London, UK (22 October 2012): In support of ‘Get Safe Online’ Week, Hiscox, the specialist SME insurer, has issued tips for small business owners to help protect themselves from cyber risk.
A recent Hiscox survey* found that when it comes to computer related risks to their business, SME owners felt that being attacked by a computer virus was their biggest threat (41%), theft or accidental loss of a computer or storage device was second (32%) and cybercrime was third (27%).
“Small businesses can be susceptible to cyber risk because their systems are easier to get into and as they’re so busy running their businesses on a day-to-day basis, they tend not to notice a hack or unusual activity for some time,” said Alan Thomas, SME insurance expert at Hiscox. “We encourage SME’s to evaluate the risks they face online as, with a few simple security precautions in place, they can prevent an attack on their business, and ultimately their livelihood.”
Hiscox offers the following security tips to help SMEs protect themselves against online risks:
- If you don’t have online technical expertise, seeking professional advice on security measures can save you time and hassle in the long run. These professionals can also advise you on secure options for working remotely to prevent ‘eavesdropping’ and how to work through secure sites
- Look for a padlock on a web page to indicate the site is secure or ‘https’ in the address: the ‘s’ stands for secure
- Using the internet and email to conduct business means that data loss becomes a bigger risk. Prevent unwanted connections to your network by keeping yours secure and your firewall up to date
- Develop a clear email policy and raise online security awareness with employees and follow up on suspicious emails even if they seem to be a one off
- Encrypt important information for extra security so that only authorised users will be able to access it. Share access to documents on a ‘need to know’ basis
- Make it protocol across the business for employees to use numbers and letters in passwords that provide much more robust protection from online criminals. For example, using the memorable phrase “My son Peter is 7 years old”, your password is “mspi7yo”
- Back up your files and check your insurance covers online risks so that you can get your business up and running again quickly in the event of an incident
- Items like laptops and computer monitors are common targets for thieves and the real cost of a stolen IT asset isn’t just the hardware; it’s the lost data and the lost productivity. Lock servers in a room and move laptops into a secure drawer at the end of the working day
- Keep up to date on what you have to do to keep your client’s data safe. For more information, read how to handle sensitive personal data here.
For more information on protecting your business against cyber risk, visit: Hiscox E-risks insurance
Tel: 0207 074 1836
Notes to editors
* The findings come from Hiscox’s fourth DNA of an entrepreneur study which researched 3,000 owners or partners in small and medium-sized businesses in six countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain. The full report is available here.
Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, is headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). There are three main underwriting parts of the Group - Hiscox London Market, Hiscox UK and Europe and Hiscox International. Hiscox London Market underwrites internationally traded business in the London Market - generally large or complex business which needs to be shared with other insurers or needs the international licences of Lloyd's. Hiscox UK and Hiscox Europe offer a range of specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as high net worth individuals. Hiscox International includes operations in Bermuda, Guernsey and USA. Hiscox Insurance Company Limited, Hiscox Underwriting Limited, Hiscox Europe Underwriting Limited.
For further information, visit www.hiscoxgroup.com