Why cybersecurity is essential for SMBs
Cyberattacks are on the rise, with major data breaches making the news here in New Zealand and worldwide. But well-covered incidents involving corporations, medical facilities, and government agencies are only part of the story. Small businesses are also facing increasing cybersecurity risks. “Small businesses are often more vulnerable to a cyberattack than they realise,” says […]
Cyberattacks are on the rise, with major data breaches making the news here in New Zealand and worldwide.
But well-covered incidents involving corporations, medical facilities, and government agencies are only part of the story. Small businesses are also facing increasing cybersecurity risks.
“Small businesses are often more vulnerable to a cyberattack than they realise,” says Sean Craigen, Head of Distribution for SME insurance platform BizCover.
“You often hear, ‘I’m too small for hackers to care about,’ but that’s unfortunately not true. Businesses of all sizes are targeted by billing scams, viruses and other malicious events that can seriously impact their operations—and possibly even put them out of business.”
Cyberattacks in NZ are on the rise
Data from the national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ) reveals an upward trend in reported cyber security incidents.
The number of reports made to the organisation has increased every year since tracking began in 2017. In the first three quarters of 2022, over 6,400 incidents were reported to CERT NZ, putting last year on track to match or exceed the 8,831 total reports made in 2021.
Financial loss is the most tangible consequence of a cyberattack for many SMEs. Cybersecurity incidents cost New Zealanders close to $9 million in Q3 2022.
However, stolen money is just part of the picture. Small businesses may also lose business or customer data that could impact their operations. Data breaches or loss can also create long-term reputational damage that is often difficult to repair.
What can small businesses do?
Awareness of cybersecurity measures has grown post-COVID 19. As small businesses relied more on online sales to help them weather ongoing lockdowns, many also ramped up efforts to protect their operations.
However, many SMEs still feel unprepared. A recent survey of small business owners found that just 31% felt they had a good understanding of cybersecurity.
So, what can small businesses do to better protect themselves against a cyberattack? A good cybersecurity strategy often starts with simple measures, such as:
- Educating your employees – Being able to spot a scam, phishing email, and other common cyber threats could help small businesses avoid many incidents.
- Encouraging better practices – Require your employees to use strong passwords or multifactor authentication (MFA) to access business systems. Encourage them to use a password manager and never share their login credentials with colleagues.
- Installing software updates and patches – Installing updates as soon as they become available helps close security gaps before hackers have a chance to exploit them.
- Providing employees with work devices – Allowing staff to access business systems from their personal computers, mobile phones or tablets opens your business up to more risk, as you have less control over how secure these devices are.
- Regularly updating devices – Internet-connected devices should be replaced if the manufacturer has stopped supporting the software.
Beyond these and other basic cybersecurity measures, SMEs may decide to hire an IT expert to provide them with more advanced security methods and advice.
Creating a safety net with Cyber Liability insurance
Even with a top-notch security plan and outside assistance, a small business might still experience a cyberattack. Fortunately, Cyber Liability insurance is available to help SMEs recover if this happens.
“A Cyber Liability policy gives many small business owners important peace of mind,” says Craigen. “It can help create an important safety net that allows them to get back to work as fast as possible.”
Cyber Liability insurance typically provides cover for the most common cyber incidents, including phishing and credential harvesting, unauthorised access, and malware. Many policies also provide cover for ransomware attacks, which are becoming more popular with cybercriminals.
Craigen continues, “Recovering lost data, dealing with business interruptions, and investigating breaches are often expensive. Cyber Liability insurance helps cover these, and other costs related to a cyberattack. Small business owners can focus on getting their business back up and running instead of moving money around to pay for these unexpected expenses.”
Protecting your small business
Making cybersecurity a priority in 2023 may be the wisest resolution that small business owners can make this year. A strong cybersecurity plan that’s backed up by a Cyber Liability policy could protect your small business from the fallout of breaches, attacks and other cyber incidents.
Why not start by comparing Cyber Liability policies with BizCover? Their simple-to-use, online platform makes it easy to find and buy small business insurance from selected leading New Zealand insurers.
Jump online or give us a call today to receive multiple quotes and get instant cover in minutes.
*This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
© 2022 BizCover Pty Limited, BizCover Limited is owned by BizCover Pty Ltd (ABN 68 127 707 975)