A successful cyberattack can cause significant damage to your business. Reliance on a variety of IT equipment such as PCs, laptops, cloud-based systems and smart devices means that virtually all businesses are vulnerable and at risk of losing customer data, employee details and commercially confidential information.
However, it is not just large organisations at risk. Small firms suffer close to 10,000 cyberattacks daily, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), with Policy & Advocacy Chairman Martin McTague stating:
“These findings demonstrate the sheer scale of the dangers faced by small firms every day in the digital arena.”
Different Types of Cyberattack
Every business, regardless of size, is a potential target of a cyber security breach. Criminals seek to exploit data such a personal information, trade secrets, financial details, client lists and login credentials. Here are four key cyber threats that your business should be aware of.
Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) which attempts to encrypt your data and will only restore access in exchange for a ransom. These types of attacks are usually financially motivated as attackers will often ask for a sum of money. Ransomware attacks can be targeted or un-targeted; criminals may simply target as many devices as possible, or the attacker may have a specific interest in your business or is being paid to target you. Ransomware attacks sometimes occur if a business ‘scandal’ has been leaked and the attacker knows that the business will be motivated to protect the information under ransom. Ransomware attacks are often implemented via links in malicious emails.
Phishing attacks occur when criminals attempt to gain sensitive information whilst posing as a trustworthy contact. Attackers could be using an email address disguised as a banking service, online retail service or government contact regarding a tax return. Often these emails contain genuine logos and can be hugely convincing.
Another type of phishing attack, known as ‘spear fishing’ or ‘whaling’ involves posing as the CEO of a business and sending a fabricated email to the chief financial officer requesting an urgent invoice payment. These attacks are also often financially motivated and attempt to trick individuals into providing their financial information.
Hacking involves identifying a weakness in the IT systems of a business and using that weakness to gain access to information. Hackers will attempt to access bank information, credit card databases and intellectual property. Some hackers use social engineering to trick employees into revealing usernames and passwords, which would then be used as a gateway into the company’s IT systems and more sensitive data.
Cybersecurity seems challenging enough within the confines of your business; however, with the smart technology of today, portable storage devices such as phones and tablets extend the risk of cyberattacks to a much wider area. These devices are a prime target for data thieves as they are easy to hack.
Impact of Cyberattacks on Business
Cyberattacks can have two major impacts on a business: cost and reputation.
The economic cost of a cyber attack can result in substantial financial loss to a business, arising from theft of financial information, theft of corporate information or loss of business. Additionally, business often incur costs of software and network repair and device replacement after a cyberattack.
Breaches in the security systems of a business can sustain reputational damage and distrust from clients, especially if personal customer information has been compromised. This can lead to loss of customers and a loss of sales and profits. The impact of cyberattacks can also damage an organisation’s relationship with investors, partners and shareholders.
What You Can Do to Mitigate Your Risk
The financial losses resulting from a cyberattack could permanently affect the stability of your company. However, data breach is not inevitable, and there are several hazards that your business can avoid, making it much more difficult for cybercriminals to access your company’s data.
Improve Personnel Monitoring
Failure to effectively track personnel (both on and offline) can result in unauthorised individuals accessing restricted or high-security areas or data, which in turn can increase the likelihood of cyberattack.
Improve Security for Senior Employees
When personnel with high-authorisation levels are at risk, high-security data is also at risk. Wireless emergency alarm systems are a secure, discreet way for personnel to alert other employees if data is at risk.
It is imperative that employees are aware of the potential for cyberattacks and are given information on how their actions can increase or diminish this risk. Staff training on how to handle sensitive information and data security education should be an integral part of your organisation’s induction and ongoing training programme. Employees are particularly susceptible to phishing attacks through malicious emails, so staff should be reminded that continuous caution should always be practiced.
At Robison, we offer several types of insurance that could help protect your business in the event of a cyberattack. Our experience in the technology industry means that we can help you to identify the risks specific to your business and help protect your staff, customers and reputation in the case of a cyber security incident. Our Cyber Liability Insurance protects you and your customers against the costs relating to damage to or loss of information from IT systems and networks.
Our Cyber Liability Toolkit is designed to help employers protect their business, information and customers from cyber threats. For more information on how our Cyber Liability insurance can help protect your business, call us on 01730 265 500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Robison is an experienced business and personal insurance broker based in Petersfield, providing insurance services and advice for businesses and individuals in Hampshire and the surrounding areas. Our highly trained staff are dedicated to offering support and guidance, tailoring our policies to suit your needs.