Most small businesses rely on digital communication and storage and hold potentially valuable data on their systems that is increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals. The first line of defence against system breaches is to have adequate safeguards within your IT systems, and make sure you adhere to regulations on storing data as laid down in GDPR.

Next, you need to contact an experienced insurance company like Hiscox to arrange cover that protects you against cyber breaches such as IT insurance and cyber and data risks insurance.

Digital crime rates are rising, while physical theft is declining. While that trend represents less risk of personal injury to the victims, businesses and individuals stand to lose significant sums of money which could force some entrepreneurs to wind up their businesses.

hacker breach

As many as one in three small businesses in the UK have been affected by cyber-crime, so the risk is very real and one you need to take seriously. Unfortunately, just as security systems that protect your business improve, so the criminals develop new ways of accessing your data. This means that as well as being prepared and having robust insurance in place, you have to face the prospect that a breach is a definite possibility. If you do suffer a breach, here’s what you should do:

● Contact your insurance provider to report the incident. They can help you get your  systems working, make sure they’re secured, and therefore keep your business operational.

● Contact anyone involved with your IT systems; for example, many small businesses  outsource their IT support to a specialist service. Anyone who has access to your systems needs to be notified of the breach. In many cases your IT support may be able to assist with restoring your systems.

● Check whether the breach is one that has to be reported to the Information
Commissioner’s Office or other supervisory authority under GDPR legislation. If the breach does need reporting, you must do so within 72 hours of discovering it.

● GDPR regulations also state that: “If the breach is likely to result in a high risk of adversely affecting individuals’ rights and freedoms, you must also inform those individuals without undue delay.” That means that any customers whose personal details may have been compromised, leaving them vulnerable to cyber criminals themselves, must be told of the situation, so they can protect themselves.

Cyber breaches can be expensive not just in terms of losing cash from the business, but because they disrupt the normal functioning of the operation, taking valuable time and resources to sort out. There’s also the problem of reputational harm, as a business that’s been targeted by cyber criminals stands to lose customers and trade if it’s seen to be vulnerable.

You may well have to compensate customers who’ve been affected by the security breach and theft of their data, adding even more expense to an already considerable bill. If you have cyber insurance that can take care of many of these costly and time-consuming after-effects for you, it will leave you free to get your business back on its feet.