As a making-it-happen, planning-ahead sort of person, no doubt you’ve already arranged back-up for when problems crop up. You’ve listened to your professional instincts, and covered your back with professional indemnity insurance. Right?
Maybe you’ve even shielded your business with a couple of other types of cover – depending on what kind of virtual assisting you do. Public liability, perhaps? Office and portable equipment insurance?
But what about cybercrime? Have you planned for how you’d recover from the potentially crippling effects of a cyber-attack? Have you got rapid access to the kind of resources you’ll need to get your business back up and running again quickly?
If not, you could be in real trouble. Especially if you stop to think just how reliant on technology you are to do your job well.
And it’s not just the IT we’re talking about here. Fixing or replacing kit is often the most straightforward part of recovering from an attack. It’s the lost revenue, data breaches and the disappointed (maybe disappearing?) clients that can really hurt.
All the evidence says cybercrime is steeply on the rise. Research by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport showed nearly half of the UK’s 5.5 million businesses suffered an attack or a breach of their systems last year. And the hackers weren’t fussy about what size of business they went for, either.
That means anyone is fair game, and a sole operator or an SME is just as likely to be a target as big business. The rewards might be greater for hackers if they can hold a large corporation to ransom, or steal their data – but they’re equally happy to amass their ill-gotten gains bit-by-small-bit instead.
So, what happens when an attack hits?
Your hardware and systems are usually the first thing to sort out. If they’ve been infected with malware, and your files are in lockdown, that takes expertise. So, you’ll need an IT contractor who can drop everything to fix the mess. That’s not always possible and you may have to wait a few days, maybe more.
What if your data is encrypted by ransomware and you’re facing a ransom demand? Do you negotiate with the hackers? Do you pay up? And what’s the guarantee that they’ll really unlock all your files, even if you do send them the money?
Time is money
Mending infected systems and networks is a complex business and takes both time and money. Sometimes everything can be restored to normal, sometimes it can’t. And it also depends on you having scrupulously backed up your data, so it can be reinstalled along with software.
There’s also the possibility that you’ve had data stolen by the hackers. If that includes personal information, like that client customer database you happened to be working on, it can land you in very hot water. It can be used for identity theft, for a start.
The Information Commissioner’s Office likes to know about this kind of data breach and can order an investigation, and even impose fines. Plus, there’s the prospect of the people who’ve had their private data stolen bringing legal cases against you for damages.
But what’s happening to your business while all that mending, restoring (and in your case, panicking) is going on? If you’re not working, you’re not doing all the things your clients rely on you for. And if your business is at a standstill so, in many ways, is theirs…which might just prompt them to go elsewhere.
Cyber insurance offers a big helping hand if you’re hit by a cyber-attack. It provides forensic IT expertise to examine and mend your systems, as well as stand-in kit so you can keep working in the meantime. If there’s a ransom involved, it provides an experienced negotiator to deal with the situation and covers the amount.
But remember, cyber-attacks aren’t just about your IT infrastructure. That’s only part of the story. They’re also about the damage done to your business, the revenue you lose while you can’t operate as normal, and the dent to your reputation. Oh, and the potentially serious repercussions of a data breach.
Luckily, cyber insurance helps to keep your bottom line healthy by covering any drop in your revenue, caused by you not being able to work as you usually would. It also pays for PR to help restore your good name.
If there’s been a data breach, cyber insurance covers the costs of informing everyone affected and also pays for credit monitoring. If the breach results in claims against you for compensation, the insurance stumps up for legal expertise and costs, and picks up the tab for any damages.
What cyber insurance does is to offer a port in the midst of a cyberstorm. If you don’t have your own safe berth to rely on, it might be time to consider your options.
For a no-nonsense quote click here. Or phone 0345 222 5370 to speak to a friendly expert.