Cyber Security Tips for Small Businesses

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In 2014, tens of millions of personal records were compromised by various data breaches. According to The Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 783 recorded data breaches last year, hitting a record high. 1 But while these breaches were headlined by some of the more high-profile cases of JP Morgan Chase, Home Depot, Sony, and Staples, the vast majority of them occur within the small business community, and can cost a small business proportionally much more than the bigger guys. Last year, the average cost of a small retail business data breach exceeded $36,000, and perhaps more worrying, these businesses saw almost a third of their customers leave for good. 2 People often lose trust and confidence in a business that has been hacked or has otherwise mishandled their personal information. This kind of event can also result in lost relationships with key partners and vendors, damage to your brand, and of course, a lot of lost time and stress.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and in an effort to help protect you and your small business, here are some steps3 you can take:

  • Install updated POS systems with (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) EMV “chip and pin” credit cards which prevent hackers from stealing data contained in standard magnetic strips.
  • Make sure all data being transferred online is encrypted. This includes any emails or files you may send to customers, vendors, or partners.
  • Avoid using Wi-Fi networks to prevent third-party interception of transferred data. If you must use a Wi-Fi, make sure it’s secured with a firewall and a WPA2 encryption.
  • Frequently back up your data to an offsite location to avoid a loss in the event of a fire or burglary.
  • Use common sense with password management as well as email accounts. Don’t use obvious or simple passwords, and don’t open any links that may appear malicious.
  • Shred all outdated or obsolete documents that may still contain sensitive or personal data.
  • Make sure you’re up to date on anti-virus software, and stay current by understanding what the latest security threats and protocols are.
  • Educate your employees to safeguard their own information, accounts, passwords, and shared data.

To learn more about how The N&D® Group can help protect your small business from a devastating data breach, click here.

 

1 “Identity Theft Resource Center Breach Report Hits Record High in 2014.” ID Theft Center. IDT911, 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
2 “Small Businesses: The Cost of a Data Breach Is Higher Than You Think.” First Data. N.p., 2014. Web. 1 Oct. 2015.
3 “Stop.Think.Connect. Small Business Resources.” US Department of Homeland Security. US Department of Homeland Security, 2 July 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.

Locally Grown Insurance

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When people “buy local”, they do it for many reasons—the quality of the product, the reputation of the purveyor, the attention to craftsmanship and service. Our local roots are deep—we’ve been working with dedicated independent agents in your neighborhood to cover homeowners, drivers, and businesses for nearly 200 years.

“Locally Grown Insurance” embodies everything The N&D® Group has always stood for:

  • Our employees and agents live, work, and shop in your communities. So we know the people, the region, and the weather. We are committed to providing the best local service possible, from our fleet of Automated Claims Vans that can mobilize for fast, accurate, on-site appraisals and are equipped to provide settlement checks on the spot, to the fact that you can still visit our Dedham, MA headquarters and pay your bill in person, we are there when and where you need us.
  • We work with our valued network of the highest quality local independent agents. We set the bar high and make sure agents meet our demanding standards before they are appointed on behalf of our group. And we maintain close relationships with them to ensure the quality stays high.
  • A thriving community depends on the generosity of businesses who call it home. We are dedicated to the community through our work with local charitable organizations.

Because of our personal and local experience, we are able to offer coverage options that are applicable to where you live, work, and drive, and that can be personalized to your needs. Feel free to contact us or reach out to your local agent to find out how we can protect the assets you value, as well as benefit from our generous multiple policy discounts and feature-rich policies.

IIHS Best Used Vehicles For Teens

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Each year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) releases its list of the best used cars for teen drivers. Research was conducted on a wide range of factors, including statistics on claims propensity and fatalities of teen drivers based on vehicle size and type. IIHS also carried out a nationwide survey of parents to determine the choices parents make when purchasing a vehicle for their teenagers.

Results showed that while parents and teens frequently opted for cheaper, older vehicles, these choices often offered inadequate crash protection, regardless of vehicle size. 83% of teenagers were purchasing used vehicles, with the median purchase price of $5,300 and the average purchase price of $9,800. Size does matter, because while the vehicles most often purchased were midsize or full-size sedans, almost 30% of all teenage fatalities occurred in mini or small cars, with fatality rates generally decreasing as vehicle size increased.

IIHS then compiled a list of recommended used vehicles for teens based on four main criteria:

  • Lower power-to-weight ratios
  • Larger and heavier – No small cars were included
  • Includes electronic stability control
  • Received high ratings for crash protection

Once the list was compiled, Kelly Blue Book values were looked up for the recommended vehicles, and categorized as either Best Choices for teens under $20K, or Good Choices for teens under $10K for those shopping on a budget.

To view the IIHS’s list of recommended used vehicles for teen drivers, click here.