Brokers can help SMEs fight off cyber attacks

by Maryvonne Gray 28 May 2014

Brokers can help SMEs fight off cyber attacks

Insurance industry body ICNZ is urging brokers to work with their business clients to help them fill gaps in their insurance cover that could leave them open to cyber attacks.

After the hacking of NIWA’s supercomputer last week, CEO Tim Grafton says this is proof that New Zealand is not immune to devastating cyber attacks, but SMEs are particularly vulnerable, he said.

“It’s important that New Zealand businesses review their cyber security risks, fully understand the complexities of the very real risks they face and consider appropriate insurance to safeguard their operations and reputation.

“Brokers could also be proactive in helping SMEs to fill the gaps in their insurance cover by making businesses better aware of the full range of insurance solutions that are available to assist commercial enterprises with cyber security risks and losses,” says Grafton.  
 
Cyber-related crimes are believed to have cost New Zealand businesses in excess of $625 million in 2011 and global attacks have increased more than 2000% in the past four years.

Around half originated from the Asia Pacific region and an estimated 75% of organisations in this region experienced a cyber-attack over the past two years, says Grafton.

“Experts are warning that New Zealand is woefully underprepared for the increasing threat of cyber-attacks,” he said, but added that insurance products and assessment procedures were a key line of defence.

“The insurance industry offers cyber risk insurance protection for internet and network exposures that can cover a range of matters including liability, intellectual property infringement, malicious code and viruses, business interruption, unauthorised access, theft, web site defacement and cyber extortion,” says Grafton.

“It’s encouraging that some brokers already offer comprehensive assessment procedures around cyber security,” he said.