25Feb

Increased Cyber Risks from Remote Work

Working remotely has become the default mode for many businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic. While this allows companies to continue operations while reducing their employees’ chances of getting sick it also opens up the company to new cyber risks.

Working from home requires access to Wi-Fi that may be insecure despite thinking otherwise. In the case of home networks, they are usually set up in default mode that permits devices to connect without passwords.

This even includes Wi-Fi-enabled appliances, monitors, door locks surveillance cameras, speakers and more. Your corporate mobile device may be using this Wi-Fi network also. And even if you are able to use a VPN and private servers, this does not mean your confidential data is not exposed to grave cyber threats.

The multiple variables of all your employees’ home network means that your IT department has to cover more computers. In addition, there will be some employees who don’t completely understand the probability of a data breach with an unsecured network – especially if they access work through public Wi-Fi like coffee shops for instance.

What can companies do to reduce the risk of cyberattacks while working at home? 

> Reinforce the use of VPNs for all remote staff

> Teach employees to scan devices before allowing them to connect with access by unauthorized software or hardware

> Double-check and lock remote devices wherever necessary to help reduce the possibility of cyber attacks without negatively affecting user experience.

> Disable split tunneling for VPN profiles to ensure that virtual employees won’t be able to access Wi-Fi networks directly without going through the corporate network first.

> Companies should also practice scheduled analysis of work-issued devices’ log data to improve detection of cyber incidents.

More importantly, companies should also update their cyber breach response strategies for the entire remote staff and practice plans through exercises with IT and security staff, along with officers and directors.

Many companies in Asia have been able to restructure operations and adapt to virtual offices. They are calling the remote workforce ‘the new normal’. Companies need to anticipate similar incidents like this pandemic – some may even pose more challenges.

For now, what’s needed are immediate measures to tighten online security of remote workers and revisit liability insurance policies that may not yet cover cybercrime-related claims.

17Feb

4 Financial Lessons from Covid 19

This year has challenged businesses and our personal finances. Job loss and diminished profits will affect the next couple of years (maybe more for some) and recovery is crucial. Of course, this is not the first economic downturn we’ve faced but it’s certainly significant because it’s on a global scale. 

Furthermore, the changes brought about by the pandemic not only affected people’s finances but there’s also the factor of lifestyle and the general way of how everyone “normally” went about their lives.

Now that we’ve watched this year play out and its end just around the corner, what can we do to position ourselves in a more crisis-ready strategy for our finances?

Here are the financial lessons we’ve learned from Covid 19:

HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL PLAN

Have a comprehensive financial goal.

These plans should include:

– Long term and short term financial goals
– Milestones
– Contingency plans

It’s not enough to be able to pay our bills and run a business. Not losing money every month may give the misconception of stability but it’s important to have set goals to work towards a higher level of security.

Be specific about goals such as having both health and life insurance in place before the age of 35 to avoid higher premiums. 

Another example would be finding the solution for events like losing 15%, 30%, or 50% of your income. (Hint: Loss of Income insurance may help)

It’s these specific goals that prevent us from being too anxious about sudden events such as this pandemic. Financial goals provide us with better foresight of where the gaps are so we can fill them as quickly as possible.

HAVE 3 TO 6 MONTHS’ WORTH OF EMERGENCY FUND

Save up 3 to 6 months worth of income

Save up money that’s worth three to six months before paying off debt. Having this safety net allows us to support ourself during uncertain times like job loss or low sales in business.

Once you start doing this, it’s also good to add two months each year to get to a total of one year’s worth of emergency savings. That will come as a huge advantage when coupled with unemployment insurance because it can further extend to over a year.

FIND MULTIPLE INCOME SOURCES

This doesn’t necessarily mean having two fulltime jobs. But it can help to explore part-time gigs that will not require too much out of our mental bandwidth. Perhaps a hobby could also become profitable. Having an alternative stream of income can be helpful in case we lose employment.

This pandemic has given rise to plenty of virtual work and it’s an opportunity to find an additional source of money to reach our financial goals much faster. 

Putting money in low or medium-risk investments is also be worth exploring especially if there’s stagnant money in our savings account.

FINANCIAL STABILITY FIRST, DEBT PAYMENT SECOND

Be financially stable first before becoming debt free

Debt can be negotiable because institutions will have mitigation departments to allow debtors to find workarounds when unable to pay. Banks and other lending institutions also want to be paid back so foreclosure would be counter to them in many cases.

This is why gaining stability is more important to achieve first than paying off debts. A more productive way of looking at this is being debt-free is one of the tools in gaining stability. 

One may not have any debts now but if there’s no income coming in, that still puts that person in a stressful position. Having the money to pay for basic living expenses such as food, shelter and clothing are the top priority. 

These four lessons apply even during normal circumstances but more so now that we see how a global crisis highlights our financial blindspots. 

 

Need help with personal or business insurance in Hong Kong? We help expats find comprehensive plans for every need.

 

4Feb

Infographic: Three Examples of D&O Insurance Claims

We recently discussed the increased risks for directors and officers in the time of COVID in our last blog. We also shared questions that both companies and insurers should be asking while in the process of developing new products to answer the emerging needs attributed to the pandemic.

We recommend reading that blog to appreciate the value of purchasing a D&O policy or at least revisiting your current insurance plan to evaluate if it’s enough to protect your company for a possibly huge loss.

Below are examples of claims for D&O from three different types of business: