Posts Tagged ‘information security’

Multi-colored post-its with different passwords covering a computer monitor.

Streamline and Simplify Passwords

It’s one less stressor!

The more we use mobile technology, the more passwords we accrue. It’s not unusual for an individual to have more than 20 different sites — bank, social media, Netflix, home security — that she routinely enters. Add to this borage of passwords the lack of cohesiveness between websites. One password might require lower and upper case and numbers and punctuation, and another asks for your childhood street address.

How does one simplify the technology puzzle and avoid getting overwhelmed by too many passwords? Here are five steps to follow to keep the letters, numbers and punctuation that make up your internet profile easier to recall and more secure.

Step 1: Use passphrases instead of passwords

Many experts suggest length is key to preventing a hack. The longer the password, the better, even upwards of 20 characters. Use a phrase that is easy to remember such as a favorite cheer for a sports team or something that is second nature in response to you. Some examples might be I-need-my-coffee-at-8AM! or GoBadgerBasketball1984.

Step 2: Use a password manager

How many of you have snapped a photo of your passwords or a photo of a driver’s license to remember information. What happens when your cell phone is gone? Can you access this information? There are hundreds of password managers that can be utilized both via desktop or laptop and smart phone. Although the inputting passwords up front might take time, it’s the sense of organization that is the reward. It’s best not to use the same password for every site. It’s also nearly impossible to remember a different password for each site.

A password manager allows you to use one code to access all of your other codes. This helps secure credential storage as well. The manager can assist in synchronization across multiple devices.

Step 3: Use Two-Step Verification

This is also known as two-factor or multi-factor authentication. This means that a password and a secondary smartphone code are required for access. This might be something such as a finger print, face identification or other tech-savvy options. These are much more secure and nearly un-hackable. Individuals should enable this security whenever possible, especially for financial, email, and other secure and/or private accounts. This can also be enabled with a password manager.

Step 4: Do Your Research

Stay up-to-speed on current online hacks and breeches of data that have occurred. A good resource is https://haveibeenpwned.com to see if any of your online accounts have been compromised. This could be a healthy routine to visit the site once a month to check in on all online accounts and data that you want kept private.

Another easy safety device is to set up alerts on your phone or through Google, Yahoo, etc., that alert you to current scams or if any of your information has been violated. There are thousands of security breaches daily, and don’t panic if you are contacted; it does not mean your information has been compromised. Do your due diligence and determine if you need to go to your password manager to update information.

This information might seem overwhelming; however, being knowledgeable and proactive about passwords and data is crucial to a healthy cyber profile. Technology is constantly advancing. Use these nuances to your advantage. Streamline passwords and stay tech-intelligent.

Graphic of a simply drawn blue house with a whit pad lock on front of it

In the Age of COVID 19 – Be Safe and Secure While Working Remotely

Best practices to help keep your remote environment secure

While working remotely at home provides flexibility and social distancing in this time of COVID-19, it may also open the door to unexpected and unwanted security issues and breaches. By taking a few simple and important steps, you can securely work and have peace of mind that your business is continuing to operate without introducing added risks.

Risks that present themselves range from nuisances and disruption, such as with “Zoombombing” [a disruptive intrusion by hackers into a video conference call], to device and network compromise with viruses, spyware or ransomware.

Here are some best practices to keep your remote environment secured:

Teleconferences

When using Zoom or other remote meeting sites that provide audio and video connectivity, be sure that the security settings are activated to only allow screen sharing by the host, or designated others who have a need. Also be sure to use access passwords or codes available only to the invited participants that are provided in the invite prior to the meeting.

Equipment, Software and Hardware

Often the organization does not provide all equipment or supplies necessary to ensure remote access. The proper protection of information to which the user has access involves connection to the Internet, local office security, and the protection of physical information assets. Below are some of the additional items that may be required:

  • Broadband connection;
  • Paper shredder;
  • Secured office space or work area; and
  • A lockable file cabinet to secure documents when unattended.

Remote users using personal equipment are often responsible for:

  • access to the internet;
  • the purchase, setup, maintenance or support of any equipment or devices not owned by the company; and
  • ensuring current and active antivirus, firewall and malware protection is installed, functioning and updated regularly.

Security and Privacy

Organizations often have policies regarding user logical security responsibilities. Here are a few such responsibilities, which should translate to the work-from-home environment:

  • Log off and disconnect from the company’s network when access is no longer required, at least daily;
  • Enable automatic screen lock (if available) after a reasonable period of inactivity;
  • Do not provide (share) their user name or password, configure their remote access device to “remember me,” or automatically enter their username and password;
  • Enable a firewall at all times;
  • Ensure virus protection is active and current; and
  • Perform regular backups of critical information using a secure storage solution.

Additionally, companies often implement additional logical security procedures for remote users. These may include:

  • Disconnect remote user sessions after 60 minutes of inactivity;
  • Access to company owned technology applications to use commercially available encryption technologies, such as multi-factor authentication, or use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN);
  • Update the virus pattern on a regular and frequent basis;
  • Provide a reasonable backup solution; and
  • Perform regular audits of the company supplied equipment to ensure license and configuration compliance.

Company policies regarding physical security should also carry over into the remote-office. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Maintain reasonable physical security of your remote office environment. This includes access to both company and personal technology equipment and documents;
  • Limit the use or printing of paper documents that contain sensitive, confidential or non-public private information (NPI), and restrict requests for and handling of NPI to only what is essential to perform your job; and
  • Ensure documents containing sensitive, confidential or NPI are shredded and rendered unreadable and unable to be reconstructed.

It is entirely possible to work remotely. A home office can be made secure by adhering to the steps above. Bear in mind that working at a hotel or a cabin or anywhere internet service allows for access presents security issues that may compromise privacy.

For further information, reach out to Tom Weyant, Director, Risk Management & Continuous Improvement, CQA, CFE, directly at tweyant@alliantnational.com or visit www.alliantnational.com/newsroom for additional information and articles related to cyber security and internet privacy. 

The only title insurance underwriter in nation to obtain ISO27001 certification

Alliant National Achieves ISO27001 Certification

Alliant National is the sole title insurance underwriter to achieve this information assets security certification

LONGMONT, Colo. – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, the nation’s largest title insurance underwriter with no direct or affiliate operations, today announced another successful completion of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001 certification for information assets security controls. ISO 27001 is a specification for an information security management system (ISMS), while an ISMS is a framework of policies and procedures that includes all legal, physical and technical controls involved in an organization’s information risk management processes. The purpose of Alliant National’s ISMS is to consistently and effectively manage and protect the non-public information (NPI) it receives and processes in the course of providing title insurance underwriting services. NPI is received from Alliant National’s agents and employees, processed and then stored with a third-party co-location. Alliant National earned its first ISO27001 certification in March 2015 and completed successful surveillance audits conducted by an independent party affiliated with ISO in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to maintain the certification. “Alliant National is the only title insurance underwriter in the nation to obtain an ISO27001 certification,” said David Sinclair, Alliant National’s chief operating officer. “For the fourth consecutive year, Alliant National is proud to achieve this validation that we adhere to rigorous ISO requirements.”

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Cathie Beck Capital City Public Relations e : cathie@capitalcitypr.com p : 303-241-0805
Alliant National is the largest title insurance underwriter in the country with no direct operations to compete against its agents and puts the interests of its agents first. Bolstered by financial stability, strong underwriting capability and independent agents’ in-depth knowledge of local markets, the company has established a nationwide network with deep roots in local communities and a wealth of expertise that is flexible, nuanced and continuously growing. Alliant National’s CEO, Bob Grubb, can be reached at 303.682.9800 x300 or bgrubb@alliantnational.com. Visit joinalliantnational.com for additional information.

About Alliant National Title Insurance Company

As The Independent Underwriter for The Independent Agent®, Alliant National believes in putting other people first. The company protects the dreams of property owners with secure title insurance and partners with 400+ trusted independent title agents as a licensed underwriter in 22 states, with annual revenues exceeding $120 million.

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