Helping businesses prepare for cyber attacks brings a wide range of benefits to businesses. The trend of going digital has raised the risk of cyber attacks. While cybersecurity isn’t a new threat, the risk is on the rise. In 2021, cyber attacks grew by 50% compared with 2020, according to Check Point Software, a cybersecurity software provider.
It’s more important than ever that businesses prepare for cyber attacks. Yet 36% of small businesses have no concerns about cyber attacks. Even though one out of five online small businesses have been cyber attack victims, according to a Digital.com survey. It might just be a matter of time.
Ideally companies can ward off hacking attempts. But that’s not always easy. Many businesses need help. Insurance agents can offer some support. Insurance agents don’t have to be — and likely aren’t expected to be — cybersecurity experts. Still, insurance agents can use their overall risk management skills to help businesses prepare for cyber attacks.
Insurers can also help leads and current clients review whether adding cyber insurance would be a good fit to limit the potential fallout from attacks. Insurers can put more emphasis on cybersecurity preparedness when communicating with prospects and clients. In turn, that can help create more resilient businesses that appreciate your help and want to continue working with you in the years to come.
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Assess Cybersecurity Preparedness
Insurers might review business risks when assessing policy rates. Agents can go over cyber risks with prospects and clients to help them get a sense of their cybersecurity preparedness. Doing so doesn’t have to be just about figuring out cyber insurance premiums but can also be for the benefit of business owners that insurers want to build relationships with.
That starts with assessing whether businesses have any cybersecurity measures in place — only about half of small businesses do, according to the Digital.com survey. From there, insurance agents can help businesses review where they might want to add cybersecurity measures or where they might need to make adjustments to existing measures.
In particular, insurance agents can help businesses prepare for cyber attacks by going over areas like:
- The potential financial cost of cyber attacks: Are businesses setting aside budget to cover the cost of a cyber attack? Could money be stolen as part of a breach? Are their customers at financial risk too, such as if companies store credit card or banking data? Insurance agents can help businesses reduce risk by getting them to think about these types of questions in advance and coming up with defense strategies.
- The potential operational effects of cyber attacks: In addition to looking at direct costs of cyber attacks, like having to pay for data remediation services, businesses also have to think about things like the loss of customer trust due to data breaches. Companies also might miss out on revenue due to the inability to operate at full speed if files are locked because of ransomware, for example. Thinking about these risks could prompt businesses to add protections
- Technology usage: Businesses can prepare for cyber attacks by looking at their current technology usage, both in terms of potential attack avenues and cybersecurity defenses. For example, insurance agents might help businesses consider the risks that could come from employees using their own computers to access work files. Insurance agents also might have partnerships or be able to point businesses in the direction of technology like anti-malware software that can help block cyber threats.
Review Insurance Options
Related to reviewing cyber preparedness, agents can help businesses review insurance options to see if they have sufficient coverage. Some businesses might be good candidates for separate cyber insurance policies, whereas others might be comfortable with whatever their current policies cover.
Since cyber insurance is relatively new and niche, prospects and clients might not be as familiar with it and need a little more guidance than usual. In particular, insurance agents can go over insurance areas like:
- The types of cyber incidents that are covered by a company’s current policies
- Cyber incident coverage limits
- How additional policies or changes to existing policies might close gaps in coverage
- How to make a cyber insurance claim
Insurance agents also might want to discuss cyber insurance on a recurring basis, as a company’s cyber risk can change quickly. But rather than just pushing for the sale, you might be able to frame these discussions as relationship-building conversations. Insurance agents can review what’s going on in a business and see how their cyber insurance needs might be changing.
For example, a company might have expanded its e-commerce presence, started storing customer financial data, implemented remote work policies, etc. All of these changes can affect risk and insurance coverage needs, and they could make for good discussion points. When going through the renewal process with clients, for example, you could explore these types of changes to understand clients better and build trust.
Offer Cybersecurity Resources
In addition to helping businesses review their cybersecurity preparedness from risk management and insurance coverage perspectives, agents can also help businesses by offering cybersecurity resources.
Part of the reason why small businesses might be unprepared for cyber attacks is because they don’t have the budget to develop defenses. But many free or low-cost resources exist.
“There’s no substitute for dedicated IT support—whether an employee or external consultant—but businesses of more limited means can still take measures to improve their cybersecurity,” advises the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA shares many cybersecurity resources that agents can direct businesses to review.
One source of free resources is The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency (CISA), part of the Department of Homeland Security. For example, CISA offers recommendations on how to improve cloud security practices, such as by enforcing multi-factor authentication (MFA). CISA also suggests organizations enable “blame-free employee reporting and ensure that employees know who to contact when they see suspicious activity or when they believe they have been a victim of a cyberattack. This will ensure that the proper established mitigation strategy can be employed quickly and efficiently.”
Insurance agents can pass along these types of resources by:
- Sending business owners direct links to helpful content, e.g., when communicating one-on-one during onboarding
- Sharing top tips within your content marketing, like email newsletters, blog posts or social media
- Creating events like webinars or in-person discussions with cybersecurity experts as a value-add to customers/lead generation approachs in your network
Cybersecurity will likely continue to be a challenging area for businesses for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean organizations have to sit back and hope for the best. Instead, they can take action, and insurance agents can help.
With these resources insurance agents can point prospects and clients toward stronger cybersecurity. Along with taking the time to review risks and analyze how clients’ insurance coverage needs are changing, insurance agents can help prepare businesses for cyber attacks. They can build stronger relationships as well. Business owners can appreciate insurance agents that provide these value-added services, rather than just offering generic, impersonal insurance quotes.