Global, instant, boundless, unprecedented – these are words that are commonly used to describe the opportunities of the cyber world. They could also be used to describe the risks that arise alongside those opportunities. Cyber risks are faced not just by e-commerce companies – those doing transactions over the internet; any company reliant on computer networks, digital information or the internet faces these exposures. This means just about every size of business in the world today.
Cyber crime regularly hits the headlines. Recently Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency announced that co-ordinated raids in Australia, Europe, the U.K. and U.S. had shut down dozens of sites selling credit card details. The activity was the culmination of two years of work. Credit card details or bank account numbers were being sold for as little as £2. The Scottish government also recently appointed a minister with the responsibility for tackling the growing threat posed by cyber criminals. Cyber crime is estimated to cost Scottish businesses £5bn a year, with a Government report estimating the cost to the U.K. economy overall is £27bn a year.
The threat level is serious and growing but what can small business do to tackle the risk of cyber exposures, including hackers, privacy invasion, viruses and network disruptions?
- Educate your employees. Develop guidelines for staff on internet security and threats.
- Ensure all passwords are complex and at least eight digits. These should be changed regularly. All mobile devices should be password protected.
- Regularly assess your security risks. The cyber world is continually evolving as are the risks.
- Keep your virus/malware software up-to-date and ensure regular scans by your software are scheduled and completed.
- Back-up your systems regularly on remote devices. Should your data be attacked, ensure you can get access to your client records easily and be up and running quickly.
- Be proactive and develop a security and recovery plan.
In many cases, traditional insurance policies – property, commercial, general liability and many errors and omissions (E&O) policies – may not respond to losses involving information systems. Specialist cyber liability insurance cover is now also available to help protect your business against cyber damage.In the case of data breaches this may include costs for forensic investigation, notifi cation, credit monitoring, some public relations activity and crisis management fees to limit reputational damage, as well as some regulatory and defence costs and liabilities. When considering this type of insurance cover, the more pro-active you are in protecting your business (and proving this to insurers), the easier it will be to obtain the most competitive quotations and range of covers. For more information on cyber liability insurance please contact us. The