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4 December 2018

Not just ecommerce businesses at risk

According to a report by Aura Information Security, Australasian information security professionals, 25 percent of the New Zealand businesses they surveyed had been subject to a cyber attack in the past 12 months, and just as many businesses expected to be the target of more frequent and complex phishing or ransomware attacks in the next 12 months.

As employee numbers grow, so too does the number of estimated phishing or ransomware attacks on a business, but the issue of cyber security is very real for every business, irrespective of size.

Every company relies, to a lesser or greater degree, on technology and connectivity to operate its business. There are multiple kinds of threats and cyber harms. Data protection and network security are real risk issues for all businesses.

Is your business CyberSAFE?

While the majority of businesses in Aura Information Security’s study stated their organisation had policies and training in place relating to cyber security, fewer than half felt very confident that measures would prevent a cyber breach.

EFTPOS terminals and connected devices that access data are vulnerable too. Everyone with a website, computer, email and an EFTPOS terminal is a target. Hackers are out for quick, substantial cash, and while some may take advantage of vulnerabilities in software systems, others rely on a lapse from owners or employees.

As a small business in faraway New Zealand, it’s easy to feel you’ll escape a cyber attack, but the reality is that hackers don’t discriminate.

What’s the impact on my business?

Being locked out of your server or computer and unable to access your files, or your website being down for a couple of days are certainly disruptive to business and carry a financial cost. You may lose revenue from being unable to sell goods or conduct your business and you may have to bear the usually significant costs associated with cleaning and getting the network up and running again. However, it’s the long-term impact of a cyber breach that can have serious implications.

Consider the damage to your reputation arising out of a breach of confidentiality, the loss of trust and possible liability charges from suppliers and customers who have had financial information stolen or accidentally disclosed. What about credit card Industry fines should criminals target point of sale devices to covertly collect credit cards details?

Dealing with the aftermath of a cyber breach takes time and money: do you or your business have enough of either to rebuild customer confidence and network security systems?

How to clean up the aftermath

Do you have a plan of how you would respond to a serious cyber event? A key part of any risk management strategy should be to consider cyber insurance. Cyber insurance gives you access to experts to identify, treat and repair the problem. While an insurance policy cannot prevent a breach of your network security, it can assist should you suffer one. 

CyberSAFE comes with forensic experts and IT consultants to investigate the breach to your network and help restore access to your data as well as lawyers to manage your legal exposure and PR people to manage your reputation. Revenue lost as a result of a cyber event can be recovered under the Business Interruption section of the policy, and if you face litigation, a cyber policy can also fund defence costs.

Our insurance experts can work with you to create a tailored, cost-effective cyber insurance package: we can safeguard any size NZ business. CyberSAFE is there to help your business recover from a cyber event, even covering issues from third party cyber service providers such as payroll processors, data back-up and cloud-based facilities.

Crombie Lockwood is an official partner of ConnectSmart a government initiative that advises SMEs about risks online and how to manage them.