Use the ABC of cyber safety

Phishing scams have increased during the pandemic, according to cyber security experts KnowBe4.
Phishing scams have increased during the pandemic, according to cyber security experts KnowBe4.
Image: 123RF/Nonwarit Pruetisirirot

As the lockdown continues, more businesses will be doing all they can to keep operating online.

Cyber criminals have been quick to exploit any opportunities and vulnerabilities they can find, highlighting the importance of cyber security and cyber insurance yet again.

While technology enables us to perform many tasks remotely, it can also leave our online security in the cold, unless protection is put in place.

Short-term insurance can cover you, but it will often be subject to demonstrating safe, responsible cyber behaviour.

As now is the time when cyber criminals will be looking to find a weak spot, don’t let your business fall victim. Here are three key tips — the ABC of cyber safety — to keep in mind.

A is for awareness

To begin with, ensure your employees are aware of the cyber risks. With staff working remotely, assess if all laptops are protected by antivirus software or, if staff are using personal computers, that they install adequate protection.

Managing staff behaviour online is crucial, as is limiting access to sensitive information as appropriate.

B is for backup

If you are among those businesses who don’t believe in backing up their data, make a change as soon as possible.

This lockdown may be an opportunity to cut down on some procedures or reduce the amount of data you store, once you frequently back up everything.

Ensure your antivirus and malware software is sufficient and keeping pace with your risks, too.

C is for cut complacency

You need to constantly practise your cyber safety procedures; having virus protection in place doesn’t mean you should click on something risky anyway.

Just as you would lock your car every day, you need to lock your data away safely too. .

Password management and complacency don’t go together; change passwords frequently or consider alternative biometric measures, where possible. An example may be a fingerprint login.

Rather be safe than sorry

Above all, you should be prioritising whatever you can, realistic to your unique circumstances, to keep your business safe online.

Depending on the nature of your business, insurance requirements may be more intensive (to ensure you are managing your own risks too).

Also keep your personal safety in mind. Cybercrime may present less physical danger than other crimes, but it can become dangerous if there are ransom demands to retrieve data.

Cyber criminals are smart, and civilians should rather involve the authorities as needed, as they are experienced in dealing with criminal activity.

Remember that a data breach can lead to extortion or expensive legal issues, as well as costly business interruption.

Always be vigilant and aware of the type of cybercrimes that exist (such as phishing e-mails, which aim to catch you unawares).

One click on the wrong link can have much bigger consequences than you think.

Knowing exactly what is covered by your short-term insurance policy (and what may be excluded) is also important at this time.

And you will have a bit more time these days under lockdown to assess whether your cyber cover is truly covering your risks.

Chat to your adviser for guidance (reach out with a call or e-mail) sooner than later to check on, or top up, your cyber cover before it’s too late.

Bertus Visser is CE ofdistribution at PSG Insure

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