Posted on: September 25th, 2017 by The Accel Group | No Comments

Is your small business prepared for a cyber-attack or data breach? Learn what you can do to protect your assets, employees and customers.

1. Be proactive

Many cyber-attacks on businesses are opportunistic in nature, where the perpetrator(s) exploit an obvious weakness they see within a security system. The key word here is weaknesses! Taking the time to proactively identify and remedy weaknesses will help to deter future attacks.

Having policies and procedures in place that address data security management will ensure your business is effectively protected. Just as you do with other facets of your business, formulating a security plan and executing it to the best of your ability will enable those involved to completely understand their role. Not only does this clarify individual responsibility, but promotes communication and helps identify ineffective practices.

2. Implement employee education

Once you have processes and procedures in place, and a team of trained individuals managing your security, you should educate remaining employees on how to recognize cyber threats. These attacks don’t only happen at specific, identifiable, points within your system, but rather any area found to be vulnerable. Teach employees how to recognize cyber threats through ongoing training, and encourage them to report any suspicious activity they encounter.

Helping employees at every level understand the importance of data security is vital to creating a culture of vigilance. Many don’t understand how costly a data breach can be for a business, because they have never experienced one themselves. Explaining to your employees the specific ways a breach could affect the entire organization helps to contextualize the matter, giving credence to prioritization of your overall security.

3. Minimize opportunity for breach

Just like limiting the number of people with a company credit card reduces the opportunity for abuse, only allowing a small number of users to have administrator access to your network also minimizes the opportunity for a data breach. This practice helps you quickly identify possible sources of a breach, and circumvents any negligent activities that could put your network at risk of an attack. Setting access limitations will secure systems that host sensitive data, and add a layer of security to your network infrastructure.

4. Develop response plans

Familiarizing yourself with a breach response partner is a valuable consideration in developing your response plan. These servicers know exactly what to do in the aftermath of an attack, and are covered under specific cyber liability insurance plans.

5. Consider purchasing Cyber/Data Breach Insurance

Considering cyber liability insurance is very important when developing a response plan in the event of a data breach. This type of insurance often purchased by both small and large businesses will allow you to safeguard against the ramifications of malicious activities. Some such policies cover claims that allege invasion of privacy, libel or slander and infringement of intellectual property rights.

If you’ve never considered purchasing a cyber liability plan, there are a few things to think about. You must first identify what poses the greatest threat to your business. Will a breach of your network leave sensitive data exposed, money at risk, or your reputation permanently tarnished? Aside from maintaining the protection of your customers as your first priority, there are also laws and regulatory requirements that must be addressed when faced with a breach. In such cases, your business could face serious penalties and even damaging lawsuits if not handled correctly.

Incurred Expenses & Affected Income:

This type of coverage is designed to safeguard your business against any lost income or expenses your business may incur because of a data breach. This specific claim category is not commonly covered under other types of coverage, such as a commercial property policy.

Associated Costs:

 This is, in essence, a blanket coverage that alleviates costs you incur due to a data breach. Costs of notifying affected customers (as required by law) and the cost of providing credit monitoring to affected customers are common claims under this coverage.

Cyber Extortion:

This coverage is related to extortion costs your business may face if its networks are infected with ransomware.

Cost Of Data Loss:

This helps cover the costs associated with restoring lost data due to an attack, or system restructuring stemming from a breach.

Crisis Management:

 This coverage is available for the hiring of public relations professionals, legal counsel, and computer forensics consultants. These highly skilled professionals help repair your business once a breach has occurred.

If you have additional questions, get in contact with one of our knowledgable advisors.