- Small businesses are a common target of hackers
- Remote workers put more data at risk
- Businesses of all sizes must take steps to protect this data
- Cyber liability insurance provides a safety net when information is stolen
The impacts of the remote workforce on cybersecurity and insurance for businesses
The increase in cyberattack frequency should be a worrying trend for businesses of all sizes, particularly as hackers create new targets and adapt their techniques.
A 2021 study by information technology consultant Accenture reports that 81% of businesses believe the cost of staying ahead of cyber criminals is unsustainable because of how quickly cyberattacks are evolving. According to the same report, cyber criminals attack an average company 241 times per year, and even companies that place a heavy emphasis on cybersecurity have breaches. In fact, about one in six attacks is successful on companies that take multiple steps to protect their data.
As a result, investing in cyber liability insurance is advisable for companies of all sizes, particularly for small businesses taking on a remote workforce, because they might not have the resources to recover. Here’s a look at why cyber liability insurance is so vital for small businesses.
The cyber risks small businesses face
Small businesses have a lot to lose because they often don’t have the resources to recover from cyberattacks. Criminals are attacking these businesses in new ways every year, and data suggests the average attack on a business costs companies with less than 500 employees about $2.5 million.
Phishing attacks are the most common cyber threat small businesses face, as they’re responsible for about 90% of all breaches. These attacks occur when an attacker pretends to be a known and trusted email contact but instead sends a malicious link or file for download. These attacks can result in the hacker obtaining sensitive information or credentials, which they can later use to steal data to monetize.
Business owners could also experience malware and ransomware attacks by cybercriminals. Malware attacks occur when an employee downloads malicious files from an email attachment or website, leaving the computer or potentially the company’s entire network with a virus. Malware attacks can cripple a business by making their devices unusable, and the viruses also provide the hacker with access to customer or employee data.
Ransomware attacks are similar, as they often exist on company computers or networks. If an employee visits a website or downloads an email attachment with a virus, that virus encrypts the company data and makes it inaccessible. From there, hackers will demand a ransom payment to unlock the computers, with the average demand at $116,000.
Weak passwords and insider threats
Weak passwords and insider threats are another type of attacks on small businesses. Requiring employees to improve their password strength is a relatively easy way to combat some cybercrime but blocking employees from acting against the company is a little more challenging. Adding to the problem is that some insider threats are accidental, as employees don’t know their actions could be putting the company at risk.
Taking steps to eliminate as many of these problems as possible is vital for small businesses in a digital world.
How to protect against cybercrime
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to combating cybercrime. Small businesses must take many steps to keep their data safe, particularly with more employees working at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perhaps the most efficient way to protect against potential attacks is to train employees on some basic security principles. Employers should discourage employees from opening personal emails on company computers because of the risks they create. Strong passwords should also be a requirement, and workers should learn to identify potentially harmful attachments in emails.
Next, investing in the latest security software is essential because it provides another layer of protection. While cybercriminals are constantly working on new tactics, world-class engineers are also working on anti-malware. This software isn’t perfect, but it will protect against many attacks and could save your business from significant losses.
Finally, encrypting company data and networks can help protect against cyberattacks. This encryption is especially critical when off-site employees work via a remote network because it ensures their work and data don’t fall into the wrong hands.
What cyber liability insurance does
Of course, businesses can still become victims after taking all these precautions, leaving them in severe financial trouble. When customer data is stolen, legal liabilities, regulatory penalties, client notification costs, and business interruption can create significant losses for a business. Fortunately, cyber liability insurance covers many first party and third-party expenses that companies would otherwise have to pay out of pocket.
For example, if a cybercriminal hacks a small business’s network, revealing sensitive customer information, these customers might sue the company for damages. An insurance policy with network security liability coverage would cover these legal costs up to a certain amount, depending on the selected plan. This insurance can also cover cyber extortion, crisis management, data restoration costs, and loss of income, which could create a significant expense in the aftermath of a cyber attack.
Cybercrime will only become a more significant issue as techniques become more advanced. The remote workforce is also adding to the problem by pushing more data through remote networks, opening opportunities that hackers can exploit.
Small businesses can protect themselves by investing in a cyber liability insurance plan that covers them as much as possible from these expenses when dealing with a cybercrime attack.
Finding the insurance coverage you need
Every business is different and, therefore, has different insurance needs. However, small businesses should be cautious about their risks because they often don’t have the resources to recover from a serious situation when the company is liable.
Avante Insurance provides insurance solutions for companies of all sizes in southern Florida. We offer commercial property, general liability, and professional liability coverage, helping you take steps to protect your company from any threats it encounters. Contact Avante Insurance today to learn more or speak with an insurance professional about cyber liability coverage.
This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.