With cyber-attacks on the rise, more businesses are turning to insurance* to protect themselves in the same way we insure our cars, our lives and our homes. While we are all legally obliged to insure and MOT our cars, the same is not true of our IT systems.
Yet data protection firm Databasix states 39% of UK businesses identified cyber security breaches or attacks in 2021. With the average cost of a data breach for UK SMEs at £8,460, cyber insurance would be helpful, but preventing the attacks happening in the first place with a cyber-security solution delivered by a reputable IT support provider would be the equivalent of an MOT from a trusted mechanic.
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You really cannot split the two. To continue with my car analogy, there is a 1 in 20,000** or 0.005% chance in any year of an individual being involved in a fatal road accident, but the potential loss of life means we regularly service our cars and take out insurance to provide cover in the event of an accident. A data breach is far more likely to affect us, but not all businesses seek out the same protection.
In the same way that a motor insurance company would not pay out for a claim when you knowingly neglected an existing problem, this may also be the case for cyber insurance. If you wilfully ignore a pre-existing problem prior to taking out the insurance, the likelihood is you would not be covered in the event of a claim.
Whether you invest in cyber insurance or not, every business needs cyber security and dedicated IT support. Whether you have the resource in-house or need to seek out a cyber security services company and/or a third-party IT support provider, these items are critical to the reputation and profitability of a business.
While a breach will not result in a tragic loss of life, as in the case of a fatal car accident, a business could lose data or find themselves unable to access their IT systems, resulting in lost productivity profits and consumer trust.
There is a general misconception that data protection, cyber security and GDPR compliance is only for enterprise-sized businesses. In fact, all UK businesses are subject to fines and penalties if they lose data as a result of cyber-criminal activity or employee error.
Small businesses can be fined up to 4% of their annual turnover if they fail to secure their digital data. Cyber insurance can cover you for the damage, but as you can imagine, it does not prevent the mishap from occurring.
Many businesses still rely on a one-man band located nearby, but what if they cannot be contacted, or they are ill or on holiday and you have a system failure? It could cost your business thousands of pounds.
Distance from your IT support provider should not be a factor when determining who you should choose. At swcomms, 99% of tickets are responded to within 10 minutes and very few issues actually require an engineer to visit site. In fact, we use pro-active monitoring tools that mean many issues will be resolved before you even know about them!
With cyber-attacks a real threat, I would suggest you look for an IT support provider that is big enough to respond quickly but is also keen to assess your business to give immediate and future recommendations about security, licensing, hardware upgrades and so on.
This is why an assessment is key. You may have some cyber protection in place already or it may need updating or you may be missing some entire elements. One point worth nothing is that a motor insurance company would not pay out for an incident when you knowingly neglected an existing problem that could lead to a claim, and this may also be the case for cyber insurance. If you wilfully ignore a pre-existing problem prior to taking out the insurance, the likelihood is you would not be covered.
We generate a report with a traffic light system that illustrates what needs attending to immediately, what is more medium to long-term, and what is already fit for purpose.
We advise you on data backup, business continuity, anti-virus, firewalling, and web and content filtering, hardware upgrades, mobile device management, and Microsoft 365 licensing. Many of these can be viewed in our Focus Shield portfolio. Our aim is to prevent businesses from having to make an insurance claim by protecting their IT from within. If you are seeking a new IT support provider, your IT team needs some extra help, or you want to invest in cyber-security products, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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*Cyber insurance – growing market to meet the global threat (abi.org.uk)
**Risk of death and transportation (bandolier.org.uk)