The news has been full of stories of cyber-attacks recently, with reports of organisations both large and small finding themselves at the mercy of anonymous hackers. The effects of such attacks can be devastating and the frequency with which they occur is alarming in the extreme. Recently released figures from the Department of Media, Culture and Sport revealed that a staggering 46% of British businesses were victims of cyber-crime in 2016 – almost double 2015’s total – and that these disruptions cost an average of £1,570 per attack.
Given the increasing prevalence of these incidents, and with effective cyber insurance cover costing just a few pounds a month, it would be tempting to answer the question,’ Cyber Insurance: A Price Worth Paying?’ with an emphatic yes. But before we go leaping to conclusions let’s take a look at what protection a cyber policy can offer, consider what we can all do to protect ourselves from online crime and then decide if this really is a business-critical cover.
What Protection Can Cyber Insurance Offer You?
First of all, let’s establish what cyber insurance is. Cyber cover is an increasingly common policy that will help protect you from financial losses relating to damage or loss of information from your I.T. systems and networks.
Like any other cover, there’s a level of ‘you get what you pay for’ with this, and we’ll look at some of the options below. Unlike some other forms of protection, however, cyber protects you from risks that are simply beyond your control. If you turned on your PC one morning to find it infected with ransomware and access to your files denied, would you know how to retrieve them? If not, you’re not alone. According to the Office for National Statistics’ Cyber Security Breaches 2016 report, only 30% of the UK’s small business staff have received training in what to do in the event of an attack. That’s a significant problem, one that cyber cover can help with by offering help in the event that you:
- Are held to ransom – cyber extortion insurance can cover you for any ransom money you are forced to pay
- Suffer hacker damage – and need to pay for repairs to your digital property, e.g. websites, databases, repair/rebuilding of any security protocols damaged in the course of an attack
- Lose data – by covering the costs of professional data retrieval
- Encounter business interruption – the policy will include cover that will offer you recompense for any loss of earnings and/or reputational damage following your data breach
- Need legal cover – should your data loss result in legal action under the Data Protection Act
- Need help defending yourself should you contaminate another’s system – I.T. systems rarely work in isolation these days and viruses, malware and ransomware can be spread through email, web and FTP connections – often without you even knowing. Should you inadvertently become the source of another’s network breach, cyber insurance will cover you
- Need I.T. consultancy service fees – that may be required to restore your network’s integrity and security
How Can You Protect Your Business From A Cyber Attack?
With organisations as large and well-protected as the NHS, Cadbury’s and WPP – one of the world’s largest advertising groups – being victims of hacks it’s easy to think you are powerless to prevent these attacks. That isn’t strictly true though. There are some simple actions that we can all take that will make it harder for the hackers to wreak havoc. These include:
- Keeping software updated – when an update is available install it without delay, or better still change your settings so that updates are automatically included
- Keep virus protection updated and run regular scans – the creators of malware and ransomware are constantly updating their threats so make sure you keep your protection updated to keep pace with the threats
- Back up to the cloud – cloud services – such as iCloud or Windows OneDrive – allow you to store data securely and can significantly reduce your risk of losing data from cyber-attacks as it is not held locally, i.e. on your machine or network
- Protect your passwords – sharing passwords, using weak passwords, not updating passwords and using a single password for all your log-ins are all invitations to cyber-attacks. So, get into the discipline of one strong password per log in
- Don’t open suspicious-looking emails – inboxes are much better at spotting viruses and malware these days but they are not infallible. If something comes in from someone you don’t know or which has an odd subject line and/or an attachment, just delete it
- Get an IT security professional to check your system – if you can’t run to a designated IT team, then look to get a consultant to look after your network. They don’t need to cost the earth, can be used on-demand and they can save you from disaster
Cyber Insurance: A Price Worth Paying?
Given the complexity of the issue, the frightening pace of change and the increasingly sophisticated methods they are employing and the ruinous potential of these attacks, it seems hard to argue against taking out cyber insurance cover. Like any insurance, however, it should be used as a part of your business protection strategy and not be your business protection strategy. By taking the simple steps outlined above you can significantly reduce the risks your business faces.
If you’d like to get some more independent cyber insurance advice, then please call Coversure Nottingham today on (0115) 837 0984 and one of the team will be happy to discuss your requirements or offer you a no-obligation cyber insurance quote.