The Advantage Blog

Computer Security is Not Just for the Big Boys Anymore

Computer hacking.  We hear about it every day.  Whether it’s the Russians or the cyber thief down the street, security breaches of important and sensitive data are occurring more and more frequently.

hackingLarge corporations like Target, Bank of America and other billion dollar firms spend millions to prevent computer system hacking and still it happens to them.

Actually hackers see small businesses as a lucrative target with information that is worth just as much as the data they can acquire from major corporations … but often with a lot less effort.

Why does Hacking Take Place?
Hacking occurs mostly for the money that can be made by selling credit card information and social security data to sophisticated cyber-criminal operations.  But hackers also have other malevolent reasons including disrupting operations of companies they feel have slighted them or because of a cause they support.  Along with theft of data, hackers also introduce viruses that can bring your business to a standstill.

How Hacking Impacts a Business

  • Losing Personal Information including social security numbers, home addresses, health care information and credit card details can be very disruptive to an employee or customer’s life.
  • Damaging a Company’s Website by introducing malicious viruses that destroy data and compromise website security can lead to system crashes. Hackers can change the code on your website to stop it from functioning and cause financial loss, especially if you have an online shop. In some cases data cannot be recovered and the website must be created again from scratch, which can take days or weeks.
  • Losing Sensitive Email Data by accessing employee email accounts to obtain confidential documents, personal information, and other time-sensitive data can be used against a person or business.
  • user_frustrationTheft of Company Trade Secrets has become a real concern in the United States and Europe, with hackers from China thought to be involved. Losing proprietary information to competitors can impact the long term success of any business.
  • Loss of Credibility resulting from hackers obtaining customer data can lead to extremely negative publicity and loss of confidence in your business.  This can impact sales and in some cases legal retribution may be sought by those whose information was stolen.

What’s a Small Business Owner to Do?
As small business owners and individuals, we are often unsure of what to do to stop electronic break-ins to our data.  Here are some security solutions recommended by cyber experts.

  • Keep your Antivirus Software current.  This can defend against most types of malware.
  • Add Firewall Protection to your computer operating system, routers and servers.  This can stop an unauthorized user from gaining access to your system.
  • Set up a Data Backup Solution so any compromised data can be recovered from an alternate location.
  • Install Encryption Software to protect sensitive data such as employee records, client/customer information and financial statements.
  • cybersecurityChange Passwords by encouraging employees (or build it into your system) to do this on a regular basis.  You can also implement a two-step authentication or password-security software to reduce the likelihood of password cracking.

Cybersecurity Insurance Is Available
General liability policies will not recoup losses or legal fees associated with a data breach, so a separate policy covering these types of damages can be very helpful in case of a cyber attack.

Cyber insurance is often a combination of first- and third-party coverage.  First-party liability coverage includes any general costs incurred as a result of a breach, such as legal counseling, public relations campaigns, customer notification and business interruption. Third-party coverage protects you if your company is at the center of a breach that exposed sensitive information. This type of protection covers legal costs if the affected parties sue your company.

Many insurance carriers are beginning to offer tailor-made coverage for smaller companies to meet their budgets and risk-exposure levels.

Don’t Assume, Call Us
Ultimately, the best thing you can do for your business is to have a security-first mentality.  Don’t assume you’re exempt from falling victim to a cyber-attack because you are a small business.

Please contact the Mitchell Agency regarding any questions you may have on your insurance needs.  Just give us a call at 765-742-1135.