Cybercriminals don’t just target big companies. Sole traders and small businesses are starting to feel the pinch of cybercrime too. Insurance expert, PolicyBee, is here to show how cyber insurance can help protect your VA business.
Virtual assistants are a vital part of thousands of UK businesses.
Over 13,000 small businesses employed a virtual assistant in 2018. As remote and hybrid working becomes the norm after the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more are looking to bring one on board.
Being a virtual assistant isn’t easy, though. If you’re a sole trader, you’re responsible if anything goes wrong. It’s up to you to fix any problems.
If a malware or ransomware attack stops you from working on a Monday morning, what do you do? How can you keep helping your clients? And what can you do to make sure you’re protected in the future?
A problem for small businesses
It’s common for small businesses to think cybercrime won’t affect them. You’re a smaller target. You hold less data. You’re not worth as much money to cyber criminals.
Unfortunately, this kind of thinking leads to complacency. And makes you an easy target.
The scary reality for small businesses is that every 19 seconds in the UK, one of you is hacked.
You’re probably wondering: why do cybercriminals hack small businesses? Especially when larger businesses are such lucrative targets?
Well, it comes down to one thing. Cybercriminals search for businesses where they can get the most data for the least amount of effort.
Big corporations are very difficult to hack. So, they go after small businesses or sole traders instead. Like virtual assistants.
If you’re hacked, it could cost a pretty penny. On average, it’ll set you back £4,200. But it could cost a lot more.
For a virtual assistant, that’s a tough loss to take. It can set you back months and affect your reputation and client relationships.
The unfortunate reality of being a virtual assistant is that you might be targeted because of the valuable data you use and store. Many companies will involve you in processes that use sensitive data, like finance or communications. This means you could be worth £thousands to cyber criminals.
Don’t worry. There are ways that you can protect yourself.
If the worst happens and you’re hacked, cyber insurance covers your costs. But you also need to prevent attacks before they happen.
There are some helpful tools out there for small businesses. This guide by the National Cyber Security Centre has plenty of tips and advice for making your business safer online.
Sometimes, though, all the preparation in the world can’t protect you. With cybercrime on the rise, breaches are happening in their droves every day to small businesses.
If you get caught by one, you could struggle to work. Or be left with a tricky and expensive legal process to manage.
Cyber insurance is there to help you if the worst happens.
If you become the victim of cybercrime, cyber insurance jumps into action.
To start, it covers your direct costs. So, if you’re unable to work for a few weeks because of the hack, cyber insurance will sort out your lost income.
If you’re infected with ransomware, it’ll also pay for any ransoms. Oh, and any legal fees that might spring up.
Finally, it provides you with a variety of experts that’ll help you recover from the attack.
The first thing the experts will tackle is getting your systems back under control. A team of cybersecurity experts will work with you to get you back on track. So you can start working with your clients again.
After the technical issues are sorted, it’s time for the legal experts to do their job. They notify the Information Commissioner’s Office for you – as well as other relevant people and organisations – and help you sort out any legal issues. Like if you’re sued for losing clients’ sensitive data.
You’ll also get PR support. They’ll help you explain the situation to your customers and maintain your valuable relationships.
All these costs are covered by insurance. So you can get back on your feet quickly.
Like many other sole traders, you might use suppliers. You’re also covered if they cause a breach. Good luck with the awkward conversation afterwards, though!
At this point, it’s important to say that different cyber insurance policies cover different things. For example, it’s common for policies to not cover some kinds of attack, like social engineering.
Social engineering is a kind of cyber-attack that manipulates someone within an organisation to do something. Like leaking sensitive information, transferring money, or sharing a password.
Roughly 98% of all breaches use social engineering. When you’re shopping around for cyber insurance, make sure to read the policy wording carefully. Otherwise, you might be missing out on this vital area of cover.
What’s the difference between cyber insurance and professional indemnity insurance?
A lot of virtual assistants have professional indemnity insurance. It covers you if a client accuses you of poor service, negligence, or acting in bad faith. Or other similar claims that might result in financial loss for your client.
You’re probably wondering: doesn’t my professional indemnity policy cover me for cyber-attacks and data breaches?
In 2023, the answer is probably not. Most insurers don’t allow claims for cybersecurity and data protection.
But it’s not as cut and dry as that. Every policy is different. If you’re not sure whether your policy covers you for cybercrime, it’s time to dig out the documents you received when you bought it.
Give it a good read to make sure whether you’re covered or not. The last thing you want is to be caught by surprise when a cyber-attack hits you.
The best way to combat cybercrime is to keep learning.
That’s why some cyber insurance policies include training.
As well as teaching you about cybercrime, it’ll help you prevent social engineering attacks, like phishing.
Examples are used too, so you’ll learn how to spot dodgy emails, texts, and phone calls from a mile off. You’ll also get a rundown on cybersecurity so you can use the internet and your client’s data safely.
By knowing more, you can stop attacks before they have a chance to affect you. After all, almost half of the cyber-attacks in the UK work because of phishing. That’s a lot of attacks that could be stopped by better education.
Unfortunately, even with all the training in the world, mistakes happen. You might click on a bad link or accidentally send money to a cybercriminal. It can happen to anyone.
Most cyber insurers can be contacted 24/7. In fact, they often ask you to get in touch as soon as you realise you’ve made a mistake. Even if it’s 1am on a Saturday morning.
They want to be able to get to work right away so that you have a higher chance of recovering quickly from the attack.
Build cybercrime defences
There’s a good chance that you’re going to be targeted by a cyber-attack at some point.
You might have done nothing wrong. Or you could have fallen victim to an elaborate social engineering attack.
However it happened, cyber insurance helps you deal with the outcomes. And gets you back on your feet fast, so you can keep helping your clients and earning money.
To find out more about cyber insurance, visit www.policybee.co.uk. You can also call our team on 0345 222 5370 if you need any advice or have any questions.