Today's agency relies heavily on the Internet in order to perform day-to-day operations. Whether obtaining a quote through TurboRater, checking a policy's status in an agency management system or processing an endorsement on the carrier's website, the fact is that the speed and reliability of the Internet connection can have a significant impact on the ability of agency employees to do their jobs. This is why it is important for agency owners and their IT personnel to make sure the Internet is performing at its best.
One problem area that can severely impact Internet speed we often see with our agents is having unnecessary toolbars installed on the browser. Extra toolbars not only decrease the viewing space, but more often than not, they can negatively impact the performance of your Internet connection. Many of these toolbars can contain spyware, malware, and adware, which run processes on your computer unbeknownst to you. These processes consume resources on your computer, therefore, inhibiting your computer and Internet speed.
So where do these unwanted toolbars come from? How do they just magically appear on your computer from out of nowhere? Oftentimes, they are included when people download and install free software. As most parents teach their children, 'There is no such thing as a free lunch.' Oftentimes, these free programs are used to trick someone into installing unwanted toolbars, which were designed specifically to monitor, track, and report your Internet usage back to the originator. What exactly these programs are tracking, why they are tracking it, and why they found it necessary to sneak these processes onto your computer is enough to make anyone nervous. However, considering the impact these toolbars can have on your employees' performance because of the decrease in Internet speed they cause is reason enough to get rid of them.
There are also legitimate programs that come pre-packaged with unwanted toolbars. Many people have become accustomed to just clicking Next > Next > Next and not taking the time to read the setup screens for the software they are installing. By doing so, people miss the opportunity to opt out of these toolbars. For example, Java updates come by default with the option to install a Yahoo! Toolbar. While this particular toolbar isn't spyware, it still is an extra toolbar that takes up real estate and therefore limits your viewing area.
About the Author
AnMarie Bozick, CIC, manages ITC’s rating products, including TurboRater and TurboRater for Websites. She has more than 20 years of property and casualty insurance experience, including owning her own agency and serving as president of the Alliance of Insurance Agents of Texas. She joined ITC in 2008.More Content by AnMarie Bozick, CIC