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Cyber Security

Smaller Businesses are NOT Immune to Cyber Attacks

You may think that you are immune to cyber crime or instances of ransomware because there are other, bigger companies for hackers to target. However, this is not the case anymore. In fact, no business that has any form of online presence can be classified as being immune to these activities anymore. As a result, it is worth having a look at the current online security measures your small business is using as well as your related insurance requirements.

All Businesses are Vulnerable these Days

If you were still under the impression that cyber security is something that only larger corporations need to be concerned about, you would be mistaken. Recent data has shown that small businesses are just as much at risk with regards to data breach and ransomware instances as their larger counterparts.

Recently, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reported on this issue and noted that because so many smaller businesses are completely unprepared for the possibility of cyber crime, the after effects could be particularly devastating on their activities. The association mentioned that up to 90% of small businesses had in fact experienced some form of data breach or cyber attack during 2016, of which 58% of them were successful. This was a significant increase on the amount of attacks that had occurred in the previous year.

Risks Associated with Cyber Attacks

There are several costs that can affect a business as a result of a cyber attack, including:

  • Client notification expenses
  • IT forensic costs
  • Increased labour expenses to rectify issues caused by the attack
  • Legal defence expenses

In addition, some clients may abandon your business over concerns regarding your online security measures, while others may demand others concessions. This will also affect your company’s brand reputation, which can be extremely difficult to recover once an attack has occurred.

Protecting your Business against Potential Losses

A mandatory data breach reporting system came into effect in Australia in February 2018, which requires some companies to advise customers and the Australian Privacy Commissioner of any data breaches that have been experienced. This means that businesses of all sizes should seriously consider investing in cyber insurance to assist them with managing this new requirement. As a result, the market for cyber insurance products is expected to expand significantly.

Businesses must also consider how having cyber insurance will be able to complement the business risk management initiatives. Part of a cyber policy will involve insurers having to provide an incident response solution that will help businesses recover from cyber attacks as quickly as possible.

Ransomware involves company files being hacked and ‘locked’ until a ransom is paid to get them back, and attacks can be financially devastating for any business. The recent WannaCry attack affected more than 200,000 businesses and individuals in 150 countries.

Tips to help protect individuals and small businesses against cyber crime:

  1. Keep Software Updated

It is strongly recommended that you update and apply security patches to any operating systems, programs or applications being used. Most updates have been released to boost your computer’s security levels.

  1. Use Antivirus Programs

Although it is essential to install security patches and updates as mentioned above, these alone will not always provide sufficient protections to your system. Viruses remain a constant threat, which is why a reputable antivirus program must also be used.

  1. Perform Regular Backups

File backups must be performed regularly. This will ensure that ransomware thieves don’t have any leverage in the event that your system is attacked. This is also a lifesaver if your computer crashes for any other reason.

  1. Be Sensible Online

Avoid clicking on unfamiliar links or opening emails from senders you don’t know. It is also recommended that you delete emails that appear to be suspicious in any way.

  1. Implement a Cyber Security Protocol

Implement an effective plan to improve cyber security for your business, regardless of how small or large it is. Part of it should include educating staff members with regards to performing software and hardware upgrades, establishing a business continuity process and obtaining cyber insurance protection to provide financial backup to your company if a cyber attack occurs.

Although implementing an effective cyber security plan will not guarantee immunity to cyber attacks, it will provide you with a backup plan to deal with any occurrences of this nature.