Q: I've been hearing a great deal in the media recently about cyber security. It seems that many small businesses like mine still don't have proper measures like internet security policies for employees or testing of computer systems to protect them from threats. I'm finding the whole cyber security thing a bit daunting given all the electronic transactions that happen in my business every day. Where do I start?
A: These days we all rely so heavily on a multitude of electronic gadgets including personal mobile devices. They often contain sensitive data, including our own credit card and bank details. Clearly your business computers will contain customer data and other sensitive information so you're right to be concerned about protection. Being aware of the risk is a very good start! Here are some further simple steps you can take to start protecting your business right away:
Install, use and regularly update your antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business. This is a wise precaution for home computers too.
However, be sure to strictly limit the authority to install software updates onto your systems.
Set up password-protected user accounts for each employee and make sure that these aren't shared.
Make sure that you change your passwords on a regular basis.
Be aware of who has access to computers and when. This knowledge would be useful were there ever to be a cyber security incident.
All your employees should be aware of the possibility of cyber security risks.
Speak to your insurance broker about arranging cover to protect you and your business against cyber threats. Don't simply assume that you're already adequately covered.
Always make back-up copies of important business data and information (See the question below regarding storage of these).
Q: Is it safe to keep computer backups on my premises?
A: Only if you place them in a fire safe that's specifically designed for computer media. Otherwise you should always remove your computer backups from the premises. If there was a fire at your premises your computer media would be particularly vulnerable to the ionised particles in smoke. You'll find that safes designed to resist burglary will probably offer little resistance to smoke penetration. Make sure to check which kind you have. If you're going to remove confidential data from your premises, particularly any sensitive data such as lists of customers and other such information, make sure that it's encrypted.
Q: What's meant by the Minimum Security condition within a policy?
A: Most, if not all, insurers that provide cover for business premises impose a minimum level of security within their policy wordings. The condition will require certain types of lock to be fitted to the final entry/exit doors and windows, and in certain cases a specific type of alarm with a number of features among other security requirements. A copy of the particular insurer's minimum security standard can be requested when a quotation is provided. It's very important you comply with the condition. If you don't, any claim you make may not be met.
T.H. March is a chartered firm of insurance brokers. Established in 1887, the company has offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Sevenoaks, as well as its National Administration Centre in Yelverton near Plymouth. To find out more T: +44 (0)1822 855 555, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website www.thmarch.co.uk