High-profile cyber-attacks on companies such as Sony and Target in the USA, has significantly raised awareness of the growing threat of hacking and cybercrime to businesses. The 2014 Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec and other cyber-security reports suggest that many small business owners are still operating under a false sense of security.
Symantec highlights a 91% increase in targeted Cyberattacks in 2014 and without adequate Data Breach and Cyber Insurance protection, your business is significantly exposed.
Statistics Are Frightening
The statistics highlighted by these reports are quite alarming:
- The vast majority of small to medium sized businesses lack any formal Internet security policy for employees, and only circa 50% has even cyber security measures in place.
- 25% of business owners have had an outside contractor test their IT systems to ensure they are hacker proof.
- Most alarmingly 40 per cent of small businesses do not have their data backed up in more than one location, not only putting their business at risk of cyber threats, but equally from other on-site disasters such as fire or flood losses.
Small Businesses Are Not Immune to Cyber Attack
85 per cent of small business owners believe their company is safe from hackers, viruses, malware and data breaches, purely on the basis that they would not been seen as a target.
This disconnect is largely due to the widespread, albeit mistaken, belief that small businesses are unlikely targets for cyber attacks. In reality, data thieves are simply looking for the path of least resistance, Symantec’s study found that 40 per cent of attacks are against organisations with fewer than 500 employees.
Where is the Attack Coming From?
Outside sources like hackers aren’t the only way your company can be attacked — often, smaller firms have a family-like atmosphere and place a significant amount of trust and responsibility in their staff. This can lead to complacency, which is exactly what a disgruntled, recently dismissed or redundant employee needs to execute an attack on the business. Other attacks could come from failures in processes or technology.
According to the 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), an amazing 65 per cent of small businesses were attacked by an unauthorised person in the past twelve months. The survey also found that 36 per cent of the worst breaches in 2012 were caused by inadvertent human error, and a further 10 per cent were caused by deliberate employee misuse of IT systems.
Attacks Could Destroy Your Business
As large companies continue to get serious about data security, small businesses are becoming increasingly attractive targets — and the results are often devastating for small business owners. Cyber criminals often target SME companies in the knowledge that adequate protection will not be in place, making their data much easier to breach.
The individual cost of a security breach can vary significantly, depending on the type of data compromised and the amount of data taken. Some hacker attacks can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in web and systems reinstatement costs, compensation claims and regulatory fines.
Most small businesses will not be in a position to manage a significant data breach or the associated costs, which, at its worst can lead to potential business closure. Cyber Liability Insurance will provide peace of mind that protection is in place and support throughout the claims process.
Data Protection Act
By law, all businesses are required to keep personal and sensitive data safe in order to comply with the Data Protection Act, and violations of the Act can result in substantial sanctions from the ICO (Information Commissioners Office). In February 2015 an online travel insurance firm, Staysure.co.uk Ltd was fined £175,000 after 5000 customers had their credit card details used by fraudsters.
Sadly, many businesses put off making enhancements to their cyber security protocols until it is too late because they fear the costs of security and risk transfer to insurers would be prohibitive. This is often not the case and simple infrastructure changes and Data Breach Insurance cover is accessible to even the smallest firms.
10 Tips To Prevent Cyber Attacks
According to the BIS survey, 83 per cent of small businesses believe data security is a high priority, but that many find it difficult to keep up with the constantly changing risks and to know what actions to take to mitigate those risks.
While you may not currently have the resources to bring in an outside expert to make security recommendations and test your IT systems, there are economical and straightforward steps you can take to reduce your cybersecurity risks.
#1 Train your employees in cyber security principles.#2 Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer and communications device used in your business, not forgetting any tablets, laptops or mobiles devices.#3 Use a firewall for your Internet connection.#4 Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available – often this can be made automatic to avoid human error.#5 Make physical or cloud based back-up copies of important business data and information.#6 Control physical access to your IT systems and network components.#7 Secure your Wi-Fi networks. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure and hidden. If you need to provide “Guest” access, make sure this is adequately protected with passwords changed regularly#8 Require password-protected individual user accounts for each employee.#9 Limit employee access to data and information, and restrict authority to install or download software.#10 Regularly change all passwords, not forgetting to delete employees as they leave the business.
FREE Cyber Liability Insurance Review
A data breach could cripple your business, costing you thousands of pounds in lost sales and compensation claims, not to mention the associated reputational damage.
Insync specialises in all areas of Professional Risks, we can review all your business insurance exposures from Professional Indemnity, Office or Liability risks as well as providing cover for emerging threats in the form of Data Breach and Cyber Insurance cover.
You can request a quotation online, alternatively, why not book a free review with one of our expert Gurus at a time that suits YOUR diary.