Cyber-attacks: Managing an ever-present risk

01 March 2023

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 when the world dramatically shifted many processes online, the already huge number of cyber incidents across the world increased exponentially. Compromised data which is accessed and stolen by criminals to make large sums of money is an ever-present threat.

Cyber attacks
In this article we will be sharing our tips on how you can help yourselves and your policyholders minimise the risk of cybercrime and better protect themselves.

The scale of cyber security threats

A shocking statistic is that research undertaken by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), found that 39% of UK businesses identified a cyber-attack, with the most common threat being phishing attempts, and over 20% were a more sophisticated attack type such as a denial of service, malware, or ransomware attack. One in five businesses (20%) and charities (19%) say they experienced a negative outcome as a direct consequence of a cyber-attack.

These figures clearly demonstrate what a huge issue cyber security is, and how seriously it should be taken. Cyber-attacks have real-life consequences, with loss of personal data, time, and money.

What can be done?

The first step is simply being aware that the threats are ever-present and ever increasing. We live in an age where even some of our fridges or washing machines are connected to the web. The more we rely on technology and the internet, the more our risk of a cyber-attack increases.
According to the NCSC Just over half of businesses (54%) have acted in the past 12 months to identify cyber security risks, leaving a huge 46% potentially unaware of the risk they are exposed to.
The sophistication of cyber-attacks is always increasing, making it harder to differentiate from a legitimate communication, and a malicious one, especially without proper training or processes in place.
Making your cyber-security a priority now will save you from so much potential stress, expense, and reputational damage in the future.
Taking the time to audit your cyber-related processes, and staff training to spot potential attempts to infiltrate will be worth its weight in gold… and then some. 

How might a breach affect you?

A cyber security breach could cause so many issues to your business, including, but not limited to: damaged hardware from a computer virus, countless lost hours spent handling the breach, a criminal investigation, and damages claims from third-parties who might have been affected by the event; all of which can really hurt your reputation. 

Manage your risk

Managing your cyber risk is of utmost importance and is key to ensure you are as protected as possible in your everyday activity.
Having robust anti-virus software, secure passwords, and making sure your people are well versed in spotting malicious communications are some of the most important basic measures you can take to minimise your risk.
If you are ever unsure, you should always seek specialist advice to understand the needs of your organisation and how best to protect it.

Ensure you have cover in place

Cyber insurance is one of the most important tools in your arsenal to combat the risk of an attack. Not only will it protect you if you’re a victim to an attack, but it can help get you back up and running with as minimal disruption as possible. 
Having cover in place means you’re protected in many ways. Not only for the costs involved with investigations, legal fees, contacting the affected parties, (support with PR costs should there be any coverage in the media), and making sure you get back on your feet as soon as possible with suitable IT systems. This is a good time to remind you that you should absolutely never pay a ransom without seeking specialist advice.
Cyber security is an incredibly complex subject, and one that is ever evolving; however, with the right attention, professional advice, and commitment to protecting yourself with adequate cover, you can significantly mitigate your risk.
Whether you’re a broker looking to protect your business, or you have clients in mind who are particularly exposed, every business can benefit from the right kind of cyber cover.