Reducing Your Business’ Exposure to Cyber Attacks

Reducing Your Business’ Exposure to Cyber Attacks

October 24, 2022


Businesses nowadays are becoming increasingly dependent on technology, often to the degree that many enterprises would be forced to stall their operations if something were to happen to their databases, websites, or sensitive information. Whether you utilize technology to house client information, run your e-commerce website, or coordinate communications between team members, your business is at risk of a cyber attack – regardless of the way you use your tech.

Smaller businesses too often assume that they are not exposed, but the fact of the matter is that small businesses lack the resources and the financial muscle to recoup following a cyber attack. They have increasingly become the victims of data breaches, ransomware, and other cybercrime events since they are easier targets than larger enterprises. How exactly does one protect their business from cyber threats? In this blog, we’ll dig into the ways you can reduce your business’ exposure to cyber attacks, as well as some advice on integrating cyber insurance in with your existing small business insurance plan.

Risk Management for Cyber Attacks

Cybercrime is on the rise globally, and they’re becoming increasingly expensive to deal with. The average cost of a data breach in Canada is roughly $5.4 million. For a small business, that can be devastating.

As a business owner, risk management is one of your main duties to ensure that your business can remain open for years to come. Risk management is the practice of acknowledging a business’ risks, ordering them based on severity and/or likelihood, and either transferring them, accepting them, avoiding them, or mitigating them. Risk management is used to reduce your risk of physical threats and lawsuits, but it can also be used to handle your enterprise’s exposure to cyber attacks.

Cyber risks might look like the following list:

  • Unrestricted access to business data for employees
  • Uninformed employees
  • Lack of cybersecurity software or firewall
  • Nonsecure network
  • Cloud vulnerabilities
  • Absence of strong cyber hygiene, i.e – passwords, authentication
  • Not including cyber insurance in your BOP
  • …and so on.

Once you have analyzed how your business uses its tech, which employees have access to it, and you have talked with your broker about the possibility of purchasing cyber insurance, consider the following tips to secure your business against cyber threats.

Keep up to date on the latest trends.

As technology evolves, so do cyber criminals. Unfortunately, hackers are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to breach your systems and obtain your enterprise’s data. It may do you some good to look up recent cybercrime statistics and hire an IT team that has the reputability and resources to help round out your enterprise’s cybersecurity strategy. You’ll want to stay informed of any shifts in the digital world to keep up with potential risks and hone your workplace safety.

Train your employees to identify cyber threats.

Most cybercrime happens because of human error. Employees should be trained on identifying cyber threats and informed on how best to respond following an unexpected cyber event. They should also be drilled on proper cyber hygiene practices, such as using multi-factor authentication, using complex passwords (and never the same one for any two or more accounts), forwarding malicious or suspicious emails to IT, and reporting potential scams.

Your business should also implement a breach response plan. The Court of Appeal of Quebec has recently rejected the initial class action claim for breach of privacy against the IIROC, in relation to a data breach that resulted in the personal info of several thousand Canadian investors being compromised. Afterwards, it was determined that the IIROC had acted appropriately dealing with the breach – something that would not have been made possible without a breach response plan.

Use Wi-Fi that is WPA2 password protected.

Free Wi-Fi is a great way to offer a service to visitors to your location, and most Internet service providers will monitor unencrypted visitors. Unfortunately, this is still a security risk. Your business should use Wi-Fi that is WPA2 password protected, so at least there is some filtering as to who can get onto your Wi-Fi. That being said, each user using your Wi-Fi has different security measures. If your staff is using this public Wi-Fi, always ensure it’s WPA2 password protected.

Encrypt your data.

Too few businesses understand what encrypting data may mean. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the digital mumbo-jumbo, but basically, encrypting is to allow only the sender and the receiver of the message to understand what’s being said. You can download software that will do the encryption for you. A popular encryption implementation is Secure Sockets Layer, also known as SSL. Sites that are securely encrypted have an “s” after the http in their address. You may need to invest in an SSL certificate, however, as they don’t come free. Discuss with your website developer if you outsource.

Consider using a reputable third-party for outsourcing online payments.

Many e-commerce websites will use a third-party for managing payments, which is a means of ensuring all payments are secure. Do your research and find a reputable vendor to outsource your online payments to, not just the first one that you find.

As a business owner, you’ve got a lot to think about, between physical risks, liability risks, and now issues that could arise digitally. While we can’t avoid or mitigate every risk, you always have the option of purchasing a cyber insurance policy to add in with your existing business insurance to defend your enterprise against the expenses necessary to recoup following a cyber attack. Discuss with Excalibur Insurance’s experts today the benefits of cyber insurance.