Are You and Your Customers Vulnerable to Ransomware?

You’ve probably been hearing the term “ransomware” a lot lately; reports of this type of cyberattack have doubled in the past year alone. Any business, or even individual, can be targeted by this form of malware, with which a cyberattacker encrypts a victim’s files and then demands a fee, or ransom, to restore access to the data. Because these attacks are so widespread, one could happen to you or your clients, so it is important to learn what you can do to protect yourself from one; if you are not properly protected, you or your customer might have to pay the ransom, which is far less expensive than replacing or restoring the locked files and computer. One thing you can do is purchase cyber insurance, which will cover ransomware, and encourage your customers to do the same, but is having one of these policies good enough, or could it cause more harm than good?

How Ransomware Works

Ransomware is different from other types of malware in that, during these attacks, a cyber criminal gains administrative access to your information and takes your data hostage. The most common way these criminals get access to your data is by sending out phishing scams through emails and texts; usually, the emails will look like they are from your bank or another trusted company you work with, and will contain an attachment or link that, if clicked on, will give them full access to your files.

computer screen with a padlock on the screen

Once the cyberattacker has full administrative access to all of your information, they will encrypt your files and essentially put a lock on your computer, demanding that you pay them a ransom to be able to gain access to your data again. Some will even take it a step further and threaten to publicize the data if the ransom is not paid; this can put your business in jeopardy because, as an agent in possession of sensitive customer information, it is your duty under HIPAA to protect that information.

Cyber Insurance & Ransomware

If you’re worried about ransomware attacks, remember that almost all cyber insurance policies cover ransomware, including the cost to restore and recover your data. However, you should also know that not everyone agrees that giving in to the attackers is the best solution, and lately, insurance companies have been getting scrutinized for paying ransoms. Regulators feel that by paying these ransoms, it further incentivizes cyber attackers: because of this, some insurance companies are dropping cyber insurance from their list of policies, while others are taking the ransom payment coverage out of their policies. This will require people to either pay the ransom on their own, which is typically anywhere form $700- $1,300, or have to pay for the restoration of their computer systems. The insurance companies and regulators hope that this will slow down ransomware attacks in the long run, but it doesn’t help individuals and businesses who are attacked in the short term.

With that being said, this has not stopped many insurance companies from providing cyber insurance, including ransomware coverage. What’s more, after recent high-profile attacks such as the one on the Colonial Pipeline, there is now a greater push for ransomware legislation to support private and public sectors and to punish the criminals. Hopefully the focus will be taken off the insurance industry and put back where it belongs: on stopping the attackers.

As of now, if you are looking to protect your business and your clients’ businesses, there are still affordable cyber insurance plans, but there are some precautionary steps you and your customers can take as well.

How To Prevent Ransomware

black USB
To prevent ransomware, back up your files and keep your system up-to-date.

A cyber insurance policy will help you restore your encrypted data if you are attacked, but there are other steps you can take to help prevent attacks on your computer and files:

  • Keep your system up-to-date.
  • Do NOT install software unless you are completely sure it is from a trusted source, and do NOT give administrative access to anyone else unless absolutely necessary (and safe).
  • Install antivirus and whitelisting software to prevent unauthorized applications.
  • Backup your files as often as possible.

Ransomware can destroy your business and cost you – or your customers – thousands of dollars. Cyber insurance is a great way to protect you and your customers’ businesses, but this type of coverage is becoming controversial, meaning that some insurance companies are no longer offering it. So, not only should you make sure you follow the steps above to prevent ransomware, and share the information with your clients, you should also compare cyber insurance plans from different companies to make sure they still cover ransomware.

Cyber Liability Insurance: A Must For Businesses

Cyber insurance is a must for most businesses, especially now when so much business is being conducted at home and online. Cyber scams and phishing have increased by 40% in the last year alone, which is why it is more important than ever to convey to leads how vital cyber insurance is to their business. Just one cyber attack can mean a significant loss of revenue, or even the loss of their business. But before you can sell cyber insurance, you need to know exactly how it works and how to sell it.

a hand holding a cell phone with the words sign in on it and above the cell phone are the words "warning cyber attack" in large letters
Approximately 62% of cyber attacks are on small to midsize businesses.

Why Cyber Liability Is Needed

Approximately 62% of cyber attacks are on small to midsize businesses, and without cyber insurance to fall back on, most of these businesses will not have the means to survive the attack. The attack will end up costing them thousands of dollars, if not millions. In fact, the average cost of a cyber attack to a business is approximately $2.2 million.

Cyber insurance is needed now more than ever is because so many employees are currently working from home. With so many employees logging in to business’ servers through their home routers, businesses are at a much higher risk of cyber attacks – in fact, 1.8 million cyber attacks are conducted through home routers!

What Cyber Liability Insurance Covers

When speaking with clients about cyber liability protection, it is important to make clear that they may not be as covered as they think they are when it comes to cyber security. First of all, even if they have security software, nothing can stop 100% of cyber scams and attacks, because technology is constantly changing. Second of all, if they have an E&O policy, they may think that cyber events are completely covered. Unfortunately, this is not the case; these policies will offer some coverage against legal claims of negligence and errors, but not from damages resulting from a data breach. One sure thing that can help these businesses survive an attack is cyber liability insurance.

When selling cyber liability insurance, understanding the difference between first-party and third-party coverage is a must:

man sitting on a couch with a laptop on his lap with a lock icon on the screen.

  • First-party coverage: protects the data they own, such as information that pertains to the business and its employees.
  • Third-party coverage: covers liability associated with breaches of customers’ data.

Tips For Selling Cyber Liability Insurance

In order to sell cyber liability insurance, you must first be knowledgeable about the different types of policies and coverage they offer. Business owners are looking for help in finding the best policy for their specific business, which is why they come to you – so make sure you know your stuff! Here are some tips that will help you:

  • Speak In Relative Terms– Help your prospect understand the policy using simpler words, and try not to overwhelm them with insurance jargon.
  • Understand The Risks– Each business has its own risks based on its specific industry, so learn to detail the scope of cyber risks for each type of business.

    african american hands in a suit holding a white piggy bank.
    It is important to try and find the most savings that you can for a lead, not only to sell, but to build customer loyalty.
  • Decide What Policy To Sell– Once you evaluate the business, you can decide if they need a standalone policy or a packaged policy. They might need coverage for third-party liability or you can package it with an E&O policy.
  • Find Savings– Business owners might be afraid to invest in cyber liability insurance because they are afraid of how much it will cost them. If you can find them savings and discounts, then do so. If not, then you should explain to them the importance of cyber liability insurance compared to the costs of not having it in case of a breach.

Businesses are continuing to shift toward technology and this puts them at a higher risk for cyber attacks. Knowing these risks and the importance of protecting businesses with cyber insurance, as well as following the above tips, will ensure your success selling cyber liability insurance.

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