Cybersecurity causes business owners to lose sleep, but it doesn’t have to be that way

Cybersecurity is at the top of the chief concerns that give business owners anxiety, but it’s also the top risk faced by North American insurers, recent surveys show.

Cybersecurity trailed only medical cost inflation in the categories that corporate executives say they are least prepared to handle, according to the 2015 Travelers Business Risk index. Almost half of the business executives indicated the business environment is becoming riskier, the index shows.

In the insurance realm, cybersecurity has shot up the list in the past two years. A survey by London-based Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation noted that cybersecurity wasn’t even on its list of “Insurance Banana Skins” in 2013. Now it’s number one.

And the chief concern, according to the survey? It’s not data breaches — they think they’re inevitable — but it’s how much damage cyber thieves will cause.

Drilling down into the statistics reveals that cybersecurity is viewed as a risk by 70 percent of large businesses, 60 percent of mid-size businesses and 45 percent of small businesses, according to the Travelers Business Risk index. Another 29 percent of company executives cite cybersecurity risks as problems they are least prepared to handle, according to the index, with a whopping one in five large businesses believing they’ve been the victim of a cyberattack.

Preparing for the inevitable

Businesses have too much at stake not to get serious about cybersecurity. While we at Sera-Brynn can’t do much about medical cost inflation, we can allay concerns of business owners about cybersecurity.

In today’s environment, businesses are worrying far more about malicious cyberattacks from viruses or hackers rather than system crashes, networking problems or employees with careless computing practices.

So what to do if you’re a business owner or company executive? Take the initiative. Heed the advice of Sun Tzu, who wrote in “The Art of War” that the “supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

It’s a great piece of advice to subdue the enemy without fighting. In cybersecurity, subduing the enemy — the cyber thieves — entails a holistic, preventative approach designed to thwart cyberattacks and stymie cyber thieves. It starts with a cyber risk assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of your company’s security measures. It continues by doing little things each day to remain secure – system patches, training your employees and adhering to basic security principles, like not using open wi-fi for anything important.

The proper responses

Gaps in the system will be exposed and we can provide the options to close them. Other vulnerabilities and risks can be identified, with solutions to those problems as well.

Whether or not your company meets industry or government compliance standards is another area of expertise at Sera-Brynn. Cost-effective solutions are also provided.

Incident response plans in the event of cyber attacks and data breaches are another element of our approach. This includes contacting an insurance carrier, lawyers, a crisis management team, financial representatives and even law enforcement.

It’s also presented in a way that’s understandable to company owners and executives who may not be computer or tech savvy.

It’s really pretty simple. You might be feeling some anxiety over cybersecurity. But it doesn’t have to be that way.