

We have compiled a list of tips for drivers to follow this summer.
• Be alert, especially in residential areas.
• Expect the unexpected. Children may cross the street at the wrong place or suddenly run or ride in front of you.
• Obey all laws. Slow down if there are children along the road or crossing the street. Come to a complete stop at intersections.
• Double-check behind you and around you when backing out of a driveway or parking space.
• Observe carefully when driving around playgrounds and parks.
• Watch for clues; a hockey net or ball in the road or on the sidewalk can mean kids are playing nearby.
• Don’t block crosswalks when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn forcing pedestrians to go around you: this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
• Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.

Parents, please talk to your children about the dangers of being on the road and ways they can protect themselves: for example, tell your children to make eye contact with the driver before they cross, even if the walk signal is on, make sure they always to stop, look and listen before crossing the street. And, teach your children to watch out for cars that are backing up; even the most cautious driver may not be able to spot a small child running behind them.

Together, we can all make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer.

Boat Safety Tips

There’s nothing quite like spending the day on your boat with family and friends, whether on a pond or the Atlantic Ocean. So, we have compiled a list of top safety tips to follow to ensure you and your passengers stay safe this summer.

Before you operate a boat, you need to:
• Ensure that your boat is insured
• Obtain Proof of Competency – Obtain Proof of Competency
• Apply for a Pleasure Craft License

While operating a boat, you need to:
• Do not operate a boat while under the influence
• Ensure life jackets are correctly fitted and worn at all times
• Check local weather before setting sail
• Carry a throwable flotation device
• Carry Visual and sound signaling devices
• Ensure you have enough gas to get to your destination and back

For more information on boat safety and how to keep yourself and your passengers safe this summer, please visit https://tc.canada.ca/en/marine-transportation/marine-safety/office-boating-safety.

When to contact your broker on your business insurance policy

As your broker, we work for you. We are the intermediary between you and your insurance company; We are fast, friendly, and local.

As your representative, we can only provide you with the most competitive price and the best service if we have accurate information. Therefore, we have compiled a list of times it is vital for you, a business owner, to contact your broker.

  • When your business is changing or altering its operations –  Your business insurance policy premium is determined by your operational offerings (the work you do). If your company develops a new offering/service/product, you need to contact us, your broker, to ensure you are rated correctly for this business venture.
  •  When your business property becomes vacant/occupied – If you rent space to clients, you should immediately contact your broker if the property becomes vacant for more than 30 days. Vacant properties are rated differently than occupied buildings; This will ensure your property is rated correctly and that the insurance company is aware of this change in occupancy.
  • When your business gets a new vehicle/new driver- If you are adding or subtracting vehicles or drivers from your commercial auto policy, make sure to call your broker. The type of vehicle, driver’s experience, and driver’s history are determining factors of your rate; therefore, this notification ensures that your policy is accurate and rated correctly.
  • When you purchase a new piece of equipment for your business – If you are adding a piece of equipment to your commercial policy, make sure to call your broker. This notification ensures that your policy is accurate and accounted for correctly; we can not insure what we don’t know about. In the case of any claims, the policy will respond accordingly.
  • When your digital footprint changes or to learn more about Cyber Insurance – Cyber attacks are among the largest growing threats to any business. Any company that holds clients’ private information, processes transactions online, or uses point of sales terminals has exposure for a potential cyber-attack. Common cyber attacks include locking a company out of its systems, compromising personal client information or accessing financial materials. In any case, this is something that you need to be protected against.

Whenever there is a change in your business – big or small you need to inform your brokers; communication between you and your broker is vital to make sure your insured correctly. For more information or to update your commercial policy, please calls Mike today at 709-726-4498.

Getting your property ready for spring

In Atlantic Canada, spring is a welcome change, especially this year, as March came in like a lion. The snow will soon start to melt, the temperature will rise, and the flowers will start to bloom. For many people, spring is an opportunity to renovate or make upgrades to your property.

Here are six tips to help you get your property ready for spring.

  1. Make a list of tasks for both inside and outside of the property. Spring is a great time to make some upgrades to your property, but it can be daunting. Make a list of all the things you would like to do over the next few months, making your chores much more manageable and taking the stress away.
  2. Trim your trees and shrubs, remove any dead branches. Winter is known to cause havoc with wind and snow, and the harsh conditions can damage tree and plant life. When these large objects are damaged, they can crack off or fall over, causing damage to your property.
  3. Check and repair any damage to your roof. Once the snow and ice have melted, we recommend that you safely check your roof for any damage. Damage to your roof could consist of missing shingles, loose shingles, shingles that may have been damaged, etc.
  4. Check your gutters and downspouts, remove any debris. Check your foundation vents and ensure nothing is blocking them.
  5. Test your smoke alarms and replace the batteries. First alert recommends that you test your alarms at least once a month to ensure they are working properly. If a nine-volt battery powers your smoke alarms, the battery should be replaced every 6 months, while the alarm itself should be replaced every 10 years.
  6. Prepare your snowblower for storage. Your storage guidelines will change depending on your storage location, but some general tips are to drain the fuel, add a fuel stabilizer, and place a cover over your machine. If you have any specific questions regarding snowblower storage, we recommend you reach out to the manufacture.

If you have any questions about your home or auto insurance, please contact Munn Insurance toll-free at 1-855-726-8627 today.

How Do You Use Your Vehicle? Commercial or Personal?

Some people use their personal vehicle when performing certain day to day activities of their job. It happens a lot. The question is, are you covered?

Say for example you’re a salesperson driving a lot for business visiting clients, a construction worker driving from job to job, or a baker delivering a wedding cake. In each of these examples, your vehicle is a vital part of your job. Technically, you are using your personal vehicle for commercial use. The question is, if you get into an accident, will you be covered?

While your personal auto insurance will protect you while you are driving to and from work; that may not be the case if you are using the vehicle for business purposes like the examples above. No one wants to add another bill to their monthly expenses. But, no one wants to be left without coverage when they need it the most.

So, back to the question, are you covered? The simple answer is, there is no one answer fits all. So, let us review some scenarios;

  1. Is your vehicle title in your business name?
  2. Does your employee drive your vehicle as part of their employment?
  3. Do you drive your vehicle as part of your job?
  4. Is your vehicle outfitted with equipment, snowplows, machinery, or tools?
  5. Do you transport/deliver goods, materials or merchandise as part of your job?
  6. Do you/your employees conduct company business while driving their personal vehicle?
  7. Do you transport people in exchange for money?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, we suggest that you phone one of our friendly staff members to review the details of your policy with you. Your personal auto policy may not cover you in these situations. You are at risk of a significant financial loss if you are in an accident with no coverage.

Bonus: Commercial auto insurance is often tax-deductible!


If you would like more information on commercial vehicle insurance, or if you have any questions on your home or auto insurance, please contact Munn Insurance toll free at 1-855-726-8627 today.