Predators pursue “favorite” prey. Cheetahs love gazelles. And eagles love trout. But Cybercriminals love small businesses. And we didn’t make up that last example. It happens to be true.
A Ponemon Institute report on small businesses found stolen IT assets and the expenses tied to this crime category badly hurt brands. And that damage amounted to $1.6 million on average. Then a joint study between Ponemon and Accenture uncovered even more. It found most businesses needed 50 days on average to resolve a malicious insider attack. And it also mentioned a 27.4% rise in the average annual number of security breaches in developed countries.
Cyber Insurance Policies
Small Business Trends emailed Zeguro co-founder and president Dan Smith. The company’s Cyber Safety 101 ebook looks at the dangers small businesses risk from cybercriminals. And it shows how a cyber risk insurance policy could help protect your brand’s financial assets in the event of an attack. San Francisco-based Zeguro prides itself on being a small business too. And the company says their clients can think of them as an automated and virtual cybersecurity officer. Zeguro’s mission is to empower every business to withstand the risks posed by cyber attacks.
Prior to founding Zeguro, Smith is a third generation entrepreneur who’s worked on many sides of the infosec space. Smith’s security engineering and architecture experience with government and corporate entities led to co-founding a number of companies in his native Australia. Upon moving to the United States, he applied that experience to roles at First Republic Bank and in tech companies.
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Small Business Trends: Why add an insurance policy into cybersecurity efforts? Do brands even know that’s something that can be done?
Dan Smith: A cyber attack doesn’t just take information, it can destroy it. For example, a ransomware attack encrypts all your information, including operating systems, thus turning your devices into really expensive paperweights. If you can’t access customer data, you can’t meet consumer needs. The longer it takes you to recover and recreate your databases, the more money you lose. Cyber insurance helps protect you against financial losses arising out of cyber attacks, and at Zeguro, we believe a single end-to-end solution is the best approach for SMBs.
How Spear Phishing Almost Ended Small Business
Small Business Trends: What sort of tips are included in the ebook? Have you found most small businesses take a “do-it-yourself” approach to cyber safety?
Dan Smith: The ebook, which is free, contains everything small and midsize enterprises need to know to protect their business, but were afraid to ask. It’s 20 pages and covers everything from basic encryption and multifactor authentication, to cryptomining, securing assets hosted in the cloud and ransomware. It was fun to write, and we tried to keep things as approachable as possible for all audience levels.
Honestly, most SMBs probably aren’t even thinking about cybersecurity. Or if they’ve started to explore it, it got shelved due to a more pressing need. It’s understandable, but not healthy to the long-term success of your business. A personal friend, whom both my co-founder and I knew, ran her own medical practice and experienced a breach. The technique was called “spear phishing” where the hacker then used data to file tax returns on behalf of all employees! They did not have cyber insurance, and so the firm was forced to pay legal and other expenses to get the employees back on their feet. It almost put them out of business.
How Can You Protect Your Business?
Small Business Trends: Can’t someone just go with a big insurance giant? What’s unique about choosing Zeguro over a larger insurance firm?
Dan Smith: With us you get a platform for identifying and mitigating cyber risk, a compliance tool, and tailored dynamic insurance. What I mean by that is we use the data collected on each business to provide tailored cyber insurance coverage, which is unique in the fast growing insurtech sector. Thanks to our Managing General Agent (MGA) status — which is an underwriting authority for large insurance carriers that have excess capacity — we bring the same quality of insurance as a big carrier, but make it customizable to an individual small business.
Small Business Trends: Sort of like the in-dash equipment some auto insurers are doing to give drivers the lowest premiums on auto insurance?
Dan Smith: Right, exactly. This is an ongoing and dynamic field and offering, and I hope the ebook helps to shed more light light into the playbooks of the bad actors out there targeting small businesses and medium-sized enterprises.