With the revelation that celebrity data was hacked on Apple’s iCloud service; it must appear that cloud storage isn’t looking as safe as it was claimed to be. Insurers don’t need to worry unduly about data in the cloud; the celebrities had failed to follow Apple’s security recommendations and that was let their accounts be hacked. However, it is important to take steps to protect your data in the cloud and there are some simple measures that can help keep it as secure as possible:

1. Keep an Eye on those With Access to the Cloud

If you have people within the organization responsible for administrator rights or those with access to the most valuable Intellectual Property (IP) you have in the cloud; you need to keep an eye on them – it’s easy for people to get careless about security protocols, a gentle reminder every now and again can get them refocused. Ideally, you also want to make sure that they get the best training possible to ensure that they fully understand how to keep your data secure and what the best practices are at any point in time.

2. Restrict Access Based on a Need to Know and The User’s Device

Always give people the minimum amount of access to data necessary; it limits your exposure if a breach occurs on a specific user account. You also want to consider reducing someone’s access based on the device they use to access the network. If they use their desktop PC there’s much less risk of someone else breaching your security precautions than if they are using their smartphone (which is vulnerable to loss and theft).

It’s also important to ensure that device security is managed centrally. Patch updates, etc. need to be managed without user input for greatest efficiency. Regular audits, of smartphone content to eliminate applications which leave your data at risk, are a good idea too.

3. Conduct a Thorough Risk Assessment

Data which, if breached, could leave you particularly vulnerable should have stronger levels of protection and control of access than more general data. The good news is that insurers should be used to assessing risk and determining their priorities; more so than other businesses facing implementing these measures.

4. Use Intelligent Network Protection

The better the analytics packages you use to protect your network; the more secure your cloud stored data will be. Don’t rely on the cloud hosting provider’s protection measures solely. Always, implement your own.

5. Monitor the Cloud

Robust procedures such as user validation and password validation through external devices; also enable you to build an audit trail. If something does go wrong; you need to be able to identify where, when, who, etc. as fast as possible to put it right before any material damage is done to your data or your business.

It’s worth remembering that cloud storage is generally secure. Most cloud data hosts incorporate their own security protocols (including advanced encryption for your data that is designed to render it useless to a hacker in the event of a breach). However, a smart insurer doesn’t rely on the cloud data host alone – they take action to protect their data above and beyond this.

Cloud Security for Insurers

{ 0 comments }

Automotive Insurance Premiums to Fall Again?

by nickk on September 1, 2014

There’s a lot of technology looking to drive automotive insurance premiums down. The beginning of this trend was with telematics. The idea that you can monitor the insured party’s vehicle remotely for a range of condition enables insurers to reduce the risks they cover with greater certainty. Then there are dashboard cameras which enable incidents to be reviewed in detail and blame apportioned fairly.

The ultimate end point of this technological journey is the driverless car and companies like Google are indicating that this isn’t too far away.

Another Step on the Path

In the interim, General Motors has announced yet another development that may impact on the premiums of hundreds of thousands of motorists. They say they’ve developed a device which enables them to tell when a driver is distracted from paying attention to the road. They’re confident enough that this technology works that they will be installing them in 500,000 new cars over the next 3-5 years.

The technology itself will be coming from Seeing Machines (which is an Australian company listed on the London stock exchange) which in turn will be working with Takata (a company which specializes in safety devices) so supply GM with their monitoring devices.

How Does the Device Work?

The idea is that the will be cameras installed inside the car which track the motion and rotation of the driver’s head. This data can then be used to generate warnings; for example, if the driver is applying makeup rather than checking their mirrors – they’ll be told to pay more attention to the mirrors in the right way.

And There’s More

The potential for this technology doesn’t end there. You could use it for driver recognition programs which ensure that the right driver is present before the ignition can be activated. You could then, theoretically, stop your children from driving your car late at night by limiting their ability to activate the vehicle to during the day and early evenings.

If the car is stolen; it could also capture images of the individual thief making it easier for the police to catch them – particularly if it was combined with a 3G broadcasting system so images are sent in real time.

Then, to take things a little further still you could monitor things like pupil dilation and incorporate additional sensors for vital signs to ensure that the driver is healthy and sober before taking the wheel.

In fairness, it remains to be seen how these devices will perform on the road in the mass market and insurers can probably relax until the technology becomes fully accepted.

Car Insurance Safety Device

{ 0 comments }

3-D Printing and Insurance – More Technological Disruption?

by nickkAugust 18, 2014

3-D printing has been hailed as one of the technological innovations of the century. You can develop prototypes quickly and easily without expensive manufacturing. You may soon be able to use them to print medicine or organs in remote corners of the world. In the rush to embrace the good from this kind of printing […]

Read the full article →

The End of the Insurance Underwriter?

by nickkAugust 4, 2014

Technology brings change; it’s inevitable. Most change is positive; it makes us more productive, it allows us to do things more safely, it brings convenience but there is also disruptive change. A recent paper from Oxford University sheds light on a change that some in the insurance industry will not appreciate; “The Future of Employment: […]

Read the full article →

Nanotechnology and Insurance

by nickkJuly 31, 2014

There are many fields of emerging risk in technology but few are as fascinating as nanotechnology. Nanotechnology involves materials which are less than 1 billionth of a meter long. A human hair is about 800 times thicker than the average nanomaterial. It’s not too long ago that nanotechnology was really the stuff of science fiction. […]

Read the full article →

Consumer Insurance Companies – About to be Rated?

by nickkJuly 21, 2014

There’s no doubt that technology has the power to help the insurance industry. This week, we’re left wondering if a new development may hinder some insurers and boost the profiles of others. Traditionally insurers have been rated on their financial performance and perhaps their stockholders. These measurements are great if you want to invest in […]

Read the full article →

Is It Time for Your Insurance Brokerage to Ditch Google?

by nickkJuly 7, 2014

Google’s rise to the pole position of search engines was nothing short of meteoric. Many have tried to dominate this space on the internet and many have failed. Google won’t acknowledge that the word “Google” has become a verb because it would damage their trademark but the name has become truly synonymous with searching for […]

Read the full article →

Selfies to Settle Car Insurance Claims?

by nickkJune 23, 2014

Last year, the word “Selfie” entered the English language officially when the Oxford English Dictionary finally included it in the dictionary. They also made it their word of the year for 2013. For the uninitiated the “selfie” is simply a photo you take of yourself. Once you’ve taken the shot; it’s normally uploaded to a […]

Read the full article →

Why Aggregators are Beating the Insurers and Winning Customer’s Hearts and Minds

by nickkJune 19, 2014

Last week on our sister site; we looked at the reasons that User Experience (or UX) is important to insurers looking to improve their online offerings or to move into the mobile application space. This week we’d like to review some of the findings from a recent report from Instinct Studios and show how a […]

Read the full article →

Bitcoin and Insurance – Cover Your Virtual Wallet

by nickkJune 9, 2014

Bitcoin is the world’s most famous virtual currency. It is an unregulated means of conducting transactions on and offline. Whilst much of the press attention regarding Bitcoin has been focused on the ability to conduct criminal dealings in a hard-to-trace manner; there has been a growing interest in the currency from more legitimate users too. […]

Read the full article →