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Cyber-Risk Tips for Small Businesses


The only businesses that don’t need cyber insurance are the ones that don’t use technology.

Imagine our business and personal lives without technology. The thought of being without our cellphones is just short of terrifying for most people. And operating a business of any size without the ability to process payments, manage projects, run payroll, streamline operations, or track sales is unheard of today.

While technology allows us to operate efficiently, it also leaves businesses susceptible to cyber-attacks, with data breaches being the cyber risk of most concern to businesses.  In addition to the financial losses you may incur, a data breach often results in reputational harm. These losses can be debilitating when you consider the cost of liability and legal expenses; incident response expenses including IT forensics and legal costs; business interruption losses; regulatory defense penalties; not to mention the cost of an extortion payment in return for remediating or ending an attack.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to mitigate your risks. Researchers from Stanford University and a top cybersecurity organization found that approximately 88 percent of all data breaches are caused by employee error. Although the number is alarming, you can build a strong defense and reduce the chances that someone from your company will make a costly mistake.

Cyber professionals recommend a two-prong approach, reducing opportunity for human error with strong internal controls, and by establishing a strong security culture with ongoing, mandatory compliance training programs.

Strong password management is imperative. According to industry experts, 123456 was the most commonly used password in 2023. You should require complex passwords in all your company programs and use password management applications that allow your employees to create and store strong passwords without needing to remember them or record them on sticky notes.

Continually foster awareness of cybersecurity by communicating best practices and educate your employees regularly. Invest in training programs relevant to your industry, preferably incorporating quizzes, games and other interactive learning. Remind your team that in addition to your strong cyber defense technology, attacks can make it all the way to them, and they need to be the last line of defense.

Even with the best-in-class internal controls and robust training programs, data breaches and other costly cyber incidents can impact your business. With all of us becoming increasingly reliant on digital communication and data storage, cyber insurance has become an important protection for businesses of all sizes. First Western Insurance is here with guidance on the type of protection your business needs in today’s digital world. Give us a call to discuss how we can protect your business at 479-424-2788.