How to Protect Your Small Business From Cyber Risks
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How to Protect Your Small Business From Cyber Risks

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saginaw bay underwriters cyber insurance

Cyber Security Is a Risk, Even for You

Rember the “Nigerian Prince” email scam of the Internet’s earlier days?

Some may laugh at the idea of someone falling for such a trick in 2019, but the fact is that this kind of “advance fee” scheme hasn’t gone away. On the contrary, cyber attacks have only gotten more deceptive and dangerous over time. From social engineering attacks such as phishing and spear-phishing, to malware and ransomware attacks, data breaches and hacks involving these kinds of tactics are now unfortunately common stories in today’s news.

You may say, “But wait, those stories are always about big companies. Target. Facebook. Google.”

True, many large companies have been victims of cyberattacks, but did you know that 40% of cyberattacks target small businesses and organizations – those with less than 250 employees? Moreover, did you know that more than half of all U.S. small businesses have experienced a cyberattack in the past year?

I can also confirm that in our agency, we are seeing an increase in cyber incidents and claims among local small businesses.

Why Small Businesses and Organizations Are Being Targeted

There are really three key reasons why it is, in fact, the smaller businesses and organizations that need to be more concerned about this risk:

  • There are often limited or no cyber security policies and procedures in place to protect valuable information in a smaller organization
  • Sometimes such businesses have no cyber insurance protection, or not the right kind, or not enough
  • When a cyber incident does occur in a smaller organization, usually there is not a response plan in place, which can cause valuable time to be lost

How to Protect Your Small Business From Cyber Risks

Focusing on the following areas is a great place to start when it comes to addressing cyber security, and can go a long way towards being prepared for these kinds of risks:

Threat Intelligence

It’s harder to avoid a risk about which you have inadequate information. With a little effort, even the busiest business owner can stay fairly current on cybersecurity stories and trends. It’s also wise to work with a dedicated cybersecurity firm, or an advisor who can help with these kinds of resources. The right partner can provide education and training, and even solutions like a diversified safety strategy and real-time cyber threat monitoring.

Technology

Having the right technology and technology service providers should be considered a cybersecurity necessity at this point. Your organization’s network, computer systems and applications should always be secure, up-to-date, patched and backed-up. Use effective firewalls, anti-virus software, anti-phishing solutions and email spam filters.

Policies & Best Practices

Your employees need clear technology guidelines and effective cyber safety training. Here are just a few basic best practices that can help:

  • Never give out confidential information via work email. This includes things like login credentials, financial account information and personally identifiable information like SSNs.
  • Be particularly wary of emails that are unexpected, but claim to come from a known source – your bank, for example – and of emails from people you don’t know.
  • Don’t click a link or download a file unless you’re positive it’s safe. Hovering over a link will show the URL, which is a simple way to check its validity.

Making the Complex Simple

Of course, no amount of prevention can completely protect you from cyber risks. Wise organizations realize that, ultimately, cyber security is not a problem to be finally solved, but just another risk to be managed in an ongoing way.

The right risk advisor, plus robust cyber insurance, including coverage for social engineering, computer fraud, electronic funds transfer fraud, etc., will therefore continue to be necessities for every small business and organization.

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