Earlier this week it turns out that Facebook, Twitter and Apple have all been hacked, with claims that customer data has been taken from them. While this may, or may not be true, if such large and tech savvy companies such as these can fall victim to hackers, then surely every business can, large or small.
So what does this have to do with insurance?
Well for one thing, business policies offered by insurers are now changing, as a direct consequence of actions like these. It’s not just additional exclusions or warranties either, as more insurers are now offering extended cover which includes important extras such as cover for data loss.
So what are the ins and outs?
Many office policies already have “All Risks” extensions that apply to physical equipment, such as laptops and sat nav units, being used away from the office, but some insurers also now offer more. Accidental breakage, and computer breakdown are covers now being offered by many insurers, meaning a system’s physical components can be replaced quickly and at little cost should the need arise.
On top of this there are now insurers that will cover information as well. They will contribute towards such things as re-instatement of data when a computer is lost, or breaks down, sometimes including the costs of modifying or upgrading existing computer equipment to ensure continued compatiblity with the replacement gear.
Potential financial losses are also generally covered under business insurance policies. For example, most businesses have computerised accounts systems, and if a crucial part of that system loses data irretrievably, how will a business know where it’s money is supposed to be? How will it know who it owes money to, and who it’s waiting for payment from?? Business interruption is now a standard component of business insurance packages, and part of that component will cover lost accounts that affect a business’ finances such as this.
Lastly, any decent business insurance will also have a legal cover component. At the very basic end, there are policies that offer free legal advice, and further up market there are policies that cover legal expenses for a number of circumstances, providing indemnity and cover for defending or persuing legal actions of negligence, to data protection and identity theft. In short, there should be a package out there that meets all your needs.
This is all very handy if a hacker runs off with your data, but is there anything you can do to help prevent it in the first place?
Yes, by making a business a much harder target to crack together with certain precautions and best practice, the damage can be limited should the worst happen. In the case of insurers, they will expect a company to have taken at least some steps to protect themselves.
Firstly, it goes without saying, all computers in an office should have virus protection with scans scheduled to run frequently. There are many worthwhile free versions of anti-virus software, and the superior paid versions of these are no longer as expensive as they once were either. Also, all data should regularly be backed up. These two actions should be the bare minimum to protect your data, but there are some more simple and very effective things you can do to take protection further.
Install a keyscrambling program on each computer. Hackers often use spyware to capture passwords and banking details. A keyscrambler will protect against this.
Set up an automatic backup system. There are freeware programs that will backup files to a cloud server, and also you can set up a reminder to backup your files to disc as well for a physical copy, which shuold then be stored off site.
Make sure all computers are regularly updated. Software companies like Microsoft and Apple issue software “patches” to fix vulnerabilities in their operating systems when they become apparent. Computers these days can be set up to automatically download and install these in the background. In the case of Apple, this is exactly what they did after being hacked.
In conclusion, taking precautions and buying an adequate insurance policy generally go hand in hand. An insurer will state what they require as a minimum amount of security in their policy wording for their cover to apply, and they will often provide further effective advice too if necessary.
For business insurance and legal expenses policies, click here.