For very good reasons, Americans now rank criminal hacking and identity fraud as the No. 1 threat to their safety and prosperity. Firms can provide much-needed peace of mind to their attorneys and staff by offering comprehensive personal and home cyber protection as a benefit.
CYBERCRIME BEYOND THE OFFICE
The global pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the rapid move to information digitization and online access. Many people now work from home at least part-time. We rely heavily on streaming services, email, text and digital commerce from personal computers and smart devices.
These trends have also inspired a major shift in how criminals approach fraud. More than ever, cybercriminals are targeting individuals directly. Statistics like these only tell part of the story:
- 16.7 million people were victims of identity theft last year
- Over $56 billion was stolen directly from consumers last year
- 1 in 3 personal computers are infected with hidden malware
- 1 in 5 Americans have been a victim of ransomware attacks
- 2020 saw a 79% increase in account takeover fraud
The year 2020 broke all records for data lost in breaches and the sheer number of cyberattacks against individuals and families. You are now 40 times more likely to be a victim of a personal cyberattack or identity fraud than home burglary.
The cybersecurity protections you’ve implemented in the workplace to prevent data breaches do not extend to protecting your employees and their families at home. With the above statistics in mind, now is a good time to consider how those protections could be extended beyond the walls of the office to provide security to your employees and their families.
THE RISKS FOR EMPLOYERS
When an employee becomes a victim of cybercrime or identity fraud, they aren’t the only ones who suffer. Your firm can also take a big hit.
Risk 1: Employee Disengagement
Distractions from identity theft, financial fraud or other personal cybersecurity problems create disengagement from work and can become a significant drain on an employee’s productivity. Distractions also cause errors, including careless security mistakes. You can help prevent disengagement by helping employees resolve personal cybercrime or identity theft problems quickly and completely.
Risk 2: Data Breaches
A 2020 Stanford University survey found that approximately 88% of data breaches are caused by employee error. By making personal cybersecurity and good cyber hygiene a focus, you can create a stronger culture of security with situational awareness for cyber threats within your firm.
Risk 3: Compliance
Domestic and international data security and privacy regulations — such as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACT Act), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — all mandate the protection of client and employee data against data breaches. If a company fails to comply with current standards, the penalties and cost of recovery can be massive. Providing personal and home cyber protection keeps security top of mind and bolsters your firm’s data security and privacy policies.
Risk 4: Work from Home
Work-from-home settings present several cybersecurity challenges for firms, including the use of personal computers and devices, home Wi-Fi security, and keeping computers and documents inaccessible to family members. Data breaches surged over 300% last year due to the risks that came with employees working from home. A good employee cyber protection benefit helps minimize the security risks in remote work environments.
Risk 5: Business Reputation
It’s no secret your firm’s success is directly tied to its reputation. And your reputation is the first thing to take a hit after experiencing a data breach or other security incident that leads to employee and client data theft. Employee cyber protection plans can proactively reduce data breach risks and the associated reputational damage by keeping cybersecurity top of mind for every employee and by helping better secure home offices and other remote work settings.
SELECTING THE RIGHT PROTECTION BENEFIT
With several identity protection services on the market, selecting a comprehensive employee protection benefit can be tricky. Don’t confuse identity protection with full cyber protection.
While identity monitoring is an important part of any protection benefit, it represents just one small portion of a complete personal and home cyber defense program designed to protect an employee’s identity, finances, online privacy, and their home network, computers and devices.
When comparing benefit plans, you shouldn’t settle for any service that doesn’t include at least the following:
- Cyber support hotline: Live expert support for any questions or concerns about cybersecurity, identity theft and online scams or threats
- Full identity protection: Monitoring and protection for all types of ID fraud including credit fraud, tax return fraud, medical ID theft, Social Security fraud, account takeover and more
- Dedicated recovery advocate: Personal expert support from start to finish for full recovery
- Financial protection: Reimbursement for identity recovery expenses and fraud losses
- Online privacy protection: Social media monitoring and other privacy resources
- Home network and device security: Protection and expert support for home Wi-Fi, computers and mobile devices
- Home technical support services: On-demand security and tech support services
- Ongoing education and awareness: Cybersecurity news, scam alerts and updates
- Family coverage: Protection for spouse and children
- Year-round enrollment: No restrictions on when employees can get coverage
- Easy implementation: Seamless integration with your processes and systems
- Flexible benefit plans: Options for voluntary enrollment or employer-sponsored
THE CASE FOR EMPLOYER-PROVIDED PROTECTION
More employers are starting to invest in cyber protection for all employees — at least individual coverage. While the following list is by no means exhaustive, it outlines some of the top reasons why employers are investing in employee cyber protection.
Benefit 1: Attract and Retain Talent
Providing this quality of benefit for all personnel helps attract and keep top people. Why? Because they see how much you value their security and peace of mind in today’s digital age.
Benefit 2: Keep Security Top of Mind
Informed employees make better decisions with their personal and professional cybersecurity. Providing this benefit to all employees helps strengthen the overall level of security within your company by sending a strong message about the importance of good cyber habits and protecting confidential data.
Benefit 3: Get a Tax Break
This benefit is a write-off! The IRS allows employer-provided identity protection as a nontaxable, nonreportable employee benefit.
Benefit 4: Keep Costs Down
By covering all personnel as a group, you ensure the lowest rates on providing this benefit.
With mounting cybersecurity concerns and dynamic changes in technology and the workplace, providing personal and home cyber protection to employees is one of those unique benefits that has enormous return on investment for both the firm and its personnel. It also helps fulfill corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives with a commitment to the security and financial wellness of your employees and their families.