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Data breaches at major corporations may capture the big headlines, but small and mid-sized businesses also face significant financial, operational, and reputational risks from cyberattacks.

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Unfortunately, many business owners believe a data breach won’t happen to them, either because they think they have adequate protection in place or because they feel the information isn’t worth stealing. In reality, hackers often see these businesses as prime targets. Without the proper safeguards in place, your business could suffer a data breach that exposes sensitive information, disrupts operations and opens the door to an expensive lawsuit.

Why Cyber Security Matters
The majority of data breaches happen to small and mid-sized businesses. Consider the following stats* from a study released in 2017:

•    All 50 states have data breach laws and notification requirements
•    53 percent of U.S. businesses have experienced a cyberattack in the past year.
•    68 percent of data breaches were attributed to an employee or contractor mistake.
•    38 percent of hacked businesses spent more than $50,000 to respond.

When a business suffers a data breach, the fallout can be tremendous. A single breach can trigger a variety of financial damages, including lawsuits, repairs, public relations, and expenses related to data breach notification. Here are some daily practices you can implement to help lower the risk of data breaches.  

  1. Use strong passwords and change them often. Teach your employees that the best password is a secure password. Require your employees to create strong passwords that include numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters.
  2. Install virus protection, firewalls and encryption software. Hackers can enter your computer network through outdated apps with known vulnerabilities. Make sure you install software updates and patches for applications and operating systems as soon as they are available.
  3. Limit access to sensitive information. Give access to sensitive data only to those team members who absolutely need it. Make sure this access is removed if their position or employment changes.
  4. Invest in cyber liability insurance. Make sure your business has a full suite of coverage to respond to the ever-changing cyber exposure.

The Internet, data, and all its accompanying risks are not going away any time soon. Do your business, your clients, and your bottom line a favor by preparing for the risks before they cause serious damage.

* Source: “Half of U.S. Businesses Have Been Hacked,” 2017; https://www.munichre.com/HSB/business-hacked-survey-2017/index.html

This article is for general information and risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce, but are not guaranteed to eliminate, any or all risk of loss. The information herein may be subject to, and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply. Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances. © 2018 Federated Mutual Insurance Company.