Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the business landscape and there have been ongoing implications regarding the emerging need to create working from home capabilities. Across business, the priority must be for businesses to take appropriate measures to ensure a secure environment. While Covid-19 has opened up new opportunities for businesses to become creative with working arrangements, it’s also meant more cyber risks as criminals find vulnerabilities which can be exploited.

While cyber-crime was on the rise in the pre-Covid-19 world due to an increasingly digital age, there is now an added layer of complexity in managing this risk due to the increase in employees working from the home environment. While there has been no evidence to suggest major system outages or data breaches have occurred as a result of Covid-19, there is the potential for cyber criminals to find weak entry points to computing systems.

These new dynamics have meant that the business community needs to be aware of potential risk exposures during the era of Covid 19 and put appropriate measures in place to mitigate these risks. Additionally, insurers need to identify these new risks and ensure that businesses are able to protect their cyber risks with the appropriate insurance cover.

Emerging risk scenarios

The global pandemic of Covid-19 has seen a rapid increase in cyber risks as new, rapidly occurring dynamics developed in the face of issues such as working from home, the increase of cloud based computing systems and a further increase in the demand for online retail. It should come as no surprise that cyber-crime in Australia has been on the rise in the face of Covid-19  and many Australians were victims of cyber-crime, particularly in the early months of lockdown. This is in large part due to the sudden reliance that businesses and individuals alike had on technology with significant changes in online behaviour. Issues such as people connecting to an unsecured network, downloading content which was not secure or engaging with unfamiliar websites have also been on the rise. Another reason for this increase in cyber-crime is that individuals who were not engaged in cyber-crime prior to lockdown have now adopted this behaviour due to limitations on their regular avenues of criminal activity

While the vulnerabilities in cloud computing systems would have become more apparent over time, the rapid and sudden reliance on these systems due to hasty working from home arrangements has meant that these issues have become apparent more quickly. In terms of working from home arrangements, which are now increasingly common, there are a number of issues that cyber criminals can take advantage of including poor cyber security and low security passwords.

The increased awareness of the new cyber threats has meant that security measures will increase and businesses will become more savvy when it comes to cyber risk exposures. The new risk management approaches that are developing are not short term measures but will continue to evolve over time as new business practices emerge during Covid-19 and beyond.

Impact for the business world

Given that working from home arrangements had to be developed hastily in the early stages of the pandemic, it stands to reason that security vulnerabilities were not adequately considered in many instances. However, organisations are now catching up with this shortfall and developed new systems in relation to IT usage, security and employee expectations. Now is the time for businesses to consolidate what has been learned from the early months of Covid-19 and develop new ways to mitigate the risks of cyber-attack.

Although the threat of cyber-crime has been a concern, working from home arrangements have not been as detrimental to many businesses as it was initially feared. Many organisations are finding that productivity is on the rise and best practices are emerging around coping with the changing landscape. Even after the pandemic, it is projected that business will increasingly be adopting more working from home arrangement for employees.

In terms of protecting against the risks associated with cyber-crime, businesses must also consider cyber insurance to protect against the financial implications of cyber attack.

Protecting your cyber risk exposures

At GSK Insurance Brokers, we understand the consideration impact that Covid-19 has had on Australian businesses. We provide cyber insurance which can help cover financial losses to your business, your customers and other parties following a cyber security breach. This could include scenarios such as loss of income due to business interruption, liability following third party loss, defence of legal claims, the cost of covering or replacing records or data, and crisis management and monitoring. Cyber insurance can be included in your cyber insurance package depending on the needs of your business.

For further information regarding cyber insurance, speak with GSK Insurance Brokers today.

February 2, 2021

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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