Top tips on protecting your business from cyber risks

Cyber crime costs Australian businesses $4.5 billion every year, with the average data breach costing $2.16 million. And small businesses are at particular risk of sophisticated cyber attacks, as they often lack the robust security systems and back-up storage capabilities that larger enterprises have in place.

So, how can you protect your business from cyber risks?

Back-up regularly

Make sure you regularly back-up your data to protect against data loss. A good back-up strategy is essential as it will ensure you are able to retrieve and and restore original data should something go wrong.

Install security updates on your software

There’s a reason your software is constantly being updated – to patch any security vulnerabilities. Yes, it may be frustrating to you as a user to need to update so frequently, but it is crucial to do so in order to protect your business from any potential security risks.

Be smart when it comes to passwords

Don’t use the same password for everything and make sure your passwords are strong using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Use two-step authentication when available as an additional security measure. Ensure only approved people have access to these passwords, especially for any administrator accounts or sensitive information. Password manager platforms such as 1password are ideal for securing password information and generating strong, unique passwords.

Develop a data protection policy

A data protection policy will ensure you have a strategy in place for how you collect and hold data, especially personal customer data. It will also ensure you have processes in place to comply with any data protection regulation, for example the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Train staff in cybersecurity measures

Cyber security should be something that your whole team is responsible for. Make sure that you discuss safe cyber practice regularly with your team. This should include only browsing safe websites, only allowing applications you trust on your computer, how to recognise phishing and other scams, how to comply with your data protection policy, and how to report an attack.

Get cyber liability insurance

Cyber liability insurance will protect you from damaging data breaches and hacking, and help you restore your normal business operations. Typically it will cover your business against the expense and legal costs associated with data breaches, which may occur after being hacked, from theft or from loss of client information, including:

  • business interruption costs
  • extortion costs
  • data recovery and investigation costs
  • penalties and fines
  • PR and crisis management costs.

So, how does it work? Here’s a case study of the insurance in action. A retail clothing chain customer was hit with a ransomware virus that rendered their server encrypted and inoperable. The hacker group demanded the equivalent of $80,000 in Bitcoin to release the decryption code.

In this case, the firm decided that they had to pay the ransom, because it turned out that they did not have a viable back-up of their data. Fortunately, the firm had found a suitable insurer with the help of Live insure and had cyber liability insurance. They were able to work with their insurer to pay the ransom. Once the ransom was paid, the hacker provided the decryption code and the system was restored.

When it comes to protecting against cyber security risks, prevention is better than cure. Is your business adequately protected against cyber risks?

Reuven Barukh, CEO, Live insure and Live group

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