“Cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation,” said President Obama. He goes on to say, “America’s economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.” His 2013 State of the Union Address also mentioned the vulnerability we have to enemies working to sabotage our power grids, financial institutions, and even our air traffic control systems.
National Security vs. Small Business Security
These threats are weighing heavily on the mind of the President who believes we, as a nation, cannot afford to look back in a few years and wonder why we didn’t do more to eliminate these very real and significant threats to our economy and our national security. Businesses have the same risks for cyber attacks and breaches with far fewer security measures at their disposal to protect against them.
Unfortunately, many businesses are slow to embrace the need for significant protection from cyber attacks and breaches. A recent Towers Watson survey of Corporate Risk Managers indicates that in spite of an increased awareness of the growing cyber threat. According to Towers Watson, “Six in ten companies are still without a liability policy in place.” He goes on to describe this as alarming because, “The financial and reputational costs companies face could be enormous if they don’t develop comprehensive risk strategies to thwart cyber-attacks.”
Just as the US President is stressing the importance of greater cyber protection and security, businesses also understand the need. They have their own fears. For some reason, however, many of them have not yet made the move to obtain adequate cyber liability insurance coverage to help them recover if a breach ever does occur (and most estimates are that it will be a matter of when rather than if). Cyber liability insurance helps businesses avoid some of the financial damage that may take place in the aftermath of a breach due to liability claims on privacy concerns of customers.
Aside from Insurance, What Can Businesses Do to Protect Themselves?
Businesses must be proactive in efforts to prevent cyber attacks and data breaches. It’s also important to stop thinking that your business is too small for a full-scale cyber attack. Savvy hackers cast a wide net in search of the businesses with the weakest security. While small businesses do not have the resources of the US government backing them, there are changes business owners can make that will significantly impact their ability to protect themselves including:
- Establishing policies for passwords and proper Internet usage on company owned computers and mobile devices
- Investing in top of the line security software
- Switching to cloud-based resources for sensitive information
These steps won’t eliminate all risks, but they will certainly help reduce your risks and exposure in the event of a cyber security breach. Combine these measures with an adequate cyber liability insurance policy and your business is much better situated to weather any storms a breach might generate.