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Busses…Kids…Back to School!

 

school-bus-safetyDecades ago, you would be hard pressed to find a school system starting school before Labor Day—no matter how late Labor Day fell. How things have changed. With so many major winter storms extending the calendars into late June, many districts now elect to start in late August.

 

So it’s that time of year again. Remember that you may have to adjust your schedules to account for busses potentially slowing down your commute. (Take that deep breath if you find yourself behind one making numerous stops.) And of course pay extra attention to the roadside where kids may be waiting for their busses. Read the rest of this entry »

Just thinking…about Accidents and Road Debris

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We were driving on Route 24 the other day and came up behind a car towing a small open trailer—piled high with vacation items including chairs, bicycles and a gas grill. It also included a propane tank hanging precariously out the back of the trailer. A small strap secured the neck of the tank, but that didn’t give us much confidence so we changed lanes and moved ahead of this accident waiting to happen.

 

You’ve probably seen it all, too. The mattress on the roof…held on by the driver and passengers holding onto the sides. The open trailer mounded with college kids’ completely unsecured “stuff” as they head back to school. Once we even saw a piano (no ropes or straps) on a boat trailer! What are people thinking?

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Do You Really Understand How Risky It Is To Drive Fatigued?

 

dsdrowsydriving_456pxEveryone knows the dangers of distracted driving. (Although we really wish everyone would take it very seriously.) We also all know the dangers of OUI, i.e. operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 

But how many of us understand the dangers of driving while fatigued/drowsy. Here’s a major “wake-up call” for anyone who finds him/herself fighting to stay awake behind the wheel:

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Don’t Wait for a Data Breach to Build Your Cyber Response Plan

 

CyberIncidentHere’s a bit of unsettling information we found in a cyber risk survey of business risk managers conducted by Hartford Steam Boiler in the spring of this year:

 

Question: How many hacking scares/incidents have you experienced in the last year?

 

Answers:

1-5 aaaa 26%
6-10 24%
11-15 18%
16+ 22%
None 10%

 

 

Only ten percent have been lucky enough to avoid an incident!

And in separate surveys, it’s clear that the problem spans industries and company size.

 

Given the escalating risk, that last thing you want to do is wait for a breach to happen to put a response plan in place.

 

What is a response plan?

A response plan defines the necessary actions a business needs to take in the event of a cyber breach incident, and who has responsibility for those action steps. It’s a plan that should be updated on an ongoing basis as personnel and/or vendors change and as risks evolve. Leaving the development of a plan until an incident occurs runs the risk of you making snap decisions that could impact your ability to recover fully from the incident, delaying the response process, missing key action steps, and potentially increasing the expense of dealing with the incident.

 

What’s the first step?

The first step in developing a cyber incident response plan is to identify the individuals and/or groups that need to be involved in any response. Internally you’ll want to have representatives from each of the disciplines/groups you may have, including: executive, legal (inside our outside counsel), information security, information technology, HR, and PR (internal or outside firm). Consider also any outside firms that may be connected to your servers, e.g. cloud providers, payroll processors, etc.

 

Other vendors are also commonly part of the response team, such as media relations consultants experienced in crisis management, cyber forensics experts, and notification firms with the resources necessary to quickly inform breach victims about the situation. If you have cyber liability insurance your insurance company should also be part of the breach response plan. (Depending on the policy, a number of the team members noted above – e.g. forensics, and notification specialists may be included in the policy.)

 

Laws vary; make sure you know which apply to your firm in all states in which you do business

The laws in each state can vary regarding how and when you need to notify your customers in the event of a breach. And the timeframes for notifications and other action steps are usually precisely defined and enforced, with financial penalties for lack of compliance. So your plan should outline the details, and make sure to identify any and all regulatory agencies that need to be notified.

 

Creating the plan

When you have the team in place, you have the resources ready to develop your company’s plan. A good place to start is the FCC’s cyber planning guide. (While it’s defined as a document for small business, the categories and issues apply to all levels of business.) It outlines a fairly comprehensive set of issues, and what needs to be addressed.

Privacy and data security

Scams and fraud

Network security

Website security

Email

Mobile devices

Employees

Facility security

Operational security

Payment cards

Incident response and reporting

Policy development, management

 

 

If you’re one of the lucky 10% who have not yet experienced a cyber breach, don’t assume it can’t/won’t happen to you. (Look at the number of companies with multiple incidents.) Take the risk seriously. And if you are ready to talk with our experts about a key element in your response plan—cyber liability insurance—we invite you to contact Ted Hughes to discuss your specific circumstances and how this coverage can help protect the future of your company in this digital world.

A Case In Point: Risks of Using Online Insurance Providers

 

auto insuranceOne online insurance provider loves to tell you to “name your own price”.

Another claims that you can save “15% or more” if you take 15 minutes to have them quote your insurance.

Sure, everyone wants to save money whenever it’s possible. But a lack of knowledge of the complex variables involved in purchasing insurance for your car or home can have you paying more…and getting less. Here’s a recent example we encountered:

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Pokemon Go—Don’t Ignore Real World Playing Augmented Reality Game

 

169Pokemon Go, the new, hugely popular augmented reality game (In the first week after it was released it had 7.5 MILLION downloads) lets players ‘capture’ digital creatures as they move around real locations using their smartphones. And in an age when too many people…young and old…have become sedentary, tied to their phones and tablets, this game has the wonderfully positive potential of getting them outside, active, and potentially more social as they interact with other players.

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Ransomware—Reaching Epidemic Levels

 

padcryptSecurity experts are predicting that ransomware is going to become an even bigger problem than it is now. Kaspersky Labs — a leading antivirus and Internet security software provider —says it is so widespread already that it could easily be called epidemic. Their recent study supports that: Read the rest of this entry »

MA Low Plate Lottery: Apply NOW (You can apply ONLINE!)

 

RMV-License-Plate-Lottery-2014-300x150If you always wished you could have one of those low license plate numbers you occasionally see on our highways, now is the time to apply for one in MA. This year’s low plate lottery will run until August 26, 2016. And while your chances of getting one aren’t necessarily great, the odds are much better than winning Mega Millions or Powerball! (Approximately 6,800 applications are entered for the lottery every year and because this year they are making it easy to apply online this year, they anticipate the number of applications will increase. There are 183 plates available.) Read the rest of this entry »

If You See Something, Say Something – More than a Slogan

 

See-Something-Say-Something-GraphicYou’ve likely seen the message on electronic signs on our local highways lately. “If You See Something, Say Something.” It’s been an important message of Homeland Security, state Emergency Management, and law enforcement agencies since 2010. So as we approach our big July 4th holiday weekend, we thought it would be a good idea to elaborate on just what it means.

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Take Steps to Ensure a Safe and Secure Summer!

 

Summer arrived this week. And for many of us, that means the kids are home, we’re planning getaway vacations, and lots of outdoor activities—often away from our homes—fill our schedules. That’s probably why the months of July and August are the top months for burglaries. And visits to emergency rooms spike 15% to 20% during the summer (pool accidents, sun burns, food poisoning, broken bones, etc.) So we decided that a quick overview of safety and common sense tips and any related insurance issues would help our readers increase the likelihood of a safe and secure summer.

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