Cyber Liability: How to Protect Your Small Business

If you're a small business owner or self-employed, surely you've heard the words "hacking" or seen numerous examples of "cyber liability claims" in the news.  What exactly do these mean and how can your bottom line be affected?

According to the Better Business Bureau, "Cyber-attacks cost businesses more than ... $400 billion per year and affect 1 in 4 small businesses, and yet most small businesses believe it will not happen to them."

The U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance reported that "60% of small companies that suffer a cyber attack are out of business within six months."  

Journalist Gary Miller offers up a few tips to help protect your business:

Remember, most cyber breaches happen because an employee does something that they aren’t supposed to do. Basic training can stop a majority of low-level threats. But, coaching your employees on data protection is not enough. Business owners must establish data security protocols, policies, practices and procedures that every employee takes seriously.
Create a business continuity and incident response plan. This will be put into effect immediately once you know your systems have been compromised.
Keep security software current.  Having the latest security software, web browser and operating systems are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.
When in doubt, delete it. Links in e-mails, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it.
Protect all devices that connect to the Internet.  Along with computers, smartphones, tablets, and other web-enabled devices need to be protected from viruses and malware.
Plug and scan.  USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware.  Use your security software to scan them.
Consider cyber insurance. While premiums continue to rise, the cost of the insurance will look small in comparison to the cost of experts and consultants to restore your systems — or the cost of going out of business.
Expand beyond IT. Don’t delegate cyber-crime prevention solely to your IT department and tell them “get on with it.” Embed these practices across all areas of your business.
Encrypt your most sensitive files.  Encrypting data is a process of converting data into a form, where it becomes unintelligible to any person without access to a key/password to decrypt the data.
Obtain a Fidelity / Crime Bond Policy. Fidelity provides broad coverage for theft or forgery by an employee. Crime policies provide reimbursement for unlawful acts committed by external parties. 

These cyber security practices should go a long way in helping your small business or large organization.  And beyond these measures, if you have any questions on cyber liability insurance, we are here to help protect your company if a data breach should occur.