Computers and Technology Can Help You Find Health Insurance

In today’s advanced world of computers and technology, it seems like just about everything is simpler than it was 20, even 10, years ago. We can do many things much faster and easier thanks to computers and technology. We can avoid the cost of phone bills and postage by talking for free through instant messengers and emails. We can save on gas money (and our own energy!) by keeping up with our bank accounts, and even paying bills or shopping using our bank accounts, online. We can save the time it takes to head down to the local library to search for the books we need for a research paper by using the resources of the Internet to study and explore every topic under the sun.

And, best of all for some of us, we can even work from home thanks to computers and technology.

Whether we’re freelance writers, graphic designers, editors, data entry workers, or even photographers, because of the advances in computers and technology, we can set up shop right in our own homes. No more commuting, no more annoying co-workers, and no more bossy bosses!

However, despite all the perks of using computers and technology to work from home, those of us who do work from home usually lack one thing – health insurance. When we’re self-employed, or contracted by a particular business, health insurance packages aren’t usually one of the perks of using computers and technology to work from home.

Therefore, it’s up to those of us who do use computers and technology to work from home to search for our own health insurance policies. There’s good news – the same computers and technology we use to work from home can help us search for health insurance companies that sell affordable health insurance policies for individuals.

So, the next time you log on to start work, remember to take a few minutes to find a health insurance policy.

Computer and Technology Forensics Expert: Managing the Risky Business of Company E-Mail

As an employer, Human Resources Director, or Risk Management Supervisor, ask yourself this question: “Do our employees think about the legal risk of sending communications over the internet?” If you are like the majority of companies, your answer would be, “It is highly improbable”. It is a very common problem amid the work place, for an employee to believe their electronic communications are transient, temporary and, once deleted, untraceable and therefore, harmless.

The fact is e-mail, faxes and even cellular phones leave a trace. Just one e-mail sent from your employee to the employee of a different company passes through an average of four different computer systems. This creates a trail making e-mail real, traceable, and permanent.

As an industry leader in Computer and Technology Forensics for the past 20 plus years, we have documented, during the examination of electronic systems, employees who frequently say/save things into e-mails or store on a computer, things they would never say anywhere else. Either having an employee delete a potentially damaging or inflammatory e-mail or even an employee deleting an e-mail on their own, does not protect anyone. In fact, it could in the end harm everyone involved.

If a complaint or inappropriate conduct of an employee has risen to the level where you as an owner/supervisor, need to consult a Computer and Technology Forensics expert, one of the first areas checked is for deleted documents and/or e-mails. These items cause red flags during an examination of equipment, and the original items can and most likely will be found and/or reconstructed. It is very important to understand that the intentional destruction of evidence is a felony, and if proven, could land one in jail.

An example of computer message in a court case dates back to the infamous trial of some of the Los Angeles Police being tried in the 1991 beating of Rodney King. One of the officers created a computer message stating, “… I haven’t beaten anyone that bad in a long time.” This obviously became admissible in court.

A more recent example, is one in which we as a company were hired in a libel case. The libeler was using the internet to post messages on a public bulletin board that were both slanderous and libelous against a competitor in the same field. This person felt that by using “anonymous” e-mails and postings, this would increase their own standing within the same professional community. What the libeler didn’t count on was the traceability of the e-mails to their home, cell phone and company computer systems. We were able to locate the electronic trail, and with this information obtain, on behalf of the client, a court order to confiscate the equipment in order to create image copies of the electronic systems. As a result, in order to keep the issue private, the libeler agreed to a significant out of court settlement.

As an owner/supervisor, it is left to you to consider and take great care in educating your employees in what should or shouldn’t be put in writing. In addition, it is also up to you to make your employees aware how the written word is conveyed when read.

We have now asked and answered two very important questions. First, the majority of employees do not consider the legal risk of electronic communications. Second, as an owner/supervisor why it is crucial you understand the potential legal ramifications. The remainder of this article is devoted to assisting you in creating and/or updating your current policies.

In today’s litigious society, company’s both large and small should have company policies. These policies have traditionally covered areas from dress codes to vacation policies. Within the past five years companies have begun adopting IT policies, generally found within the employee handbook. As a professional Computer and Technology Forensics company, when we are called in to examine hard drives and/or servers due to a company suspecting the improper use of systems, we also discuss the company’s IT policies with the appropriate supervisor or IT manager.

In many cases we have found that most policies do not adequately cover what is necessary in the computer and electronic communication age. Companies should have a very clear e-mail and technology use policy. One of the more important ones usually not covered, and unfortunately to the detriment of the employer, is an e-mail retention policy. Since many industries are governed by different and specific federal and/or state statutes on how long information must be retained, your policy should reflect these guidelines.

The policy should be as specific as possible in what types of communications are kept and how long. Make it clear there are both business and legal reasons for the company keeping such information. Information from e-mails as well as other electronic systems can be used in many types of cases, including: harassment, discrimination, antitrust, retaliation, Americans with Disabilities Act, insider trading, accounting fraud, improper trade secret disclosure and more!

REMEMBER- The intentional destruction, of any kind, of evidence relevant to a current or pending lawsuit contained in the e-mail or e-mail attached document, is a felony, and if proven, could land one in jail.

As an owner/supervisor, take a moment to examine your current IT or company’s technology policy. If your company doesn’t currently have an IT or technology policy-get one! While you will need to insure the individual needs of your company are met, following are some topics of what you should consider including in your usage polices:

Electronic information ownership
Monitoring of technology use
Acceptable use of company technology
Acceptable content

If you currently hold meetings with your employees or publish a company newsletter, these are excellent venues to use to educate your employees. Utilize these opportunities to let them know there are certain things they should be aware of when sending or responding to e-mails. Employees should be counseled to be cautious and to not make statements that can be considered a legal conclusion. Let your employees know they should utilize the knowledge and expertise within the company by picking up the phone and calling their supervisor or Human Resource Department.

When educating your employees about the content of an e-mail or using other forms of traceable electronic technology, train the employee to ask themselves these simple questions:

Should I put this in e-mail or should I call?
Would I write this down knowing that it may exist forever?
Would I put this on a postcard and mail it?
Would I want to see this printed in the newspaper?
Would I want this to get into the hands of my company’s competition?
Would I want this to get into the hand of my worst enemy?

Electronic communications are not transient, temporary or untraceable. E-mail is evidence. Education and proper policies go a long way to keep both employees and the employer from ending up in a potential lawsuit trying to explain the written word.

Are Your Computers and Technology Covered?

More people in America are experiencing the joys, and conveniences, of today’s computers and technology than ever before. You’d be hard-pressed to find a household that doesn’t have one computer, or at least has a family member who owns a computer.

The technology that computers offer us is so useful, and many people use their computers for work, recordkeeping, and other such important tasks and information storage. So, if the homes the computers in which the computers are located catch fire, are severely damaged due to weather elements, or are robbed, how safe are the owners’ computers going to be?

Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover computers; however, coverage may be limited, and computer owners may want to consider purchasing additional insurance to cover their computers and technology losses in the event of an accident or emergency.

If you are a computer owner, and rely a good deal on the technology your computer offers, you might want to take a look at your homeowner’s insurance policy to find out exactly how much coverage is offered for your computer. If it’s not enough, think about purchasing additional coverage.

If your computer is used primarily for business-related purposes, you should look into additional coverage for the expenses necessary for data recovery; compensation for lost income while you computer is being repaired or replaced; and data recovery. Sometimes it’s essential to look into insurance policies made specifically for business-related issues when it comes to your computers and technology.

When choosing additional insurance coverage for your computers and technology, find out how much your deductible will be. If it’s less than what you’re willing to pay, you might want to increase it a bit; this will help keep your insurance premiums low.

Remember to always safeguard yourself by keeping all receipts for any repairs, replacements, data recovery, and upgrades you purchase in order to help the transaction between you and your insurance company go smoothly.