6 March 2016

The internet brings with it huge opportunities for businesses, but it also brings its fair share of risks. There’s barely a week that goes past without a report in the press about cyber attacks on UK companies like yours, attempting to steal your information and money, or disrupt your business.

It is not merely large organisations like Talk Talk and Marks & Spencer that are affected – recent reports show a huge rise in attacks as cyber criminals target small businesses.

A common practice today is ‘whaling’ or ‘spear phishing’, the objective of which is to swindle a manager into divulging confidential information about their company. Scam emails are designed to masquerade as a critical business email, sent from a legitimate business authority, and according to recent statistics, more than half of such attacks carried out using fake emails in December last year were against SME’s.

Hackers do not only steal data but they can also encrypt the data. In addition to causing disruption through business downtime, hackers may threaten to delete or encrypt data, forcing the business to pay a ransom to get their information back.

The issue of cyber security for small businesses is made even more pressing by new European regulations aimed at protecting customer data and companies can be fined thousands of pounds for lost client data. Added to this is the PR nightmare that they will no doubt face.

SME’s are often seen as soft targets and ignoring security risks can be disastrous. An insurance solution in the form of Cyber and Crime policies can help ease the pain should you find yourself at the end of a security problem.

Cyber Insurance covers the losses relating to damage to, or loss of information from, IT systems and networks.  Policies generally include significant assistance with and management of the incident itself, which can be essential when faced with reputational damage or regulatory enforcement.

Crime Insurance includes cover for monetary losses and, as banks may not continue to foot the bill of cyber attacks, businesses should be prepared and ensure they have adequate insurance in place.

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