- Be on guard against viruses and malware
- Your business’s reputation can take a big hit if work is suspended due to IT problems
- Get on social media
For many new businesses, a secure, working internet connection is critical for running your business day to day. An attack from a virus or malware can cripple a computer system and, if your business is reliant on just one laptop, server, or internet connection, for example, the company could be crippled, too.
“Almost everyone is susceptible to a virus or malware,” says Alan Thomas, Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms for Hiscox UK and Ireland. “You have to prevent yourself becoming a victim by staying alert. One recent phishing scam on Twitter, for example, has affected a number of UK users. A tweet appears that takes you to a dummy login page where you are asked to re-enter your login details. This allows the scammers to record your password and subsequently hack into your account and spread the virus to other people in your name.”
If a scam or virus of this nature affects you, the time it takes to remove the problem from the system could mean a period where no work is getting done. On top of that, there is the company’s reputation to think about.
“With small businesses, it’s common for reputation to be everything,” Alan says. “Word of mouth spreads quickly and, if it’s known that you’ve been crippled by a phishing virus, it’ll be embarrassing – especially if your business is related to technology or media.”
These attacks can lead to the hacker being able to access your company’s data –including confidential details that your clients trust you to keep safe. For example, a hacker could collect clients’ email addresses from your computer and then send them unwanted spam or virus-carrying messages. This risk is even greater if you are holding other people’s sensitive data.
“You also need security processes in place for any employees you take on,” Alan says. “Businesses should set up tightly worded email-usage policies, making data security absolutely clear and spelling out the consequences for the employee if the terms of the contract are broken.”
Smaller businesses will typically hold less data and have fewer employees to leak it, making them less obvious targets for hackers, but they are softer targets. “Small companies need to beware of getting caught up in a wider scam,” Alan says.
Hiscox’s cyber and data risks insurance can support and protect businesses if they experience a data breach or are the subject of an attack by a malicious hacker that affects their computer systems. It provides comprehensive cover, simplicity, reputation protection and a trusted partner in the event of a claim.
“There’s a lot more at stake when it comes to protecting your business computer, rather than your personal one,” Alan says. “If the worst happens and something cripples your business, it’s important to have the right protection in place.”
Find out more about Hiscox cyber and data risks insurance