According to the federal government, Canadians own more devices per capita than any other country, with 129 computers, tablets and cell phones for every 100 people. We also use the Internet the most, logging more than 40 hours per month online on average. All of this is great for creativity and productivity, however so much time spent on the Internet makes all businesses vulnerable to hackers.
Since about 70% of all Canadian business owners have already been victims of a cyber attack (with the average cost per incident tallying up to $15,000), cyber security should be top of mind at all times. Business cyber insurance is currently quite affordable, but as this Canadian Underwriter Insurance article suggests, all it will take is a major attack successfully targeting several businesses at once to make cyber insurance expensive for everyone. That’s why it’s incumbent upon us all to be as cyber-savvy as possible so we can stop hackers in their tracks … before they even get started.
Why You Need Cyber Insurance
Remember, you are not only responsible for keeping your business’s information safe. You are also responsible for keeping your customers’ information safe as well. If your client information is accessed – and therefore compromised – by a cyber attack, you could be sued. Cyber insurance can help you cover legal fees.
And anyone who has ever had to pay to have data restored from a hard drive knows that it is not cheap. And nothing is ever repaired to the same level as it was before. Cyber insurance can help cover the costs of getting your business operational again.
The lost earnings from your businesses being down will be covered by business interruption insurance, which is specifically designed for these sorts of incidences. Business interruption insurance provides coverage income lost because of a business having to shut down for numerous reasons, such as power outages and blackouts, equipment failures, fire, and the illness, injury or death of a key business player.
Five Ways to Avoid Being Hacked
By and large, the best way to avoid being hacked is through awareness-building and training. Although anti-virus software, firewalls and secure networks are a great foundation, the best way to beat hackers is through consistent education and diligence on the part of everyone involved in your business.
- Keep all of your computers and software up to date. If there is a notification (from a trusted course) to upgrade to a new operating system or version of software, make sure you do it as soon as possible. Computer companies are constantly sending out patches to backfill areas of vulnerability in their products, and it’s up to you to keep up.
- Ensure everyone locks their screens when leaving their desks, and then logs out and shut off their computers at night. You may trust your fellow employees not to attempt to access your information when you head to get coffee, but even if they don’t touch your computer, you never know what they might see on your monitor. And then share with someone who is less well-intentioned. And shutting computers down at night is a simple way to keep your network more secure, as well as save on your energy bills.
- Make passwords long, strong and unique. And change them often. Passwords should be at least eight characters long and be a random mix of letters, numbers and symbols. They should not be names or recognizable words. Remind your employees to change their passwords at least every three months. They should also never use the same password and user name combination they do at work anywhere else. Two-step verification is highly recommended, and can help you double up on security.
- Employees shouldn’t ever access an unsecured network from their work computer or device.
- Encrypt all important documents, and clear out emails regularly. Password-protecting documents makes it very difficult for those who shouldn’t to gain access to them. And by clearing out your emails you are leaving less of a trail for hackers to follow, plus providing them with less ammunition to leverage against you.
Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing is perhaps the most prevalent type of cyber attack these days, and phishers are getting better and better at what they do. Since it’s not so hard for people to find out your email address (or even guess it), generally these types of attacks start with an email message in your mailbox. These can seem just like any other message, except when you click on a link or open an attachment, dangerous malware is downloaded onto your computer. A couple of different things can happen then. Through the malware the hackers can take over your email account and begin sending out phishing messages to your unsuspecting clients. Or they can take control of your computer and lock down all of your accounts, forcing you to pay a large ransom to get your information back. Or they can simply destroy your computer through a vicious virus.
Phishers often pose as legitimate businesses or agencies, and attempt to communicate with unsuspecting users through email, social media, and instant messaging applications.
Here’s how to avoid phishing scams:
- Never reply to an email, online message, or phone call asking you to provide personal information
- If you’re in doubt, contact the business or agency purported to be behind the message you received and ask if the request is legitimate
- Do not open emails or messages from unknown users
- Never click on links within the body of any message you are not expecting
Remember: no legitimate company will ever ask you to provide sensitive information online. You should always look doubtfully upon such requests.
Cyber Insurance Calgary: Coverage for the Modern World
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage, providing complete business insurance solutions for owners of companies both large and small. Lane’s works with the province’s most trusted carriers to protect you from today’s advanced digital threats, and much more.
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