• James Insurance Broker

Protecting your Business Against Cyber Liability

Updated: Sep 10



I'm sure we've all been there before...your computer starts to run slowly, programs take forever to load, and something just doesn't seem quite right with your computer. You run a quick virus scan, and it finds a virus on your computer. After it cleans the virus, you restart your computer and resume life as normal. What we typically don't think about is what damage has the virus already done? What information has it stolen?

If it happened on your personal computer, you could take the steps of calling your bank and credit card companies to let them know, and they will issue new cards for you. You can check your credit report to ensure nothing has changed. However, if you run a business, viruses can severely damage your business and your reputation. What if the virus stole your client's information? How does that affect your business? Does your insurance cover these intrusions?

Every business, from large to small, is exposed to many possible breaches. A small convenience store may have their debit card machine compromised, and as a result, their client's banking information and PIN numbers are stolen. An online retailer may have their website compromised, leading to clients' names, addresses, and payment information was stolen. Even banks are susceptible to fraud, viruses, hacking, phishing, and many other cyber-crimes.

As a business, how do you protect against this? The first step is to ensure your firewalls are up to date, passwords are changed regularly, files are encrypted, and all computers are regularly scanned. If you are a larger company, you may consider hiring a security consulting firm to test your systems.

Even with the best firewalls, scans, and security, there may be times when criminals successfully attack your business. As a result of this ever-growing exposure, there are now many different insurance options. The coverage varies greatly depending on which policy you purchase, so you should make sure you know what is covered under your policy. Basic business insurance typically excludes cyber liability claims, but most companies now offer it as an optional coverage you can purchase.

Some commonly stolen personal information items to be aware of are:

- Email address

- Credit/debit account number

- Driver's license information

- Social Insurance Number

- Medical and healthcare information

- Other sensitive personal information

Some examples of attacks seen today are:

- A computer hacker steals hundreds of customer credit card records from an online retailer

- Rental applications with names, contact details, credit information are stolen from a property managers computer

- A family doctor's office is hacked, leading to private client information stolen.

- A manufacturer's system is taken over by a denial of service attack, locking the company out of their systems.

- A debit/credit card machine at a local business is compromised, leading to hundreds of customers credit card information stolen

- A dog walker's computer is stolen, and their client's names, emails, addresses, phone numbers are stolen

Even with the best firewalls, virus scans, and procedures to protect against these attacks, it is impossible to foresee every attack before it occurs. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated every day, especially as businesses become more reliant on computers to store and process information.

There are many options for cyber insurance, with a broad range of limits and coverage available. Basic cyber insurance coverage typically covers notifying affected clients, providing credit monitoring, and following the basic requirements under the law. Broader coverage is also available to include your liability if a client sues you, restores your systems, pays the attacker in a denial of service attack, and more.

Speak to your insurer to see what options are available to add to your policy. If you would like a quote or have any questions regarding cyber insurance, please do not hesitate to call us at 905-623-4406, and our experienced brokers would be happy to help you with your insurance needs.

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