Safe Online

How Cyber Insurance Is Protecting Businesses Where They’re Most Vulnerable

When we think of “safety” at work, we usually imagine things like first aid kits, eye wash stations, proper sanitation and cleanliness, and other such measures. And when we think about “insurance” at work, we think of workman’s compensation, insured drivers, and general liability insurance.

But if you the internet to do anything from Zoom meetings, to booking client appointments, to completing sales, to emailing invoices, to keeping records of any kind – there is another kind of insurance that you should be keeping in your back pocket:

Cyber Insurance.

 According to Varonis, here are some of the more shocking statistics associated with data breaches and hacks.

        • The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million dollars.
        • A different company will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.
        • As of 2015, 25% of the world’s data needed security but was still unprotected.
        • 39% of costs from data breaches were incurred over a year AFTER the breach.
        • In the US, there were 1001 data breach cases in 2020 affecting some 158 million people, many of whom never knew their data had even been compromised.

What many of the largest breaches teach us, from an insurance perspective, is that data breaches, leaks, and hacks can be immensely costly, and can be perpetrated across a myriad of different industries and sectors. Basically, any person, company, organization, or entity that collects digital information is at high risk to be targeted for a data breach. And more often than not, hackers are targeting smaller organizations, than larger ones, because the breaches go unnoticed or undetected for long periods of time.

So what’s a business to do with so much risk, and so much information at stake?


According to the F.C.C., here are 10 quick tips for helping to secure your business’s data.

    1. Train employees in security principles
      Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and establish appropriate Internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data.
    2. Protect information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks
      Keep clean machines: having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Set antivirus software to run a scan after each update. Install other key software updates as soon as they are available.
    3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
      A firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure the operating system’s firewall is enabled or install free firewall software available online. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall.
    4. Create a mobile device action plan
      Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
    5. Make backup copies of important business data and information
      Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly and store the copies either offsite or in the cloud.
    6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee
      Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
    7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks
      If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router, so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.
    8. Employ best practices on payment cards
      Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
    9. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software
      Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs, and should not be able to install any software without permission.


    10. Passwords and authentication
      Require employees to use unique passwords and change passwords every three months. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.



While the F.C.C.’s list of tips is great for securing and proactively protecting your information, there also has to be a plan in place in case the unthinkable happens. In those cases, having cyber insurance can protect you against costly litigation resulting from things like:

          • Data breaches due to employ theft or negligence
          • Cyber business interruptions
          • Denial of service attacks
          • Data breach or loss following a hack
          • Other risks or complications

Obtaining cyber security is not difficult, and having the right knowledge about what’s covered and what isn’t will help you prepare the very best strategy when it comes to protecting your data.

At McDowell Associates, we help small businesses mitigate their risk and liability across a range of different situations and threats. We’ve made it our business to protect yours. Interested to learn more about how Cyber Insurance can help keep your business well prepared in the case of data breach or loss?

We’d love to hear from you.

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