Security is a top priority for many Americans. Putting a security system on a home to protect from theft or burglary, setting the alarm on the car so that somebody doesn’t drive off with it, and locking the phone to keep people from looking at personal information are all ways we attempt to secure family and belongings.
Digital security, for most people, goes right to the top of this list and advisers can provide such a benefit to clients through the convenience of the workplace.
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Laura Bruck, vice president of marketing and solution strategy at EZ Shield, and Angela Murphy, COO, shared necessary tools and tips on how to protect businesses and their employees from identity theft and breaches in security at EBA’s Workplace Benefits Summit last week.
“We’re empowering and educating business owners to take the right safeguards to protect their employees,” Murphy said. “The challenge is mobile create that ease of use but it doesn’t always create security, so we really want to explore social media transactions so that we all have a common understanding of the risks that we are putting ourselves in.”
Bruck and Murphy said employees could be an employer’s weakest link when it comes to security and protection of private business information due to poor choices in password protection.
“At least 65% of people use a single password at work and 62% of employees share passwords with coworkers,” Bruck said. “Some people even write down their password on a sticky note and put it right on their laptop or desktop computer, which is a huge breach of security.”
Too much access
Bruck added that 169 million sensitive records were exposed last year via Social Security numbers, medical information, payment and credit card data, which many HR representatives handle every day.
“Forty-eight percent of people after termination still have access to corporate accounts; that’s pretty scary,” Bruck said. “Earlier this year, SHRM put out a study that 40% of corporate employees would sell their password for less than $1,000, some less than $100.”
Also see: “How this election will change employee benefits.”
The amount of information employees have access to is extremely high, due to the trust and responsibility required in many high security positions. However, the ability of large employers to rely on these individuals is paramount to the success of their businesses, which is why brokers need to push the inclusion of ID theft protection as a voluntary benefit to their clients not for the sake of the employees but for the security of high value business information, Bruck and Murphy said.
“Companies need to be taking precautions and they need to be educating their employees,” Bruck said. “People don’t understand the risks they are putting their companies in.”
Murphy finished the briefing by offering some suggestions as to what employees need to maintain a high level of security for digital information that brokers and their clients should keep in mind when coming into the coming enrollment period:
- Ensure the benefit is at reasonable price
- Make sure there is ease of use and implementation
- Confirm it can be used in multiple locations
- Ensure demand in the benefit
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