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Big or small, no one is immune to the threat of cyber attacks | Canadian Insurance

Big or small, no one is immune to the threat of cyber attacks

And so we were greeted several weeks ago with the delightful disclosure from Yahoo that as many as 500 million accounts had been impacted by a massive data breach in late 2014. It is believed to be the biggest theft ever from a single email provider.

The stolen data reportedly included users’ names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates and encrypted passwords. Apparently, no financial information was obtained.

Nonetheless, sobering to the extreme. And whether Yahoo clients or not, who among us didn’t immediately reflect on our own cyber habits? Why did we name the kids in that Facebook photo? Why did I write that angry email in a fit of frustration? And the new golf club works great, but should I have purchased it online with my credit card information? We parachute into personal paranoia, at least for a while, knowing what could happen, might happen, more than likely will happen to us sometime. And so we passionately become more diligent with our information. Until we’re not again.

But falling between large corporations and John Q. Public, there exists another bed of cyber security uneasiness—that felt by small and mid-sized companies who, in many instances, are without the robust resources or security acumen to fend off an attack. As a nod to our Small Business theme this month, we had writer Terri Goveia pull back the curtain on small biz cyber crime, and between the statistics she discovered and the expert commentaries she logged for the story—well, it’s time to start tightening up and tidying up, and in many ways that means turning to the broker side for critical support in leveling the “unfair playing” field. You can read Terri’s coverage—nervously but with some sense of reassurance.

Insurers are responding swiftly and responsibly with scaled-down, affordable cyber security packages for small and mid-sized businesses that can be organically grown into more expansive coverage. The experts also note that training employees is one of the most valuable investments a company can make to limit exposures from suspect email, phishing attempts and so on. The bad guys are raising the bar in the appearance of legitimacy, and it falls to the good guys to similarly step up and recognize the traps.

We won’t spoil your day by telling you in this space how many small businesses hit with a data breach go out of business within six months. You’ll find out in the story. But, thankfully, small businesses will also find out they have many allies in the insurance industry, with as many solutions, ready and waiting to help.

Copyright © 2016 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in the October 2016 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine