The Ashley Maddison scandal rocked the media in 2015. Reaching the highest levels of power and wealth, it proved irrevocably the full potential of cyber hackers. However, whilst it may have been the loudest hacking news story, it is unfortunately a tale as old as the internet. Increasingly, businesses are affected by a lack of protection and this is by no means isolated to companies with wide pools of data. According to the latest Government Security Breaches poll, nearly three quarters of small organisations reported a security beach in 2015. This represents a significant increase compared to statistics from previous years and one which demonstrates the advancing capabilities of cyber hackers.
This increase in cyber hacking has compelled the legal system to find innovative ways to deal with the problem. Interestingly, recent EU directives have cemented the responsibility of protecting clients’ data as lying firmly on the shoulders’ of the organisations themselves. Notably, any company who is the subject of a security hack will soon have to notify all of their customers. This is an extremely expensive task, with estimates placing each notification at £10, and is the reason why Talk Talk’s recent hack cost their company millions.
There seems little doubt that as we move into 2016, that companies must work to protect themselves as more creative hackers find innovative solutions to break barriers and compromise data. Having dealt with countless covers and unfortunately numerous incidents, Churchill Insurance Consultants has compiled some handy hints for how to best protect your business.
Passwords are unsurprisingly an exceptionally important component of cyber security. However, in our experience they provide extremely limited protection if they resemble a number sequence (1, 2, 3) or your name. Passwords should resemble a carefully constructed cocktail of letters, numbers and cases. For the forgetful type we would recommend using an online portal such as Dashlane that can act as an extension of your memory. As an additional security measure, we would also recommend changing all Passwords every 90 days. Lastly, pay special attention to Wi-Fi, which is often the weakest link in security and that is easily pounced upon by hackers.
The first line of defence, firewalls act in harmony with your computer systems to scan and monitor any external software. An extremely important component of any business, installing firewalls can protect your company from viruses and corrupted files.
Rather than holding your data on a local laptop or portable device, which is often relatively easy to hack, secure back-ups will store your data on secure servers that are regularly and thoroughly checked for any potential breaches. It will use far more advanced technology to scour your files and ensure your data is fully protected. Where data does need to be held locally, it should be encrypted.
The world can be split into two types of people: technophobes and technophiles. The difference is stark and it is important that all organisations take responsibility for their employees and help fill any knowledge gaps specifically in relation to computer security. Any new employee should receive training in computer security and regular reminders to remain vigilant of any suspicious emails.
Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions sometimes the worst does happen and hackers manage to infiltrate your defences. According to one security survey the average cost of security breaches is between £600,000 and £1.15 m, and for smaller firms between £65,000 and £115,000. Churchill Insurance Consultants works to create bespoke packages that cater to your business requirements and can include:
If you would like to speak with any of our friendly advisors please call us on 0208 511 1070 or send us an email on Insurance@churchillins.co.uk.