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Top 10 Ways to Prevent Cyber-Attacks for Small & Medium Sized Businesses

Over half of UK businesses have reported cyber-attacks this year alone, according to a recent article from the BBC. Many businesses feel they aren’t at risk, which is a concern given the growing trend in cyber related breaches. We’ve seen various higher profile cyber attacks in recent times, with the Heartbleed SSL vulnerability and the WannaCry hack that temporarily brought the NHS to it’s knees. We’re now seeing a sharp increase in the number of cyber-attacks this year with over 60% of firms reporting one or more attacks, up from 45% in 2018, according to research from Hiscox.

 

What’s the Cost of Cyber Attacks and Breaches?

The average losses from breaches rose from £177,000  to £285,000, which is an increase of 61%. The rise in attacks on businesses is allegedly down to low spending on cyber security. The low spending could be due to the large number of small businesses operating in the UK.

 

Why Are Attacks Getting Through?

The statistics of these studies are grim: The vast majority of small businesses lack a formal internet security policy for employees, and only about half have even rudimentary cyber security measures in place. Furthermore, only about a quarter of small business owners have had an outside party test their computer systems to ensure they are hacker proof, and nearly 40% do not have their data backed up in more than one location.

 

How Can My Business Prevent Cyber-Attacks?

The BIS survey found that 83% of small businesses believe 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. Even if you don’t currently have the resources to bring in an outside expert to test your computer systems and make security recommendations, there are simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling victim to a costly cyber-attack.

  1. Train employees in cyber-security principles.
  2. Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business.
  3. Use a firewall for your internet connection.
  4. Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.
  5. Make back-up copies of important business data and information.
  6. Control physical access to your computers 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.
  8. Require password-protected individual user accounts for each employee.
  9. Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.
  10. Regularly change passwords.

 

Should I Consider Cyber-Liability Insurance?

A traditional commercial insurance policy is extremely unlikely to protect against most cyber-exposures. Standard commercial policies are written to insure against injury or physical loss and will do little, if anything, to shield you from electronic damages and the associated costs they may incur. Exposures are vast, ranging from the content you put on your website to stored customer data. Awareness of the potential cyber-exposures your company faces is essential to managing risk through proper cover.

Possible exposures covered by a cyber-policy include:

Data Breaches

Increased online consumer spending has placed more responsibility on companies to protect clients’ personal information.

Business/Network Interruption

If your primary business operations require the use of computer systems, a disaster that cripples your ability to transmit data could cause you or a third party that depends on your services, to lose potential revenue. From a server failure to a data breach, such an incident can affect your day to day operations. Time and resources that normally would have gone elsewhere will need to be directed towards the problem which could result in further losses. This is especially important as denial of service attacks by hackers have been on the rise. Such attacks block access to certain websites by either rerouting traffic to a different site or overloading an organisation’s server.

Intellectual Property Rights

Your company’s online presence, whether it be through a corporate website, blogs or social media, opens you up to some of the same exposures faced by publishers. This can include libel, copyright or trademark infringement and defamation, among other things.

Damages to a Third-Party System

If an email sent from your server has a virus that crashes the system of a customer or the software your company distributes fails, resulting in a loss for a third party, you could be held liable for the damages.

System Failure

A natural disaster, malicious activity or fire could all cause physical damages that could result in data or code loss.

Cyber-Extortion

Hackers can hijack websites, networks and stored data, denying access to you or your customers. They often demand money to restore your systems to working order. This can cause a temporary loss of revenue plus generate costs associated with paying the hacker’s demands or rebuilding if damage is done.

Cyber-liability insurance is specifically designed to address the risks that come with using modern technology; risks that other types of business liability cover simply won’t. The level of cover your business needs is based on your individual operations and can vary depending on your range of exposure. It is extremely important to work with a broker that can identify your areas of risk so a policy can be tailored to fit your unique situation.

 

Inspire Insurance: Your Cyber Liability Cover Expert

As reliance on technology continues to increase, new exposures continue to emerge. As your business grows, make sure your cyber-liability cover grows with it. Inspire Insurance Services is here to help you analyse your needs and make the right cover decisions to protect your operations from unnecessary risk. Contact us today at 02476 99 89 24.

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