By April Ahrendsen, VP Regional Account Executive, Mutual of Omaha Bank
Stories of cybercrime continue to make front-page news, and companies of all sizes are consistently impacted by cyber theft and data security breaches. According to the Breach Level Index, over 5 million data records are lost or stolen every day.
Each theft causes headaches for consumers and businesses alike, as well as reputational damage for businesses, and often times, financial loss. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021.
While not immune to the impacts and consequences of a data breach, multi-billion dollar organizations employ legal, security, and technical experts while utilizing vast resources to limit potential liability. Small businesses must also prepare for potential attacks from a growing number of cyber predators. The impact of cybercrime on small businesses can be devastating. Trustwave® reported that 71% of attacks target small businesses. Within 18 months of a breach, 80% of small businesses go out of business.
It is impossible to be 100% secure from cyberattacks, but businesses can take steps to minimize their risk. Education is a great first step in protecting your business.
It is important that business owners educate their employees on the dangers and potentially serious consequences of cybercrime. The knowledge that such theft can cripple a business, thereby affecting an employee’s own livelihood, is an added incentive to remain vigilant. Involving the financial institutions of the business can also be beneficial. Many banks are willing to provide in-house education seminars to companies as a way of keeping all levels of the organization well informed. There are several online resources available to educate small companies on protecting their business from cyberattacks. The following are a few examples of resources available for small businesses.
In addition to education, business owners have the option of investing in cyber liability insurance as a way to proactively protect their business from potential cyberattacks. Cyber liability insurance often covers the cost of business interruption, client notification, and even hiring a public relations firm to repair damage to a company’s reputation as a result of the attack. Reputations are critical in the community association industry. The cost of cyber liability insurance is often far less than the potential monetary loss due to a tarnished image.
Cybercrime does not discriminate. All industries are effected, and no business is too big or too small to be targeted. Advanced preparation and education are the two crucial tools to combat the growing problem.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Mutual of Omaha Bank. For any matters concerning your specific needs and objective, you should seek the professional advice of your own independent legal counsel, insurance advisors or other consultants.