4 ways to help customers improve Cyber security now
By Rhea Turchinetz, CIP, Assistant Vice President, Information Technology
It’s hard to glance at the news today without seeing reports of another cyber breach. While Canadian companies have been spared the high-profile breaches—think Sony, Home Depot and Target—that’s not always the case.
Cyber breaches are up 30 percent in Canada, and a recent security study by Cisco showed small and medium-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable. Another cybersecurity study found more than one-third of Canada’s IT professionals know they have had a significant data breach over the previous year, but the actual number of breaches could be higher.
Where are Canadian businesses vulnerable? Among weak points, three are increasingly evident:
- Mobile technology: If company employees have smart phones with access to company information, they pose risks for a breach.
- Cloud computing: Many companies find sending their data to the cloud is a more flexible and cost-efficient method of storage. However, they are relinquishing control over their own data, and hackers can penetrate cloud-based storage more easily than network storage.
- Social Media: Hackers are increasingly gaining access to personal information through social networks. Every workplace needs a policy in place for use of social media on company devices and where company information may be made vulnerable.
Insurance agents and brokers can play an important role in helping companies of all sizes recognize the need for better privacy policies, cyber security measures and protection in the event of a breach. Talk to your customers about these key issues:
- Consider that breaches are not always the result of a targeted cyber attack. Cyber crime can be the result of a stolen laptop, paper files left unattended or an email sent to the wrong person.
- Don’t leave it up to the IT professionals only. While they play an important technical role in evaluating a company’s risk, they don’t necessarily know what information is considered the most sensitive within a company. They need management involvement and possibly outside expertise.
- Cyber liability coverage is a must for almost all businesses today. Cyber breaches can have a massive financial impact. Costs include notifying affected customers, retaining a public relations firm to protect the company’s reputation and, perhaps most expensive, using computer forensics to unravel how a company was hacked and by whom. Cyber liability insurance should cover all of these expenses, plus legal defense, government fines and remediation, cyber extortion and multimedia liability, and business interruption.
Data breaches are happening with alarming regularity in Canada. It’s time more businesses protected themselves.