The recent COVID-19 pandemic has seen an unprecedented number of Australians finding themselves working from home. While this carries a number of challenges, an important consideration for businesses needs to be the risk associated with accessing work-related information remotely where the security and processes of the office are often not present.

What is cyber crime?

Cyber crime is a crime that involves a computer or network and can include hacking, online scams and fraud, identity theft, and attacks on computer systems. Cyber crime offers ways for criminals to steal information, money or disrupt business. It’s not just large businesses which are impacted – small businesses are just as susceptible to attacks.

What are the risks associated with working from home?

One of the main risks involved in working remotely from home is that many employees will use their own devices rather than the computers available in the office. This can mean that there is less security on the device and employees don’t have the benefit of stringent security measures which are normally available, such as anti-virus software.

Accessing the internet from home can also see the use of unsecured Wi-Fi networks which are vulnerable to attack. This is particularly the case if people are accessing public Wi-Fi networks.

How do you protect from cyber risks at home?

Prioritise cyber security – it’s important that you prioritise the cyber security of your business for peace of mind for you and your clients. Develop a cyber security plan and disseminate this to all of your employees so they know what security measures will need to be in place while they’re working from home.

Ensure secure Wi-Fi – although it’s common for Wi-Fi networks to be secured, particularly your home network, ensure that this is set up before connecting to your work related data. Remember that some public networks will be unsecured and therefore may leave your business vulnerable to cyber attack.

Set up strong passwords – if an employee is using their own device at home, it’s essential that strong passwords are used to ensure data security. Different passwords need to be used across different accounts to avoid breaches and a password manager may be a useful tool to manage these details.

Install security software – ensure that your home devices are set up with the appropriate security software, such as firewalls and antivirus software. These create an essential barrier and are designed to protect your computer from attack. If necessary, obtain advice from your IT service about the best security set up for new working from home arrangements.

Back up data – all data needs to be backed up on a regular basis, just as it would be in an office environment. Whether it’s human error, damage to the computer, or cyber attack, one incident could wipe your essential data. If you have employees working from home, advise them how frequently they should back up their data.

Beware of scams – it’s important to be aware that there is likely to be an increase in the amount of emails and news articles which you may receive in these uncertain times. Be vigilant about only opening legitimate emails and deleting anything that appears to be suspicious.

Arrange cyber liability insurance – cyber liability insurance provides protection against the expense and legal costs associated with data breaches, attacks by hackers, and viruses and malware. This is a specialised cover which isn’t included in most general business insurance policies.

What is cyber liability insurance?

No matter how carefully you address the potential cyber risks associated with working from home, there may come a time when you find yourself at the receiving end of claim associated with cyber attack or data breach. Cyber liability insurance coverage will provide cover for various scenarios, including:

  • Fines and penalties;
  • Business interruption costs;
  • Investigation and data recovery;
  • Legal expenses;
  • Crisis management;
  • PR support;
  • Extortion.

For more information about cyber liability insurance, contact GSK Insurance Brokers today on (08) 9478 1933.

April 9, 2020

By Graham Knight

Founder and Managing Director of GSK Insurance (established in 1981). Graham draws upon more than 50 years’ experience in the insurance industry, working in both insurance and broking across various private, public and government sectors in Australia.

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