Secure Your Business Online & Off

The world is changing and with it there also come changes in security threats and how businesses are handling them both online and off. It is important to be mindful of securing both digital and physical business assets to prevent a cyber-attack or theft. Here are a few tips to help secure your business!

Create Strong Passwords

Having password-protected devices and requiring employees to create strong passwords could keep your digital information safer. Strong passwords typically include a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. Additionally, ensuring no password is the same across platforms/accounts and enabling two-factor authentication can help increase your business’s level of online protection.

Use Antivirus/Anti-malware Software

The Small Business Administration reports cyber-attacks are a growing threat for small businesses and the cost of cybercrimes reached $2.7 billion in 2018 alone. Installing antivirus and anti-malware software could help protect your devices in case of phishing attempts or other digital threats. According to the SBA, employees and emails are a leading cause of data breaches, so consider scheduling annual training or sending periodic emails to employees about safe digital practices. 

Backup Data 

Another way to prepare for a data breach or online attack is to back up your business data. Regularly backing up data on an internal network or a cloud-based service is recommended. Critical data could include documents, spreadsheets, databases, files, personal information and more. Regularly backing up data could help you recover quicker if the business does have a breach that corrupts the live data. 

Prepare for Emergencies

Create a plan for different seasonal scenarios, like the possibility of a tornado, fire, snowstorm, flood, power outage, etc. to help keep your business prepared and assets secured. Post the emergency plans and evacuation routes in a visible location inside the business so that employees and customers can see the plans and safely exit or take shelter in the event of an emergency. 

Protect from Liabilities 

Accidents can happen, and one way to prepare your business for accidents is to add liability or umbrella insurance coverage. These coverage options provide protection for your business from potential lawsuits that could arise from accidents with customers or employees. You should also proactively reduce any potential accident risks on the business premises, including removing any tripping or slipping hazards, fixing entry stairs and stair railings, etc. 

Install Security Systems

Another way to help secure a business is to set up security systems. Installing security cameras could help reduce theft and give you the opportunity to monitor inventory. Additionally, installing a burglar alarm and fire alarm could help keep employees and customers safe from potential dangers. Finally, consider using multiple locking mechanisms, including deadbolts for exterior doors. 

Planning for the unexpected could save you time and money. We are here to be your partner in securing your business. Contact your OKFB agent to review your Commercial Insurance policy to ensure it is up-to-date to protect your business.

Hot Car Safety Tips

As many of us hit the road to travel this summer, or just to head to work or school, we might enjoy the sunshine and its accompanying warmth! Summer heat, however, adds an extra layer of complications to our drives. As temperatures rise, so do risks of accident and injury as it relates to the vehicle, passengers and pets in the car. Take a look at these hot car risks as well as safety tips for avoiding these situations.

Complete Routine Maintenance Checks

Scheduling routine checks for the vehicle could help lower the chances of having a heat-related car breakdown. Check out the air conditioner, radiator/cooling system, belts, hoses and oil and replace or repair them if needed. Don’t forget about the tires – fill up the tires and the spare to the right air pressure level. Driving under-inflated tires can cause them to overheat easier and that can increase the chance of a blowout. 

Keep Your Vehicle Cool  

The vehicle interior of a parked car can heat up quickly, posing some dangers to your health when you first re-enter it. Take care when entering the car to avoid touching the steering wheel and seats until the surfaces have cooled down. Consider installing seat covers, steering wheel cover, permanent window tint, or windshield sun shades to help block the sun’s rays. These items could help keep your car cool and protect the interior. 

Never Leave A Child or Animal Unattended

If you’re running errands with a child or animal in tow, avoid leaving them in the car, even for a short period of time. Instead, consider using drive-thru services or curbside pickup. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a car’s interior temperature could rise 20 degrees in approximately 10 minutes. Even leaving the windows cracked or rolled down does not slow the heat acceleration. 

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Even if you’ve prepared your vehicle for summer travel, it never hurts to have a “just in case” kit in your trunk. Fill it with items like water, sunscreen, non-perishable foods/snacks, jumper cables, road flares, flashlight, first aid kit and more. 

Incorporating these tips can help keep you cool on the hot, sunny days in Oklahoma. While you follow these tips, also remember we offer auto insurance to protect you on your journey. Contact an OKFB agent to discuss your auto needs or current policy – you may be eligible for our roadside assistance policy addition. 

Farming Safely in the Heat

The heat of summer can be a busy time for many farming and ranching operations. As you work in the heat and sun, follow these tips to help ward off heat-related illnesses and injuries for you and your team. Farming and ranching are important, and we want to help you stay safe doing what you do best.

Wear Protective Clothing

When working outdoors in warm climates, OSHA recommends wearing light-colored, loose-fitting and breathable clothing. Additionally, covering up by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants can help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing a wide-brim hat and sunglasses that block 99% to 100% UVA and UVB radiation could also protect your face and eyes while working. 

Take Breaks

Taking 15-minute breaks in a cool, shady area at least every two hours while working can help decrease the risk of heat-related illness and fatigue. You could use an outbuilding nearby or the air-conditioned cab of your truck. It could also be helpful to schedule strenuous and demanding tasks in the early morning hours or late evening hours, when the temperature isn’t at its hottest. 

Don’t Forget to Fuel-up

Remember to take time during your workday to drink water and eat sustaining foods/snacks. The CDC recommends drinking one cup of water for every 15 to 20 minutes of moderate activity. Ensuring you’re hydrated throughout the day could lower your risk of heat exhaustion, and it can power you up to continue safely getting work done. As for snacks, consider having fresh fruits, vegetables and salted items to help boost energy and balance electrolytes. 

Know the Symptoms

It is important to know the symptoms and warning signs of heat-related illnesses. You should seek medical attention if you or one of your employees are experiencing these symptoms:

  • Heat exhaustion: This occurs when the body is becoming dehydrated. Some symptoms include profuse sweating, shallow breathing, muscle cramps, irritability, feeling faint or dizzy.
  • Heatstroke: This occurs when the body cannot control its internal temperature and is unable to cool down. Some symptoms include the absence of sweating, pulsating headache, difficulty breathing, lethargy, lack of coordination, unconsciousness, nausea or vomiting.

While you’re working hard and looking out for the health of you and your team, we can help by providing coverage for your farm or ranch. Let us take care of the unexpected and help protect your livelihood with our Farm & Ranch Insurance. Contact an OKFB agent to discuss your farm and ranch needs.

Safety Tips for Severe Weather

A storm can be thrilling to watch, but knowing when to take action and seek shelter could save your life in the case of a severe storm. As we go through another storm season, keep these safety and awareness tips top of mind when bracing for severe weather. 

Understand Storm Alerts 

Weather services label storms with a “watch” or “warning” to describe the potential threat to an area. A “watch” means conditions could potentially lead to the development of a storm. A “warning” means a storm has already developed and has been spotted nearby. Most times, a warning warrants taking shelter immediately. 

When assigning watches and warnings, the National Weather Service typically uses county names to inform people of the location. This means that knowing the name of your county and surrounding counties will be helpful in identifying when a storm may be approaching your area. 

Prepare your Home 

There are many precautions you can take to protect and prepare your home for storm season. Consider the following preparations if a severe storm prediction is in your area and you have time: 

  • Identify your sheltering place. If you don’t have a storm shelter, take cover in an interior room with no windows that is on the ground level. 
  • Charge your phones and computers before the storm is near in case you lose power.
  • Bring the pets inside to ensure their safety.
  • Bring in any outdoor furniture that could be blown around or damaged. 
  • Close and shutter windows.
  • Unplug high-dollar appliances and computers in case of a power surge. 
  • Have an emergency plan and ensure all members of the household are aware of it. 

Stock up on Supplies

Make sure to have non-perishable emergency supplies, like batteries, first aid supplies, a flashlight, a portable weather radio and a three-day supply of water and food. While you’re stocking up on emergency supplies, it’s also beneficial to compile a grocery list of non-perishable food. One can never be sure of the extent of damage a storm may cause, so being prepared for the worst-case scenario is the best case. 

What to Avoid

Avoid using corded phones, electrical equipment, and even doing the dishes or taking a shower during a storm. Lightning can travel through lines, electrical systems and plumbing. According to the CDC, about one-third of injuries caused by a lightning strike happen indoors. Also, be sure to stay away from windows, doors and concrete walls or floors. Most are reinforced by metal bars or webbing, which could allow lightning to travel through. 

What to do During and After a Storm

As a storm is passing through, try to stay calm and alert. Make sure to take cover in your designated shelter if your area is under a warning. Be mindful that many facilities and hospitals will not be able to offer public shelter during severe weather at this time due to social distancing practices. Have a place in mind that you know you can access for safety. If your power goes out, use your phone or radio to listen for updates on the location and severity of the storm. 

After a storm passes, watch out for downed power lines, fallen tree branches and other debris that could be around. Once you’ve checked for damage and feel safe, be sure to check in on friends and loved ones that may have sustained damage as well. 

Preparing for storm season is the best thing you can do to ensure your safety. Talk to your agent to make sure your personal property is covered in the case of storm damage.