A recent Nationwide survey found that 47% of midsized business owners reported that their business had experienced a cyberattack. This article provides tips you can use to keep your business prepared.

Hands typing on laptop with security symbol on screen

In today’s e-commerce world, we rely on computers and electronic data systems to conduct daily business. Criminals know this and are working to steal credit card numbers, bank routing numbers and other Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Hackers, international crime syndicates, and even foreign governments have tapped into the world wide web, exploiting the e-commerce system through several means (malware, ransomware, phishing, etc.). Victims range from governments to hospitals to major retailers. So, what are they after? Money of course!

Is your business prepared? You might think, “Yes. I have liability insurance, so I am protected.” The truth is that a General Liability policy often specifically excludes cyber coverage. Businesses from small family restaurants to large corporations, require additional protection. A recent Nationwide survey of business owners found:

  • 42% of middle-market business owners reported that their business had experienced a cyberattack
  • 63% of businesses that have experienced a cyberattack did not resume normal business operations for over a month
  • 30% of companies with 11-50 employees do not provide any type of formal training on cybersecurity
  • 86% of business owners believe that digital risk will continue to grow
  • 35% of business owners who have never experienced a cyber-attack are unaware of the financial cost to recover, highlighting a dangerous gap in knowledge from the implications
  • The survey found that medium-sized businesses have a greater awareness and are more prepared for a cyber threats than small businesses

So, what can you do to protect your business and your customers? Here are a few tips1:

  • Unique Account, Unique Password:
  • Having separate passwords for every account helps thwart cybercriminals and change passwords regularly. At minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
  • Make Your Password a Passphrase:
  • A strong password can be a passphrase that is simple, long, and memorable. Passphrases that are 12 characters long are considered stronger than shorter passwords such as “T!g3r#44”.
  • Protect All Devices That Connect to the Internet:
  • Along with computers, all web-enabled devices (smart phones, gaming systems, etc.) need protection from malware and other cybersecurity threats. The latest security software updates should be installed.
  • Secure Your Online Accounts:
  • Secure your online accounts by enabling multi-factor authentication. Don’t rely solely on usernames and passwords to protect key accounts like email, banking, and social media.
  • Secure Your Network:
  • If you have a Wi-Fi network at your business, it should be secure, encrypted, and hidden. It is also a good idea to have firewall security for your internet connection.
  • Consider cyber risk insurance, which can provide services for recovery if an attack occurs.

More details about what your business can do to protect itself can be found in our Cyber Liability technical bulletin and in these two articles:

Additional resources can be found at the Nationwide Cyber Resource Center. For more assistance with cyber security, visit Nationwide's partners at Zeguro.

1 https://www.fcc.gov/general/cybersecurity-small-business
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