Preventing ransomware attacks, phishing schemes, data breaches, and more 

Key takeaways:

  • Three common cyberattacks are ransomware, phishing scams, and data breaches
  • Consider backing up private data hourly, daily, quarterly, and annually
  • Secure computers and networks with SPAM filters, antivirus, and anti-malware software
  • Encrypt sensitive data
  • Use multifactor identification
  • Educate your employees about safe cyber practices
  • Monitor your systems continually 

Businesses have always been targets of cyberattacks but the sophistication of attacks has increased dramatically in recent years. While you might think large corporations are usually the targets, small businesses can also get in the crosshairs of cyber thieves. Unfortunately, “data breaches often result in reputation damage, legal damages, and financial loss,” according to Forbes

What types of cyber schemes are you familiar with and how can you protect your Florida business? We’ll discuss the types of attacks your business faces and give tips on excellent ways to protect sensitive data, including purchasing cyber liability insurance.

Types of cyberattacks

Becoming aware of typical cyberattacks is the first step to protecting the private data of your customers, clients, and employees. According to AppRiver Software, a single data breach can average $149,000

Let’s look at where attacks like ransomware, phishing scams, and data breaches originate and how they pose a threat.

1. Ransomware attacks

With a ransomware attack, hackers gain access to a company’s network and encrypt its data, making it inaccessible to the business. The hackers then demand a ransom before they will decrypt the stolen data. These attacks can be devastating for companies, resulting in lost revenue, customers, and data. 

2. Phishing schemes

In phishing scams, hackers send emails or text messages pretending to be from a trusted source, such as a bank, credit card company, or government agency. The messages often contain a link that takes the recipient to a fake website that looks identical to the real one. The goal is to trick people into entering their personal information, such as account numbers, passwords, or credit card numbers. 

3. Data breaches

With data breaches, hackers gain access to a company’s confidential data, such as customer information or intellectual property. This data is often sold on the black market or used to commit identity theft. Data breaches can have a devastating effect on businesses, resulting in reputational damage and hefty fines. 

Tips to protect your customers’ data and your company’s sensitive information 

COVID-19 changed the way businesses operated. Many companies adopted a remote-work model overnight, and some intend to stay that way. A remote workforce exposes data to more attacks due to unsecured home networks. 

Even if your employees work in the office with cybersecurity tools, there are still risks. Let’s look at six tips to protect private data and company information.

1. Back up your data

It’s essential to back up private data on an in-house physical server or secure Cloud-based platform. Experts recommend multiple backup methods, including hourly/daily/weekly backups on portable devices, Cloud storage, and quarterly and yearly server backups. Be sure to check your data to ensure that it’s stored and secured properly. 

You should also be aware of federal and state regulations, especially if your business is part of a high-risk industry, like healthcare or government.

2. Secure your network and sensitive data

Strong network security is the best protection from ransomware attacks. Firewalls, like SPAM filters, protect against attacks by reducing the amount of SPAM and phishing emails that can get through. 

You can also install antivirus and anti-malware software. Ensure all of your systems are up-to-date with the latest security patches, too. 

3. Encrypt sensitive data

Encrypting sensitive data is one of your company’s best defenses against data breaches. Encryption turns data into an unreadable secret code when storing, sending, or sharing data online. The authorized recipient must have a “key” to unlock and read the data. 

You can encrypt data using router settings or install a virtual private network (VPN) on network computers, even for remote team members. In addition, you want to use strong passwords and limit access to sensitive data.

4. Use multifactor identification

Multifactor authentication (MFA) means authorized users must provide two or more forms of proof of identity, including passwords, codes, or security questions. This adds another layer of security so that only those with authorization can access specific data.

5. Educate your employees

Employee training is essential to combat cyberattacks. Make sure your employees understand how ransomware and phishing schemes work and how to recognize “fake” emails versus authentic ones. Also, make sure they know the risks of downloading files from unsecured networks or clicking suspicious links, including on social media networks. 

6. Monitor your systems

Be sure to keep records regarding your equipment and all software used in your business. Remove private information that’s no longer needed or used and disconnect the devices, especially if they haven’t been updated in a long time. Take care to remove former employees and clients from your network to ensure they no longer have access to private data.

Protect your business with cyber liability insurance

Aside from providing education on the dangers of cyberattacks to your employees, we highly recommend you buy cyber liability insurance. It’s designed to cover losses and damages related to ransomware attacks, phishing scams, and data breaches. It covers hacking and viruses that can invade computers, networks, or specific files. 

What cyber liability covers:

  • Legal expenses and fees
  • Customer notifications
  • Restoring customers’ identities
  • Recovering or restoring data
  • Repairing damaged computers and systems

General or professional liability policies do often include basic cyber coverage. Still, they may not be enough to protect your business, particularly if you’re in a high-risk industry. 

Understanding personal identifying information

Cyber thieves often target the personal data of customers, clients, vendors, and employees. Personal data, also known as personal identifying information (PII), can include:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Bank account number
  • Credit card number
  • Email address

If you store this type of information on an on-site or Cloud server, your business is at risk. Enhanced cyber liability may be necessary, and it may be required by law in some states.

Do you need cyber liability insurance?

Almost all companies do at least some businesses online. Some are at particularly high risk of cyberattacks, including vendors, such as HVAC, construction, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, maintenance, and property management companies. 

Other high-risk industries include:

  • Banks/financial institutions
  • Cloud service and network providers
  • Education
  • Energy/utility companies
  • Government agencies
  • Healthcare
  • Retail

Small businesses are often targeted because they don’t always have the resources to implement more sophisticated cybersecurity measures. 

Take steps now to protect sensitive data

In today’s digital world, cyber liability insurance protects businesses of all sizes. Avante Insurance can help you find the right policy for your Florida-based business. 

We can also take care of a wide range of your commercial insurance needs, including:

  • Commercial property
  • General liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Workers’ comp
  • Professional liability
  • Employment practices
  • Commercial umbrella
  • Loss of income 

Contact us to request a quote. We will ensure you have the right coverage to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to grow.

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.