In an increasingly connected world, business owners face a variety of digital threats. So how can companies respond to emerging cyber risks?
From retail and manufacturing through to professional services, cyber crime poses a significant threat to British business owners.
While it’s capable of causing reputational damage to a brand, cyber crime can also have serious financial consequences. Recent figures from accountancy group KPMG suggest alleged cyber-enabled fraud jumped 1,266% last year compared to 2015. That included a £113 million case, which was the largest witnessed since 2008 [SC1].
Ministers have been quick to recognise the dangers of digital crime, launching a range of initiatives to safeguard the country against tech-savvy fraudsters. Among them is the Cyber Schools Programme, which will deliver intensive training to thousands of teenagers in an effort to nurture cyber security skills.
The trouble is that business owners can’t solely rely on the Government for support. Instead, they must proactively face up to emerging cyber threats themselves, taking every possible step to secure their brand…
Identifying the main cyber risks
‘Cyber crime’ may be a handy catch-all term, but it covers a diverse range of threats and challenges. For businesses, some of the main ones include:
- Sophisticated viruses and hackers, capable of stealing sensitive customer and financial data. Ransomware is one such example, with the potential to lock down a computer system – and all the data on it – until a ransom is paid.
- Human error and internal theft. It’s all too easy for staff to accidentally leave devices containing sensitive information on public transport. Some firms also face the threat of rogue employees deliberately stealing or leaking confidential data from within.
- Weak passwords and unsecure computers. A failure to educate staff about the importance of tight security could make it easy for cyber criminals to access computer systems.
- Traditional ‘con artists’. If a business deal seems too good to be true, there’s often a sound reason why. By letting their guard down and being duped into a fake contract, a company could end up handing over thousands of pounds which they’ll never see again.
Making life difficult for cyber criminals
As criminals become ever more sophisticated, business owners may struggle to head every cyber attack off at the pass. But rather than burying their heads in the sand, the following basic steps should at least give them a fighting chance:
- Perform due diligence before entering contracts. By carefully scrutinising prospective clients and partners, companies can avoid those set up as a ‘front’ by fraudsters.
- Secure buy-in from every employee. Cyber security isn’t simply the responsibility of a single department or person. Instead, all staff members should be encouraged to stay vigilant and protect their devices as far as possible.
- Invest in proven anti-virus software. Digital security systems must be genuinely effective – even if they come with a sizeable price tag.
- Encrypt and back up important data. Securing sensitive information should be a top priority, given the tough regulations and penalties that surround data protection.
Recognising the importance of insurance
If all else fails and cyber criminals successfully infiltrate a business, insurance can help to quickly deal with the consequences.
The costs associated with cyber crime can quickly rack up, covering everything from virus removal and computer repairs through to court fees and regulatory penalties. The good news is that bespoke cyber insurance can meet many of these expenses. In fact, it might prove the difference between a business sinking or swimming after a major incident.
With this in mind, now would be a good time to explore NIG’s Cyber Cover policy.
With cybercrime covered as standard, and the flexibility to add optional cover such as hardware and cyber event – loss of business income, there’s no wonder our Cyber product was given a 4/5* rating by an independent broker reviewer in Insurance Times during 2016.
The comprehensive cover that our product offers, including our 24/7 support, can go a long way to helping safeguard the future of your business should you ever be the victim of a cyber-attack. Here’s what our Cyber policy also covers:
- Cybercrime – financial loss from hacking, fraudulent input or alteration of data
- Cyber liability – damages and defence costs attributed to a data breach
- Data-breach expense – the cost of expenses following a data-protection failure
- Third party data storage – data held at a third party storage provider
- Loss of business income following a cyber-event (Optional)
- Damage, loss, corruption and breakdown of hardware (Optional)
- Data corruption and extra costs (Optional)
You can find more information about NIG’s Cyber Cover product, including Key Facts, Sales Aid, Proposal Form and Policy Wording, on our website here.
NIG. Here’s Why…
As well as having a great Cyber Cover product, here are some key benefits of choosing NIG:
- Established – we have more than 120 years of commercial underwriting expertise.
- Focus – we’re 100% focused on brokers, and trade all of our products exclusively through UK brokers.
- Size and scale – as part of the Direct Line Insurance Group we have the strength, security, and scale of a FTSE 100 company behind us.
- Comprehensive – our extensive range of products cater for businesses large and small.
- Competitive – our one-quote-to-market principle provides a real edge for brokers.
- Financial support – we can provide in-house surveying and risk management funding.
- UK-wide – we have eight regional offices across the UK, combining regional coverage with local expertise.