Moving Your Insurance Agency Securely Into the Cloud

by Adam Kotter, Founder/President, The Kotter Group on June 20, 2012 · 0 comments

This is the first post at Insurance Ecosystem for Adam Kotter, Founder and President of The Kotter Group. I am excited to have Adam aboard as a communicator to the Ecosystem. Adam and I are looking forward to your feedback on this post and what else you would like to hear about.

Survivors of The Great Depression often stuffed their money into mattresses because they didn’t trust banks. They figured that putting their money in a mattress that could burn or be stolen was worth the risk because it yielded more control. Today, a lot of business professionals share this same attitude towards cloud computing. And in the insurance industry, many insurance agents think that having data secured somewhere on the premises means that their information and data is more safe and protected. 

Money Stuffed in Between the Mattresses

This attitude is often supported by IT professionals, according to Michael Hugos, a cloud computing expert. He was quoted in Property Casualty 360 in an article published June 4, 2012 as saying, “IT people are not thrilled with the rise of cloud because it is viewed as the outsourcing of work. A lot of people are still worried about the loss of equity and the loss of livelihood.”

While it’s certainly debatable as to whether IT professionals nay-say cloud technology out of fear for job security, genuine concern for unseen risks, or a hybrid of the two, insurance agencies can adopt this technology with confidence. This is achieved by taking a hard look at potential providers with regards to their performance, reputation and procedures.

When seeking out a cloud provider, these questions will ease the anxiety of making a good choice: 

  • Find out about auditing procedures. Double-check the referenced regulatory certifications, such as SSAE 16 and CyberTrust, with a legal third party.
  • Ask how the company specifically accommodates insurance professionals. Can the provider host your management software in the cloud, or only your Office applications?
  • Inquire as to how disaster preparedness works into the equation. If your agency computer and servers were stolen tomorrow, how quickly would you be able to start working again? 
  • Find out if you can easily take your data to a new company, should you choose to change providers. Some cloud hosts, especially cheap data backup companies, can really pile on the red tape when you try to leave.
  • Ask how long the company has been in business, and whether it has ever suffered a security breach.

Even if you don’t quite trust cloud technology yet, consider at least a partial move to the cloud. This could be as simple as implementing Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365, programs that are easy to use and don’t cost much. As you come to see how convenient and cost-saving cloud computing is, you may become less inclined to stuff your cash in the mattress—or in this case, your on-site server.  

What are your experiences or questions using the cloud?

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