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Who Knew? Curious Uses for WD-40

Scoiattolo© Nikokvfrmoto

Welcome to a new addition to the Dean & Draper blog topics – Who Knew?  We always want to provide you with ideas you can use and really enjoy the sending you on occasion some unusual and slightly strange information. 

Right after the required duct tape, just about every household has a can of WD-40 stashed on a shelf.  Reader’s Digest recently published over 50 ways to use WD-40.  We selected our top 10 favorites to send to you. 

1.    Use WD-40 to protect a bird feeder.  To keep squirrels from taking over a bird feeder, spray a generous amount of WD-40 on top of the feeder. The pesky squirrels will slide right off.

2.    Remove chewing gum from hair.  It’s one of an adult’s worst nightmares: chewing gum tangled in a child’s hair. You don’t have to panic or run for the scissors. Simply spray the gummed-up hair with WD-40, and the gum will comb out with ease. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when you spray and take care to avoid contact with the child’s eyes.

    3.    Keep wasps from building nests.  Don’t let yellow jackets and other wasps ruin your spring and summer fun. Their favorite place to build nests is under eaves. So next spring mist some WD-40 under all the eaves of your house. It will block the wasps from building their nests there.

      4.    Remove doggie-doo.  Uh-oh, now you’ve stepped in it! Few things in life are more unpleasant than cleaning doggie-doo from the bottom of a sneaker, but the task will be a lot easier if you have a can of WD-40 handy. Spray some on the affected sole and use an old toothbrush to clean the crevices. Rinse with cold water and the sneakers will be ready to hit the pavement again.

        5.    Remove strong glue.  You didn’t wear protective gloves when using that super-strong glue and now some of it is super-stuck to your fingers! Don’t panic. Just reach for the WD-40, spray some directly on the sticky fingers, and rub your hands together until your fingers are no longer sticky. Use WD-40 to remove the glue from other unwanted surfaces as well.

          6.    Loosen zippers.  Stubborn zippers on jackets, pants, backpacks, and sleeping bags will become compliant again after you spray them with WD-40. Just spray it on and pull the zipper up and down a few times to distribute the lubricant evenly over all the teeth. If you want to avoid getting the WD-40 on the fabric, spray it on a plastic lid; then pick it up and apply it with an artist’s brush.

            7.    Remove decals.  You don’t need a chisel or even a razor blade to remove old decals, bumper stickers, or cellophane tape. Just spray them with WD-40, wait about 30 seconds, and wipe them away.

              8.    Remove marker and crayon marks.  Did the kids use your wall as if it was a big coloring book? Not to worry! Simply spray some WD-40 onto the marks and wipe with a clean rag. WD-40 will not damage the paint or most wallpaper (test fabric or other fancy wall coverings first). It will also remove marker and crayon marks from furniture and appliances.

                9.    Untangle fishing lines.  To loosen a tangled fishing line, spray it with WD-40 and use a pin to undo any small knots. Also use WD-40 to extend the life of curled (but not too old) fishing lines. Just take out the first 10 to 20 feet of line and spray it with WD-40 the night before each trip.

                  10. Keep dead bugs off car grille.  It’s bad enough that your car grille and hood have to get splattered with bugs every time you drive down the interstate, but do they have to be so darn tough to scrape off? The answer is no. Just spray some WD-40 on the grille and hood before going for a drive and most of the critters will slide right off. The few bugs that are left will be easy to wipe off later without damaging your car’s finish.

                  You’ve just seen our top 10 favorites for using WD-40.  If you would like to see the Reader’s Digest complete list of ideas, click here.  We hope that you’ve found some new ideas for your trusty can of WD-40.

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.

                  October is National Cyber Security Month


                  October 2014 marks the 11th Annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center.  With the continued threat of cyber breaches and online security risks, we all need increased awareness plus tips and ideas to assure the security of our business and personal data. 

                  The Tips below are from the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Stop Think Connect program. 

                  Keep a Clean Machine.

                  • Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

                  • Automate software updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.

                  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web‐enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.

                  • Plug & scan: “USBs” and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

                  Protect Your Personal Information.

                  • Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.

                  • Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.

                  • Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.

                  • Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.

                  • Own your online presence: When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.

                  Connect with Care.

                  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.

                  • Get savvy about WiFi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.

                  • Protect your $$: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.

                  Be Web Wise.

                  • Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.

                  • Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.

                  • Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

                  Be a Good Online Citizen.

                  • Safer for me more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.

                  • Post only about others as you have them post about you.

                  • Help the authorities fight cybercrime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to http://www.ic3.gov (Internet Crime Complaint Center), the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.onguardonline.gov/file‐complaint.

                  Visit http://stopthinkconnect.org more helpful information.

                  Before your business becomes a cyber target, consider Cyber Breach Insurance.  At Dean & Draper, we welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your needs and to explain the choices of coverage.  Contact Us.

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.


                  Health Alert – Ebola Virus in Texas

                  © fotoliaxrender

                  With the first U.S. case of Ebola virus just up the road in Dallas, we’re all getting jumpy about this deadly disease.  So, how prepared is Houston in case the virus spreads? 

                  In an October 1, 2014 article in the Houston Chronicle, Dr. Kenneth Maddox, chief of staff at Ben Taub General Hospital outlined Houston’s Ebola plan.

                  "We spent a fair amount of time developing this strategy to identify and safely treat at-risk patients," said Dr. Kenneth Mattox, chief of staff at Ben Taub General Hospital. "We are dependent on individuals to follow all the steps and exercise proper judgment, but the protocol is in place to make sure no Ebola patient is prematurely discharged."

                  Mattox said the need to follow the protocol is critical because it could be easy to confuse Ebola symptoms with those of so many other, less deadly conditions. He said Ebola symptoms are identical to those of 20 other diagnoses, such as malaria, dengue fever, West Nile and the flu.

                  Dr. Thomas Geisbert, an Ebola expert at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said that the miscue in Dallas likely will put hospitals in Houston and throughout the country on alert and make it less likely the incident will be repeated.

                  Houston health officials were quick to note that U.S. hygienic conditions and infection control procedures would prevent any rapid or sustained transmission of Ebola here.

                  CDC Responds to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak

                  As Center for Disease Control experts work 24/7 in response to the Ebola Outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, they support the response in many different capacities. In an effort to get the worst Ebola outbreak in history under control, CDC is not only providing guidance to healthcare professionals but traveling back to West Africa to focus on stopping the spread of the disease.  To see their individual stories, click here 

                  How is Ebola Transmitted?

                  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals and humans.

                  “It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest."

                  "Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids."

                  "Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD. This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced.”

                  To see the complete WHO Ebola Fact Sheet, click here.

                  30 Ebola Facts

                  Melissa Hillebrand not only covers the scary facts about Ebola in her October 1, 2014 article for PropertyCasulaty360, 30 Ebola Facts That Will Make You Cringe, Plus 7 Ways to Manage the Risk, she also discusses the insurance risks in the areas of General Liability – alleged negligence in exposure for customers or employees; Workers Compensation – exposure due to business travel; and Property/Business Interruption – due to temporary facility closures.  To read the entire article, click here. 

                  We invite you to call or contact us if you have questions about your insurance or getting additional specialized coverage.  

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.

                  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

                  © ilzesgimene - Fotolia.com

                  The statistics are stunning.  Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease according to the Center for Disease Control.  It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.  The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer during her life is about 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 36.  Right now there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

                  Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.  Black women have the highest breast cancer death rates of all racial and ethnic groups, and are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.

                  Second only to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women.  Getting regular mammograms allows any cancer to be discovered early when treatment is more effective.  Most insurance companies and Medicare cover the cost of mammograms. And, in many parts of the U.S., low-cost or free mammograms are offered through national programs and community organizations.

                  Komen Affiliates fund breast cancer education, screening and treatment projects for those who need it most. Find an Affiliate in your area to learn what resources are available. Or, call our breast care helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) to help find low-cost options in your area.  For more information, click here. .

                  A great way to fight breast cancer is to have a plan that helps you detect the disease in its early stages. Create your Early Detection Plan to receive reminders to do breast self-exams, and schedule your clinical breast exams and mammograms based on your age and health history. An Early Detection Plan enables you to be proactive about your health by reminding you to do monthly breast self-exams and schedule clinical breast exams and mammograms – and the app or plan is FREE.  Click here to get started on your plan.

                  Want a good tool to assess breast cancer risk levels?  The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool is an interactive questionnaire designed by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) to estimate a woman's risk of developing invasive breast cancer.   Click here for the assessment. 

                  Are you looking for ways to support Breast Cancer Month?  A good start is the Susan G. Komen Houston Race for the Cure on Saturday, October 4, 2014.  To register for the race or get more information, click here.  For a complete list of events in Houston for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, click here.

                  Have questions about your health insurance coverage?  At Dean & Draper, we invite you to call with your questions or concerns.  Contact Us. 

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us. 

                  Health Expenses, Health Insurance, and Saving Money

                  © Les Cunliffe - Fotolia.com

                  We’re all interested in saving money on just about everything.  Our friends at AARP have compiled an interesting list of ideas from three experts - Holly Phillips, contributor to CBS News; Patricia Barry, author of Medicare for Dummies; and Nancy Medcalf, senior editor of Consumer Reports.  We thought you would find some suggestions that you could use in the article below. 

                  13 Ways to Lower Health Expenses

                  Tips from Holly Phillips, internist and medical contributor for CBS News:

                  1. Switch to generic drugs. The price is usually lower, as well as the copay.

                  2. Don't smoke. Cigarette smokers pay more for insurance and require more medications and doctors visits. Cigarette smoking costs the United States up to $333 billion annually, including at least $130 billion in health care costs.

                  3. Ask about independent facilities for radiologic tests. Having an MRI at a hospital costs an average of $1,200, but the same procedure at independent radiologic facilities costs about half that.

                  4. Take advantage of wellness benefits. Many employers offer incentives for participation in exercise and other health programs.

                  5. Take your medications regularly. Many costly hospital visits are for conditions (like asthma or high blood pressure) that were managed well with medications until they worsened when the patients skipped doses.

                  6. Eat veggies. Vegetable intake is inversely correlated with diabetes incidence. And diabetes drives up insurance costs. The more colorful your veggies, the better.

                  Tips from Patricia Barry, AARP Media editor and author of Medicare for Dummies:

                  7. Sign up for Medicare at the right time. Missing your deadline could cost a lot in late penalties, which would be added to your premiums for all future years.

                  8. Pick a prescription drug plan wisely, according to the drugs you take. Plans charge different copays — sometimes varying by more than $100 a month for the same drug. To compare costs, go to Medicare's website or call 800-633-4227.

                  9. Check out programs that reduce Medicare costs. If your income is low, you may qualify for a Medicare Savings Program (under which states pay premiums and other expenses) and/or low-cost drug coverage under Part D's Extra Help program. For details call Social Security at 800-772-1213 or go to Social Security's website.

                  10. Choose the right doctor. A physician who accepts Medicare "on assignment" cannot charge more than the Medicare-approved amount. Otherwise, your share of the cost can be up to 15 percent greater. Medicare pays nothing if you see a doctor who has opted out of the program.

                  11. Read the Annual Notice of Change in which your Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan lists all its changes for the following year, then compare it with other plans during open enrollment and consider switching to another that gives you a better deal.

                  Tips from Nancy Metcalf, senior editor, Consumer Reports:

                  12. Register on your health insurer's website. Many allow you to look up in-network prices of common services, which can vary by a factor of two or three depending on the provider.

                  13. If your health plan has high prescription copays, check to see whether you could get a better price paying cash at a major pharmacy chain or warehouse store.

                  At Dean & Draper we invite you to call us with your health insurance questions.  We welcome the opportunity to talk with you, provide information, and assist you in making choices. 

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us. 

                  Dust Off That Disaster Recovery Plan


                  Six years ago Hurricane Ike made landfall on Galveston Island in the early hours of Saturday, September 13, 2008.  When the storm subsided, 2.15 million of the 2.26 million CenterPoint customers were without electricity and the greater Houston area came to a standstill.  Whole neighborhoods were dark, businesses across the area were closed, and hundreds of windows in office towers were blown out.  CenterPoint attacked the downed power lines with 5,000 tree trimmers followed closely with more than 7,000 linemen.  At the end of day 18, CenterPoint concluded their emergency operations.  If you lived in Houston and the surrounding area during Hurricane Ike, no doubt you have a survival story of your own. 

                  In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike companies put their Disaster Recovery Plans to the test.  Companies without a plan vowed to put one together.  And so Disaster Recovery Planning became the hottest topic in years.  The impact of a natural or human-caused disaster on businesses is far-reaching.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, up to 40% of businesses affected by a disaster – either natural of human-caused – never reopen. 

                  Is your Disaster Recovery Plan in a binder on the shelf gathering dust?  Possibly you haven’t even written one – yet.  We would like to suggest that right now is a great time to move forward with your plan before the next disaster hits. 

                  Ready Business - a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters – is an amazing source for tools to create a plan addressing the impact of many hazards. Read more... 

                  Developing a Preparedness Program Steps

                  Program Management.  Organize, develop and administer your program.  Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program.

                  Planning.  Gather information about hazards and assess risks.  Conduct a business impact analysis.  Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks.

                  Implementation.  Write a preparedness plan addressing: resource management, emergency response, crisis communications, business continuity, information technology, employee assistance, incident management, and training. 

                  Testing and Exercises.  Test and evaluate your plan, define types of exercises, learn how to conduct exercises, use results to evaluate the plan’s effectiveness.

                  Program Improvement.  Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed, discover methods to evaluate the program, use the review to make necessary changes.

                  Need some help creating a Business Continuity Plan (BCP)?  Check out the Business Continuity Suite developed by the DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate and FEMA.  The software will help you create, improve, or update your BCP.  The Suite consists of a BCP training, Disaster Recovery Plan (DRC) generators, and self-directed exercises for testing an implemented BCP.  To download the BCP Suite click here.

                  Testing and Exercising Your Current Program

                  Now would be a great time to take you Disaster Recovery Plan out for a test drive.  You have several choices for putting your plan through a drill.

                  Walkthroughs, workshops, or orientation seminars.  All three are basic training for your team members.  They are designed to familiarize your team with emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications plans along with their roles and responsibilities as described in the plans.

                  Group Discussions.  In an informal session, the tams discusses their roles during an emergency and their responses to a specific situation.  Facilitator guided discussions of scenarios allows team members to be a part of the planning process. 

                  Functional Exercises.  Designed to exercise specific team members, procedures, and/or resources, functional exercises are scenario driven.  For example a critical business function failure or a hazard situation.

                  Following any of the above exercises, a debriefing of team members and leadership provides additional information on improving the plan.

                  At Dean & Draper we welcome the opportunity to discuss your Disaster Recovery Plan and support you with the insurance you need to recover from natural or man-made disasters.  Contact Us. 

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choise insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies.  For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us. 

                  New Arena for Hackers – Driverless Cars

                  Google Self Driving Car

                  The idea of leaving the driving to the car is becoming reality.  Major car manufacturers Volkswagen, Mercedes, and Diamler are currently testing prototypes for both cars and trucks.  Even Google is jumping in with their version of an autonomous car.  The technology used in driverless cars is available today and is projected to be an $87 billion business by 2030. 

                  The way ahead is fraught with challenges.  For instance, if the automakers “take the wheel” are they liable for accidents?  Will the responsibility for insurance shift from the car owner to the manufacturer? 

                  With the explosion of devious and talented hackers around the world, visions of these autonomous vehicles being hijacked, used in kidnapping, and even as a motorized weapon are dancing in the heads of security forces worldwide. 

                  In a Bloomberg article published last Thursday, September 4, 2014, Alexa Liautaud examines some of these challenges. 

                  “A red VW Golf jerks back and forth as it maneuvers into a parking space in the English spa town of Cheltenham. The halting efforts resemble those of a new driver, and in a sense they are -- just not from the person sitting at the wheel.

                  The car itself is navigating into the spot, which it manages without a scratch. The man in the driver’s seat, who has his hands resting leisurely on his lap except for the occasional gear change, is a mere onlooker in this demonstration of the latest automated-car technology.

                  While the idea of robo-cars whisking us off to our destinations may sound like science fiction, the technology exists and is largely ready for the real world. What’s harder to determine is the risk associated with the emergence of these vehicles.”   Read more... 

                  Yes, we’re living in interesting times.  Our first blog about driverless cars was posted on February 9, 2014.  In the past seven months, we’ve seen increasing articles and news stories about the technology, benefits, and downsides of autonomous vehicles.  At Dean & Draper, we’re focused on providing you with the insurance coverage you need when you need it – no matter what you choose to drive. 

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us. 

                  Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

                  © mady70 - Fotolia.com

                  For most of us Labor Day means the end of summer, a long weekend for the last trip to the beach, or a backyard barbeque.  The original intent of the holiday was to recognize the contributions that laborers make to the United States as a whole. 

                  The origins of the holiday are still under debate.  In Canada, the first Labour Day was April 15, 1872.  The Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for work’s rights.  Twenty-four of the Toronto Typographical Union members were imprisoned for striking for a nine-hour working day.

                  In the United States, the first Labor Day parade was in New York City on September 5, 1882.  In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected for the holiday and the Central Labor Union urged similar organization in other cities to celebrate a “workingman’s holiday” on that date.  The holiday was recognized in cities around the country through municipal ordinances in 1885 and 1886.  Oregon was the first state to pass the Labor Day holiday bill on February 21, 1887 followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. 

                  The actual founder of the U.S. Labor Day is still under discussion over 100 years after the first Labor Day celebration.  Some of the records name Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor as the first to suggest a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” 

                  The challenger, Matthew Maguire, a machinist and secretary of the Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, NJ, apparently proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as the secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. 

                  President Grover Cleveland signed a law designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day nationwide – interesting because Cleveland was not a labor union supporter. 

                  In the United States membership in labor unions reached an all-time high in the 1950’s with about 40% of the work force participating in a union.  Today, union membership is about 14% of the working population.  Teachers are the largest group of union workers nationwide.  The lowest number of union members is in agriculture, finance, restaurants, and bars – about 1% of the population.

                  We invite you to have a relaxed Labor Day with family and friends celebrating the last days of summer and, of course, the American worker – creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership. 

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients. Contact Us.    

                  Off-Campus Living and Renter’s Insurance

                  © auremar - Fotolia.com

                  Are your kids heading off to college and their off-campus apartment?  Here’s one more thing for you to think about – renter’s insurance.  While your homeowner’s policy usually covers students living in dormitories, off-campus housing can be a different story.

                  In yesterday’s post, Hannah Bender with propertycasualty360.com lists the 5 Key Truths About Renter’s Insurance and College Students along with some great tips.

                  Living in an off-campus apartment is a popular housing option for many college students, as it comes with greater freedom and independence.

                  At the same time, however, an off-campus apartment that is not affiliated with a college or university can bring new responsibilities. Often, a parent’s homeowners’ insurance policy covers students living in dormitories, but once a student moves off campus it is a whole new ballgame. Renters’ insurance, although not usually required, can be a necessity for college students. Renters’ insurance not only can protect a college student’s belongings -- which often include expensive laptops, televisions and other valuables -- but it can also provide liability protection in the event that someone is injured unintentionally on the property.  Read more... 

                  If you have questions about your homeowner’s policy covering student’s belongings or if you need a separate renter’s policy for off-campus housing, please call us.  We’re always here to answer your questions.  Contact Us. 

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us. 

                  Small Business at Big Risk for Cyber Attacks

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                  Hackers always seek vulnerable targets and have found a big one in small businesses.  More likely to have weak online security, less likely to use cloud services without encryption technology, and no full-time IT support, small businesses are easy pickings for cyber breaches. 

                  Symantec, an online security company, publishes an annual Internet Security Threat Report.  The 2014 report highlights include:

                  • 91% increase in targeted attacks campaigns in 2013
                  • 62% increase in the number of breaches in 2013
                  • Over 552 million identities were exposed via breaches in 2013
                  • 23 zero-day vulnerabilities discovered
                  • 38% of mobile users have experienced mobile cybercrime in past 12 months
                  • Spam volume dropped to 66% of all email traffic
                  • 1 in 392 emails contain a phishing attacks
                  • Web-based attacks are up 23%
                  • 1 in 8 legitimate websites have a critical vulnerability

                  To download a copy of the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report 2014, click here.

                  Here are 9 cyber security tips for small business owners:

                  1.      Use the FCC’s Small Biz Cyber Planner to create a cyber security plan

                  The Small Biz Cyber Planner is valuable for businesses that lack the resources to hire a dedicated staff member to protect themselves from cyber threats. The tool walks users through a series of questions to determine which cyber security strategies should be included in the planning guide, and generates a customized PDF that serves as a cyber-security strategy template.  Get the FCC’s Small Buz Cyber Planner, click here. 

                  2.      Establish cyber security rules for your employees

                  Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect personally identifiable information.  Clearly detail the penalties for violating cyber security policies.

                  3.      Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code
                  Install, use, and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors.

                  4.      Educate employees about safe social media practices

                  Depending on what your business does, employees might be introducing competitors to sensitive details about your firm’s internal business. Employees should be taught how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets to the public or competing businesses. This type of safe social networking can help avoid serious risks to your business.

                  5.      Manage and assess risk

                  Ask yourself, “What do we have to protect? And, what would impact our business the most?” Cyber-criminals often use lesser-protected small businesses as a bridge to attack larger firms with which they have a relationship. This can make unprepared small firms a less attractive business partner in the future, blocking potentially lucrative business deals.

                  6.      Download and install software updates when they are available

                  All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install such updates automatically.

                  7.      Make backup copies of important business data and information

                  Regularly backup the data on every computer used in your business. Critical data includes word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly.

                  8.      Control physical access to computers and network components

                  Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft, so make sure they are stored and locked up when unattended.

                  9.      Secure and hide your Wi-Fi network

                  If you have a Wi-Fi network for your home business make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, configure your wireless access point or router so that it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID).  In addition, make sure that passwords are required for access. It is also critical to change the administrative password that was on the device when it was first purchased.

                  The threat of cyber hacking, underscored by the credit card breach at Target, is now so great that US businesses are buying insurance coverage against the expense of being hacked or losing sensitive customer information.  A decade since it was first introduced, cyber insurance has graduated from a splurge to a necessity propelled by a series of high-profile data breaches that have cost companies many millions of dollars. 

                  If you have questions about Cyber Breach insurance we welcome your call.  Contact Us.

                  Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 34 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.

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