Be aware of risks cyber attacks could have on your business, urges insurance expert by Darren Slade

07/04/2015 12:59

Stewart King, chief operations officer at Alan & Thomas

BUSINESSES need to become more aware of cyber security, according to an insurance specialist.

Poole-based Alan & Thomas says any business, large or small, that uses computers is at risk of a cyber attack.

Stewart King, chief operations officer, said: “As businesses become more reliant on technology, the risks of suffering a loss either related to computer problems or holding sensitive customer date continue to grow.

“These can be a major blow to any business and can lead to a loss of revenue, damage to reputation, legal and regulatory costs not to mention the associated interruption to everyday business operations.”

Any business that holds customer data, has a website, is reliant on computer systems to conduct business or takes electronic forms of payment, is at risk of a cyber attack, the company said.

Sixty per cent of small companies in the UK have reported a cyber security breach in the last year and a recent report announced a set of joint initiatives between government and the insurance sector.

Mr King said: “The joint report aims to help firms get to grips with cyber risk and establish cyber liability cover as part of a firm’s commercial insurance programme.”

Cyber threats are estimated to cost the UK economy billions of pounds each year with the cost of cyber attacks nearly doubling between 2013 -2014. The new report found that while larger firms have taken some action to make themselves more secure, they face an escalating threat as they become more reliant on online distribution channels and as attackers grow more sophisticated.

Mr Thomas said: “We are recommending that businesses – large and small – stop viewing cyber matters largely as an IT issue and focus on it as a key commercial risk affecting all parts of their operations. Companies need to examine the different forms of cyber attacks they could face, stress-test themselves against them and put in place business-wide recovery plans.”

He said cyber liability insurance cover would protect businesses against losses as a result of cyber attacks, including legal fees and court costs arising from regulatory investigations and claims over data protection breaches.