The number of data breaches in the U.S. hit an all-time high in 2014 according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). Tens of millions of U.S. citizens have had their private information compromised through attacks on retail giants, healthcare companies, and even the federal government.
If you run a self-storage or moving business, you might be wondering what any of this has to do with you. But here’s the thing – while the high profile cases have garnered all of the attention and headlines, cyber thieves have quietly and increasingly been on the prowl for smaller businesses that are less protected, hitting even small mom-and-pop shops. Unfortunately, many small and midsize businesses don’t realize how easy it is to hack into a computer system and steal confidential financial and other data.
Don’t think your business is vulnerable? Think again.
OK, so your storage business isn’t as tempting to cyber criminals as Target, Sony, or the federal government. They prefer the big game, with lots of credit card and other confidential data they can pilfer. But that doesn’t mean they won’t gladly steal your data if it’s easy pickings. And think about the confidential information your storage business has that could be vulnerable:
•Tenant names and addresses
•Customer and business financial information
•Employees’ confidential information
Protection doesn’t have to break the bank
Like any other business that relies on computers, the Internet, and other technology, you need to take precautions to reduce your chances of being the target of a cyber-attack. Unfortunately, many small business owners are confused about how these threats impact them, and many think that protecting themselves would require spending a fortune on security measures. So they do nothing and remain vulnerable.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, it’s essential to install virus protection and other cyber security software on your system to protect against malware and viruses. But consider this…
Your biggest cyber threat is your own staff. That means education and training on cyber security measures is absolutely crucial.
An untrained employee is the weakest link in your security chain. It only takes a second for an employee to mistakenly open an infected email, and your whole system would be compromised. Or an employee could be tricked into revealing a password or other confidential information to a caller posing as a computer technician or other professional, giving someone total access to your system. Or what if a disgruntled current or former employee decides to seek revenge and wreak havoc on your system?
If you have employees and you’re using technology, you’re vulnerable. So to keep your self-storage business protected from cyber-attacks, you need to do two things: protect your data and thoroughly train your employees. Change passwords often, use automatic software updates, and develop strict company policies, procedures, and controls for:
•Using the Internet, email, thumb drives, and other technology
•Handling confidential business and customer information
•Giving out information to outsiders
Yes, these measures take time – but they won’t break the bank.
What happens if you get hit?
That depends. How good is your insurance coverage? Your GL policy might provide some very limited coverage, but you likely won’t be covered for breach of confidential information, costs to notify affected individuals, investigative and public relations costs, legal costs, or loss of business income – not to mention the damage to your reputation.
That’s why you need a cyber-policy tailored to your unique business and risks.
Talk to your business insurance partner about a customized cyber policy that will protect your business – and your profits – no matter what the bad guys throw at you. And, of course, always make sure your customers have adequate moving insurance and storage insurance. We’re here to help!