Business

Firms ‘not fully protected' against fallout of cyber crime

Leslie Dick from Willis Insurance and Risk is joined by Justin Bentley (JCB Consulting) and Lindsey Nelson (CFC Underwriting) at a cyber crime seminar hosted by the Belfast-based broker at the new Titanic Hotel

FIRMS in the north are not fully protected to cope with the repercussions of cyber-attack or data breaches, a seminar led by Belfast-based Willis Insurance and Risk Management has found.

A survey at the breakfast event in the new Titanic Hotel found that a quarter of delegates were aware the companies they represented had sustained some level of cyber-attack in the past - but only 40 per cent had taken out dedicated cyber insurance policies.

Leslie Dick, management risks client director at Willis IRM, said: “Firms are facing an ever-increasing threat from cyber criminals. However, it is not just a case of having the right systems and firewalls in place as you must always account for human error that can be caused by your employees.”

The event heard how the costs associated with a cyber breach can quickly mount up and can include extortion costs, in the case of a ransomware attack, system reinstatement following an outage, as well as the damage to the firm's reputation.”

Speakers included Lindsey Nelson, a cyber security expert from Willis IRM partners, and IT and data consultant Justin Bentley of Lisburn firm JCB Consulting.

Lindsey said: “Cyber insurance has a major role to play in mitigating clients' exposures for their intangible assets and human error is a key element of the exposures that companies face these days.

“A cyber policy is much more than just a wording and is about being proactive and responding when crises do occur.”

The seminar also heard about possible costs resulting from breaches of personal data with new regulations, known as GDPR, set to come into force in 2018 along with penalties of up to £20 million for non-compliance.

The cyber insurance market is already well established in the United States where 90 per cent of firms have a policy in place, but only a small proportion of firms in the UK are covered.

A UK government survey put the average cost of attacks to small businesses at between £65,00 and £115,000 while for larger firms, the cost is typically between £600,000 and £1.15m.

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