Insurance broker Simply Business supports 600,000 customers across the UK, giving smaller organisations and sole traders quick and cost-effective access to tailored policies from top providers. A subsidiary of US insurance provider The Travelers Companies and one of the UK’s largest insurance brokers, Simply Business provides services to a diverse range of clients, from accountancy and legal firms, to landlords and estate agents.
When brokering a policy, Simply Business collects relevant personal and corporate information from their clients to ensure comprehensive and tailored cover. This information is often highly sensitive, including individuals’ contact details and business valuations, and frequently needs to be shared with policy underwriters, particularly when claims are submitted. In response to more stringent data protection regulations and to continue to provide the best service to their customers, in 2018 Simply Business decided to re-evaluate the tools used to share customers’ information.
Ashley Venn, Senior Information Security Analyst at Simply Business, explains: “Like many organisations in 2018, Simply Business made improving information security a key corporate goal. I joined the company at this time and headed up a project to ensure that all data, and especially customer data, was being shared securely and efficiently.”
Understanding organisational risk
Ashley had worked with data security software provider Egress at a previous company, and following the success of that collaboration, approached them to understand how their technology could help Simply Business.
As a first step, Ashley and the team at Simply Business decided to engage with the Egress Risk Insight consultancy service. Championing a light-touch and rapid methodology, Risk Insight enables organisations to quickly map how data is shared across their organisation and with third parties, highlighting different areas of risk and compliance. For Ashley, this helped Simply Business prioritise the next steps in the project:
“The findings from the Risk Insight audit helped us to understand which areas of the business would benefit from a secure communication tool. Broadly, we had a good understanding of the types of information being shared – and we applied the analysis from Risk Insight to target key departments and individuals who frequently share this data both internally and with our approved third parties.”
Following the Risk Insight audit, Simply Business rolled out Egress Secure Workspace to protect all sensitive data being communicated. A secure online collaboration platform, Secure Workspace provides file sharing and storage functionality, including for large files, and protects data using robust encryption and sophisticated user access permissions.
A tool for the whole business
Secure Workspace is now used by staff across Simply Business to securely share a range of personal and commercially sensitive data. “Taking the insights from the audit, we were able to inform our deployment of Secure Workspace and roll out licences across the business in a phased approach, with a focus on the high-risk areas first,” Ashley continues. “As a result, we’ve seen a wide uptake throughout the organisation.”
The solution has had a broad application for Simply Business and caters to its diverse data sharing requirements. Both the Insurer Relations and Claims teams use the solution daily to communicate securely with policy underwriters, while Risk and Compliance staff use it to communicate with auditors. Elsewhere, the Data Protection department is able to securely share personally identifiable information with customers and data subjects, and the Finance team have confidence that commercially sensitive data contained in bordereau documents is protected. Simply Business was also able to run a one-off project with their Legal Department, enabling them to share several large files in one transfer, without having to implement a new tool.
“We’ve had immensely positive feedback from users across the business,” Ashley concludes. “Our Insurer Relations team in particular are delighted to have a simple and secure way to share information with insurers, who in turn have found the solution easy to use and speak very highly of it. We can definitely see avenues for future expansion for Secure Workspace, as we know we have a usable tool that can be rolled out to other parts of Simply Business as required.”