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Staying Safe in Cyber Culture as a Business Owner

Staying Safe in Cyber Culture as a Business Owner

You’ve recently digitized your business and are experiencing traction on your website, visits on your social media profiles, efficiency in processes, and online leads are pouring in – welcome to the wonderful world of innovation!  The advancement of technology has propelled many businesses to restructure their internal systems and customer interactions.  Operational data, personal information, and sensitive documents are transitioning from the physical form to becoming digital assets.

Although sharing and transferring information between individuals and businesses has ushered in a wave of convenience, they have also indirectly created opportunities for those with malicious intent.  It is much easier to steal large amounts of information now compared to before.  Distance, location and time are no longer barriers for cyber criminals.  This fact also changes the nature of the risk of them being lost, stolen, or destroyed.

It is important for businesses to remember that a company’s digital assets are evolving into the heart of its operations and securing them must not be overlooked.  We, at Stratis Insurance, hope this article provides an opportunity to learn about cyber myths and defenses before a catastrophe occurs. 

Social Engineering Fraud 

Social engineering fraud is a term used to describe human hacking in which hackers deceive people into providing personal or confidential information for the purpose of exploitation and they are becoming increasingly common.  Anyone within your organization (whether an employee, vendor, or supplier) can be made a victim.  Detecting deception can be difficult and can result in your company transferring large amounts of money without even realizing it. 

The evolution of technological advancements has manifested theft into a new space whereby information can be stolen if hackers are adamant on doing so.  Even with ideal measures in place, accidents happen.  Does your business have a strong plan to immediately rectify a security breach?  How will you prepare for an interruption to your business if a hacker infiltrates your operational systems and encrypts data, resulting in a one-day outage?  Consider the following scenario: The holiday season fast approaches and your bakery start-up, that offers complimentary delivery services, anticipates 1500 sales transactions this month but, thanks to hackers maliciously attacking your operational systems, are only able to process around 900 with an average transaction value of $20? Are you able to recoup the significant loss in revenue of roughly $12,000?  Do you have funds set aside for potential lawsuits if clients sue you for the leak of their personal and confidential information?  These situations are just a few examples that can severely compromise your business’s financial health, security, and reputation.  As we all know, a brand’s reputation is worth its weight in gold.   

The Covid-19 pandemic illustrated a spike in social engineering fraud.  Many businesses that implemented a work-from-home arrangement during the pandemic opened an indirect opportunity for business email compromise and data breaches.  Keep in mind that fraud can come in many forms, such as a malicious email (also known as phishing), a phone call or text.  Cyberattacks are not only notorious in modern-day crime but they’re often more common.  Securing the proper insurance (and being educated on what this looks like) is the wisest way to protect your business. 

Myths You Need to Stop Believing

  1. Antivirus and Cyber-Security Software are sufficient
    While installing security software is a good first defense, they are also vulnerable to attacks by hackers due to increasingly sophisticated methods of social engineering fraud.
  2. Small or medium-sized businesses aren’t at high risk of cyber-attacks in comparison to large corporations
    You might think of your business as one that is unlikely to be at risk for these types of Cybercrimes.  You may even be under the impression that only large corporations find Cyber insurance beneficial or that a business that doesn’t collect sensitive data in the first place wouldn’t need this type of coverage.  If you forget to update your software or operating systems, your business may be vulnerable to a data breach, which could result in the leak of personal customer information.
  3. Third-party cloud providers absorb the risk
    If your cloud service provider is a victim of a cyber attack and is unable to support your operations, your business is susceptible to first party business interruption.  Your business is still responsible for fulfilling its daily operations, including servicing clients but how can you continue if your operating systems have been severely affected?
  4. You can easily detect a fraudulent email or text message
    While this may be true, your employees may not always be able to do so.  Hackers can pose as a CEO or head of Human Resources and send emails or text messages, insisting that personal and confidential information be urgently submitted.

Vulnerabilities do not apply to large, well-known companies only.  It’s incredibly important to understand that the sophistication of cybercrimes has drastically evolved, making it easier to target any size of business in any part of the world.  Cyber criminals have already demonstrated their ability to disrupt supply chains for all types of businesses and can decimate the simplest operating systems.  You don’t need to run an e-commerce business or be in the tech industry to find yourself exposed to Cybercrime.  Nor do you need to have a complex infrastructure before becoming a target.  

Did You Know?

Phishing is one of the most common and frequently engineered types of cybercrimes. Many businesses store client details such as names, phone numbers, email addresses, credit cards, banking information, or corporate information such as login credentials which allows hackers to easily steal personal information and user data from one place. They can even modify point of sale terminals and order processing systems. Email and mobile phishing involve sending recipients links or messages regarding closed accounts, outstanding payments, updating personal information, verifying account details, or instructions on how to claim a prize. A hacker can trick your customers by appearing to come from your company and send them fake invoices through email or text messages.  

Malicious attacks can appear to occur from within your organization. CEO fraud is becoming increasingly common as this form of phishing involves hackers posing as the CEO of a company and tricking employees into sending confidential HR information or revealing personal information.  

Who is Cyber insurance for? 

Education is a critical element in understanding how to protect the livelihood and reputation of your business in Cyber culture.  You don’t know what you don’t know.  For businesses that are tech-savvy as well as those that aren’t, Cyber insurance is for a wide range of companies.

  • Businesses that place a strong emphasis on exceptional customer service. Your company can risk ruining its reputation and experience major impacts on sales, collaborations, and relationships. If the trust between your business and customers is disrupted by a cyber attack, this can lead to decreased customer loyalty, lack of confidence in repeat business, and even poor public perception. 
  • Businesses that utilize some form of logistics within their operations. For example, coordinating accurate plans with time-efficient delivery routes, sending notifications to customers, recording inventory or storing documenting shipment details  
  • Businesses ranging from refrigeration companies to beauty salons that make wire transfers from a bank account are at risk of funds transfer fraud. If your business was unable to access operational systems, it can put your business at severe risk of financial loss, especially if your daily operations are dependent on technology.  
  • Businesses that implement remote working arrangements are susceptible to email compromise and data breaches. The Covid-19 pandemic illustrated some of the highest levels of cybercrime frequency due to the remote work arrangements implemented by many companies. Employees using company-issued mobile devices and computer systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks. 
  • Tech companies that provide services and products that are in the form of software, computer hardware, consulting, and other data related services to businesses and/or individuals. 
  • Trucking companies ranging from refrigerated food to general freight whose entire business rely on systems such that hackers can encrypt every piece of data necessary to run their operations such as delivery routes, logistical information, vendor contacts, order details, stock orders, and payment card processing capabilities. 
  • A company that sells web design or hosting services to another company. 
  • A broad range of Technology professionals, businesses and services such as:  
    • Computer Hardware Sales (including consulting) 
    • Computer Maintenance or Repair 
    • Custom Software, Programming or Application Development for Others 
    • Enterprise Resource Planning Installation 
    • General IT Consulting (but not managed services or security specific) 
    • Hardware Infrastructure as a Service 
    • Online Brand Management 
    • IT Network Configuration or Communication Configuration 
    • IT Project Management 
    • IT Security Consulting 
    • IT Staffing Services 
    • Packaged Software or Hardware Installation 
    • Prepackaged Software 
    • Subscription Based Business Software as a Service 
    • Training, Teaching and Tutoring Services – Hardware and Software 
    • Video Game Developers 
    • Web Development or Web Graphic Design or Digital Marketing 

How Can Your Business Stay Safe in Cyber Culture?   

Evaluating risks with and receiving education from an insurance professional should be part of your business protection plans.  The way technology is evolving illustrates the transition of physical products, storage, currency, and transfer of information are all taking place in a whole other sphere, and you need to be aware of what is at stake if you are not provided with the proper knowledge to make confident informed decisions.  Just as instantaneous as the digitization of your business should you expect your insurance to respond in the same manner.  How and how quickly you and your clients are protected should be the focus of your coverage so you can return to operating your business swiftly with as little interruption as possible.  Remember – as your operating systems evolve, so too does social engineering fraud.  Cyber criminals are figuring out new methods and continuing to seize opportunities with every technological advancement.  They will find a way around technological defenses.  Catastrophic cyber events have the potential to cause inconveniences to your business, bring it to a halt or cripple your operating infrastructure.

Businesses should take full advantage of the expertise and education offered by Stratis Insurance.  These services could make the difference between surviving a cyber attack and moving forward confidently.  Connect with Stratis Insurance’s Commercial Insurance Specialist to help you address the risks you and your business face today.  Whatever the size or industry of your organization, rest assured there are expert risk management solutions that are tailored for you. 

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