The digital world can be a pretty scary place. Cyber threats are hiding around every virtual corner, just waiting to catch you out.
And unfortunately, businesses are the number one target. According to the 2023 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, 32% of businesses and 24% of charities in the UK have experienced security breaches or attacks. The stats are even higher for medium businesses (59%), large businesses (69%), and high-income charities (56%). They’re some pretty high odds.
So, the reality is, if you’re a business owner and you trade online, store data or even just use email, you probably need cyber insurance.
At a total estimated cost of £21bn, UK businesses take the brunt when it comes to cybercrime. The average annual cost of cybercrime per victim is estimated to be around £15,300.
What is cybercrime?
To understand who needs cyber insurance, you probably need to understand what it’s for. And what protection it offers.
You might think of cybercrime as this dark, mysterious underworld. A few pasty nerds hidden in basements with all their gadgets, like in the movies. But the truth is, small-time cybercriminals are everywhere, rubbing shoulders with the rest of us. And cyber-attacks affect thousands of businesses, big and small, every day.
The government believe there were about 2.39 million instances of cybercrime and roughly 49,000 instances of fraud as a result of cybercrime within UK businesses in 2022.
Since the pandemic, our lives and businesses have become even more reliant on tech. And while there are advantages for us, it means there’s a lot more opportunity for cybercriminals.
Unlike the movies, they don’t need to be super-smart. More often than not, it’s the simplest of dirty tricks that catch us off guard…
Heard of social engineering? Even if you haven't, you’ll almost certainly have come across it.
Social engineering is when cybercrims play on our emotions to reel us in. If we fall for it, we quite literally put money straight into their pockets. Ever had a dodgy text from a daughter you didn’t know you had? Received an email from a long-lost relative offering you money? That’s social engineering. But cybercriminals have got a lot better at it. Social engineering attacks are becoming more and more convincing. And more and more businesses are falling for them.
Imagine you run an online retail business. It’s a quiet morning, so you go to the local café to send a few emails. Public Wi-Fi networks have very little security, so it’s easy for a hacker to take advantage. While you’re busy nattering, sipping on a hazelnut latte, the hacker is delving into your emails and taking all your suppliers’ details.
A few days later, you receive an invoice from a recognised supplier. You happily settle up, paying into the account on the invoice. But of course, it isn’t your supplier at all. You’ve just paid straight into a criminal’s bank account, completely unawares.
And it's not just social engineering you need to worry about. There's ransomware and a whole smorgasbord of other cyber threats.
Why do I need cyber insurance?
So, you run a small business or charity. Why would anyone want to attack little old you? We’ll tell you why. Because cybercriminals don't discriminate. They'll take what they can get.
Small businesses and charities are often easy targets because they don’t usually have the same level of security as larger companies. So don't think you're safe just because you're not in the big league.
Virtual assistants, marketing and media agencies, consultants, online retailers, IT companies, accountants… the list of businesses that are vulnerable to cybercrime is long.
Do you deal with suppliers, do online customer transactions, or hold customers’ or clients’ personal data? If the answer’s 'yes', you need cyber insurance. And make sure you and your staff are swotted up on cybersecurity too.
Whether you’re big or small, your reputation can be tarnished by cybercrime. It puts your name in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. It can highlight weaknesses in your business and cause customers or clients to lose trust.
You might think of yourself as a cybersecurity expert. But even your super-duper firewall and premium antivirus software can let you down. Crafty cybercriminals are always finding new ways to get into our digital hideouts.
What does cyber insurance cover me for?
Cyber insurance is there to help you with every aspect of cybercrime fallout. You’ll have a team of digital and legal superheroes swoop in to contain the crisis. They’ll try to retrieve stolen data, repair any holes in your security, defend your reputation, and even cough up for legal expenses if things get ugly. All while making sure you don’t end up out of pocket.
Human error is the most common cause of security breaches. So it’s important staff are aware of the part they play in your cybersecurity efforts. Even with the best intentions though, our security measures can and do fail. Getting cyber insurance is a way to back up those efforts.
So, when you look for a cyber insurance policy, make sure it covers you for social engineering attacks. You might be tempted by the cheaper policies, but the truth is you get what you pay for. The cost of cyber insurance has gone up in recent years, but that’s because the threat has increased. Unless you’re covered for social engineering, the policy probably isn’t worth buying.
Lots of insurance companies will also offer free or discounted access to cybersecurity training programs. Which is worth its weight in bitcoins.
Let’s get real
You might not think your business is a likely target, but you’re right to think it could be an easy one.
Really, it doesn’t matter how large or small your business is. Raided databases or hacked websites take time and money to fix. The business cost of seeing to the immediate problem and dealing with the consequences isn’t to be taken lightly.
But you don’t have to be the weak link. Cyber insurance policies help get you back on your feet following a cyber-attack.
So to summarise - who needs cyber insurance?
Everyone. But especially you.
Read more about what is cyber insurance and what it covers.
Or call 0345 222 5391 to speak to a friendly expert.
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