There’s a common misconception that cyber attacks target big business and ‘small fry’ are not under threat.
Emergence founder and Managing Director Troy Filipcevic is quick to dispel that myth.
He says SMEs are more threatened because they often don’t have the superior security systems that larger organisations can afford and, if they are attacked, the ramifications are higher because they have to spend so much time, effort and resources to counter the attack that they risk the business going under.
He says Emergence’s claims experience, and other statistics, show SMEs and smaller firms are greatly adversely impacted by cyber threats.
The idea that cyber criminals only target large, multinational firms – rather than smaller companies – has garnered strength because there may be more financial gain in attacking bigger businesses. While that’s partly true, SMEs are wrong to believe they will be spared as cyber criminals focus their criminality on larger firms.
Most big businesses have dedicated IT teams and broad cyber protection software; SMEs that don’t have a dedicated cyber security team within arm’s reach have more to lose when a cyber attack occurs.
Troy says many SMEs focus on ensuring the business runs smoothly and customers receive great service, so cyber security takes a relative back seat.
“Cyber security is often an afterthought. There should be a drive now to buy proper security and have a quasi IT team who can step in and properly respond to threats,” he told Insurance Business.
The misconception SMEs were not in the eyesight of cyber criminals also originated from a dichotomy between reported cyber attack numbers and what SMEs saw in their businesses.
Many cyber attack statistics come from the United States and are huge numbers, so SMEs think the stats are not relevant to their circumstances. But claims data shows otherwise.
Troy warned that cyber threats, like flu viruses, rapidly adapted when protective measures were introduced.
“Cyber viruses morph and change. Cybercriminals aren’t sitting still; their attacks are constantly changing.”
Like any vaccination, current anti-virus software protects you from what is known, not what is not. That means SMEs need stronger protective measures to defend against ever-changing and ever-present cyber attacks.
Troy says staff training is the most important mitigation step. Others include implementing patches as soon as available, data encryption, and strong password management.
While a cyber insurance policy is valuable, it’s the last line of defence.
Emergence is a pioneer of cyber cover in Australia and provides protection for SMEs through to ASX-listed entities.
Emergence was judged the 2019 Insurance Business magazine Underwriting Agency of the Year and was a finalist in the same category at the 2019 ANZIIF-Asia Insurance Review awards.
To access the broker portal to obtain Emergence cyber quotations for your clients, email firstname.lastname@example.org.