In May 2017, 99 countries were hit with a widespread cyberattack known as WannaCry, which took advantage of a glitch in Microsoft’s Windows security. The ransomware locked the victims’ computers and demanded a ransom payment within six hours of infection, with periodic increases to that initial demand. This attack caused significant financial damage to companies and frustration for users.
Many experts predict that the WannaCry ransomware is just the tip of the iceberg and that hackers will eventually be able to exploit companies’ networks, data storage and customer records in an even more significant event than this recent attack. While we await the next big event, if you don’t currently have cyber insurance for your pest control business, you may want to consider including a line item for “cyber breach costs” in your next annual budget. Growing 40 percent last year alone,1 data breaches have become a reality for organizations large and small, who are now learning the hard way that if you don’t prepare for a cyberattack – or have the right coverage to back you – it will hit your balance sheet hard and could very well bankrupt you.
No industry is immune to an attacker’s exploits, and no organization is too big or too small to become a target. Some risk factors will make you more of a target, and there’s a chance you could pay a higher price for a cyber breach than others. Adding to the risk, when your employees use personal smartphones to access company information, they can expand the attack surface of an organization, even increasing the potential for the cost of a data breach by almost 10 percent per year. This is because as many as 3 percent of all mobile devices are infected with malware. With users having an average of 50 apps per device, they’re more susceptible to phishing attempts, hacking and password theft.
Your data store strategies are another area of concern when calculating the cost of a data breach. Storing your business’ data in the cloud can increase your risk of facing a costly cyber storm. While cloud migration is rapidly expanding for the collaboration and storage opportunities it affords businesses large and small, a third-party data host can introduce foreign threats and exposures to your data, as service providers can become a lucrative target due to the amount of data stored.
Finally, the total cost of a data breach will depend on how many confidential records your company stores. Think about how many: customers, employees, active and archived records, digital and paper records you store. There can be variations of costs due to the mechanism of loss. For example, most data breaches continue to be caused by criminal and malicious attacks. These breaches take the most time to detect and contain. As a result they carry higher costs per record due to the need to bring in a third party computer forensics firm.
By Gary Shapiro