farm technology

Prioritizing cybersecurity on farms

The following information is provided by Nationwide, the No. 1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.*

There’s a proverbial snake in the grass when it comes to the security of high-value farm-level data generated by today’s precision agriculture technology. Prioritize cybersecurity to help secure your data from theft so it’s only used for intended purposes.

Recognize your data’s value

With the advancement of data-driven precision ag tools, vulnerability to cyberattacks is on the rise. The good news is cybersecurity capabilities also continue to advance. Protect your data by first recognizing its value, then work in secure hardware and systems.

There’s a value exchange in using any digital platform. Free services typically come with a caveat. Google is one example; when using its free services, users grant the company permission to use that data in different ways. That may mean your email data is used to enable partner companies to target ads based on interests expressed in your messages. The paid version of G Suite can cost as little as $5/month, but it includes stronger data protection.

Work with secure tech partners

Start securing your data with a look at your technology providers. Many companies are investing considerably in data security. Ask questions of your machinery and precision ag partners to confirm the security of your data on their platforms.

Steps you can take on your farm

According to a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), these steps can help shore up potential vulnerabilities in your data security at the farm level:

  • Be proactive and actively manage data. Be proactive with and accountable for the steps you can take to keep your data secure. Perform recommended software updates, frequently change account passwords and regularly check application and platform security settings to help ensure you’re equipping yourself with the latest security tools.
  • Choose the right platforms. Research your options for managing your farm data. Consider paying even a small monthly fee for stronger security settings. The right decision is a balance between expense and your data security expectations.
  • Store your data right. Where and how you store your data is important to its security from potential cyberattacks. If stored in the cloud, make sure the platform has adequate security protocols. If doing so locally, use a storage device with firewalls in place that’s not connected to the internet.
  • Involve your whole team. Create processes to manage the increasing volume of data gleaned by today’s precision ag tools. Staying up-to-date with the latest and most effective data security tools and platforms is not easy for everyone. Meet with employees and other farm stakeholders regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page to keep your data secure.

Get the right cyber liability insurance

Consult with a trusted advisor to ensure you have the right cyber liability coverage for your farm should a cyber theft or data compromise occur. Cybercrime and identity theft can be complicated and costly. Cyber liability coverage from Nationwide can help offset the devastating effects hacking, data theft and identity fraud can have on your business from a financial and reputation standpoint.

Nationwide has more tips and information to help you maintain safety on your farm.

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*A.M. Best Market Share Report 2019. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2021 Nationwide.