By Perry Salvagne
With high-profile cyber security breaches at large corporations like Sony, Target and Home Depot hitting the news more and more often, consumers are becoming increasingly wary of threats from cyber criminals. Recent years have seen not only a sharp rise in the number of cyber attacks that take place, but also the types and quality of protection solutions that are offered.
While breaches at major corporations most often make the news, statistics from Travelers Insurance show that 72 percent of successful breaches occur in smaller companies, as these businesses don’t have the same resources to protect themselves from attack. In April 2015, CNN reported that nearly one million new malware threats are released daily. Despite this looming exposure, a shocking 95 percent of small businesses operate without cyber liability insurance. If your business is one of them, and it suffers a cyber security breach, consider not only the costs of a lawsuit, but also the costs of having to respond to the incident, such as client notification, credit-monitoring services, forensic investigation and even lost income from systems downed by a network failure.
The best protection comes from a comprehensive approach to security, one that encompasses people, policies, procedures, technologies and an adequate insurance solution. For starters, consider some potential weak spots in your cyber security:
- Email: Non-secure email sent through the web without encryption can be easily intercepted. Be sure the “https//:” phrase is always visible before the address of your email provider in your URL bar, and always use a secure email host.
- Websites: Similar to email, be sure to visit only trusted webpages, and look for the “https//:” to ensure the website is secure.
- Browsers: Check for updates for your internet browser (Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.). Most browsers will notify you of potential updates. Do not ignore these updates, as they often come with protection against new viruses and malware, etc.
- Virus Protection: Whether from the web, email or elsewhere, there are a plethora of adware, malware, spyware and other threats that can infect your computer and network and put you at risk. Be careful what you open, especially in email, and be sure to program reputable virus protection software for your systems.
- Passwords: Change your passwords often, especially after they are shared with others, and always make them more difficult to hack by adding upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers.
- Third Parties: While hiring an IT firm/expert is highly recommended, be careful in choosing one that is trustworthy, and be careful about what information you share with them. Even IT specialists can also be identity thieves. Ask your IT professional about adding a firewall and encrypting email, among other measures of protection.
- Wi-Fi Networks: Make sure that your Wi-Fi network is always “private” and requires a password for access. Change the password frequently.
While there is always a risk of attack, taking a proactive and comprehensive approach to protecting yourself is the best way to minimize this risk and avoid the high costs associated with a cyber security failure. Consider purchasing an insurance policy that specifically protects against your cyber liability, and covers you for the recovery costs you would incur if a breach occurred. Coverage comes at varying levels, and is relatively inexpensive in relation to the potential costs of an uninsured loss.
To learn more about this topic, obtain a quote or simply ask an insurance-related question, please feel encouraged to call us at Hodge Insurance, (203) 792-2323. We have agents and representatives able to speak to you in English, Portuguese or Spanish.