Cybersecurity remains one of the biggest concerns among business owners in 2021. Since the start of the pandemic, there’s been an unprecedent rise in cybercrimes and a shift in how cybercriminals operate. Many cyberattacks today are designed to cause severe business disruption by crippling the business’s ability to perform normal activities such as causing the business website to be unusable or inaccessible as well as deleting or holding critical data hostage. The average ransomware attack shuts down companies’ systems for about 18 hours, causing a ripple effect of downtime that can take days or weeks to recover. Not only do business owners suffer huge productivity and financial losses from cyberattacks but they also risk losing the trust of their customers if they do not have an adequate response to the cyberattacks.
According to research from Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime such as ransomware attacks are expected to cost organizations more than $20 billion this year. Many smaller organizations lack IT support and resources to adequately protect them from cyberthreats, making them an attractive target for cybercriminals. Therefore, it is critical to keep abreast of cybersecurity trends and adjust your organization’s cyber risk management strategies accordingly.
Cybercriminals are particularly interested in sensitive information such as your customers or employees’ data as well as in holding networks and systems hostage until a ransom is paid. Some common cybersecurity trends include:
- Cloud hijacking. Cloud breaches have become more common in the past year as cybercriminals have developed a method for hijacking cloud infrastructures via credential-stealing malware.
- Ransomware attacks. Many organizations including government agencies and universities have fallen victim to ransomware attacks in recent years. Cybercriminals lock and encrypt files and systems until a payment is received, which usually involves millions of dollars. Ransomware attacks can cost organizations a devastating amount of damages.
- Social engineering risks. Business email compromise and phishing scams are increasingly common cybersecurity risks. Your organization may have a robust network security system but all it takes is one employee clicking on an email to expose your organization to cybercriminals. A common phishing scam targets users of electronic signing services. As more organizations utilize electronic signing services as a convenient way to digitally sign and exchange important documents, cybercriminals are using a variety of scamming techniques to trick users into sharing sensitive data such as their signature and personal information.
Take protective measures
Traditional business liability policies insure against injury or physical loss but do not typically protect businesses from cybersecurity risks. As a result, many businesses do not have adequate protection against cyberattacks, and have to pay for liability costs out-of-pocket after an attack.
Fortunately, organizations can avoid crippling amount of financial losses and damages from cyberattacks by taking these proactive measures:
- Have an adequate coverage plan. Having an adequate cyber liability coverage plan can mean the difference between remaining in business or being forced to close. Cyber liability coverage plans provide business interruption loss reimbursement, payment for legal support and security fixes following a cyberattack, all of which are helpful in recouping financial losses. For instance, a cybercrime coverage plan can protect your business from liabilities caused by social engineering, computer, or funds transfer fraud. A business loss coverage plan can insure your business against interruption, reputational harm and system failure caused by cyberattacks, and a breach response plan can insure your business against cyber extortion.
- Know your options. There are different types of cyber liability coverage plans. You can get a stand-alone policy, have the policy be part of a suite of coverages or simply tied in with a professional liability. The level of coverage your business needs depends on your range of exposure and business operations and should be tailored to fit your business.
- Develop a business continuity plan. A continuity plan can help with timely recovery of core business functions, protect sensitive customer data, and minimize loss of revenue. The plan should identify potential cyber risks, outline a process to assess damages and assign a recovery team whose responsibility involves guiding the business toward resuming operations.
- Provide training to your employees. Provide regular cybersecurity training and resources and update your organization’s workplace policies and procedures as cybersecurity threats evolve. Use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your organization from ransomware attacks and place security filters on your email server and educate your employees on the common types of phishing scams. Require two-factor authentication for all company passwords because it adds a layer of protection against compromised credentials. Encourage your employees to install software updates as they become available to prevent potential security gaps.
While financial losses from a cyberattack can be recouped quickly, a damaged brand reputation and loss of trust from cyberattacks can be more difficult to rebuild. Many commercial insurance agents have a wealth of cybersecurity resources and can help you assess the best ways to protect your data. Many will even provide a pre-breach and post-breach risk management assessment and can guide you in selecting a cyber liability coverage plan that works best for your business. The sooner you begin this conversation with an expert, the more prepared you will be in the event of a cybersecurity breach.