It has been a dark few weeks for Atlanta, after suffering one of the most crippling cyberattacks ever thrust upon a major American city.
The vicious ransomware attack encrypted scores of city files with the SamSam virus and barred access to multiple municipal departments, including important court services. Atlanta’s water department was forced to take down its website as a result of the attack, telling residents the site “will be offline for server maintenance and updates until further notice.”
According to WSB-TV, the cyberattack was also causing problems for the Atlanta Police Department’s evidence department, with some people reporting difficulties retrieving items seized by the police as evidence. The disruptive ripples of this attack are wide reaching.
“The major cyberattacks in Atlanta are a great example for showing that preparedness is key. They were not ready on the planning or prevention side of things, and, unfortunately, they weren’t prepared to remediate and recovery quickly from the attacks either,” commented Keith Moore, CEO of CyberPolicy.
“In today’s market, cyber security is extremely complex. The best plan of attack is to have really strong allies and partners who can help businesses understand their complex planning, prevention and cyber insurance needs.”
CyberPolicy is a cyber insurance and security solution for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Its mission is to help small businesses “Plan, Prevent, Insure,” in order to avoid potentially catastrophic business shut-down scenarios like those experienced in Atlanta.
The company recently unveiled a new set of complimentary offerings to help SMBs protect themselves against cyber threats, including: a CyberCheckup, external web scans, expert guidance on cyber best practices, educational resources, and access to tools and guidance on how to bridge cyber security gaps.
“Many small business owners assume cyber threats won’t happen to them, but, in reality, they’re the most vulnerable because their security solutions aren’t as comprehensive as they need to be,” said Moore. “They’re often hyper-focused on what they do well, and struggle to think about the complex nuances of cyber security.
“If SMBs look at the potential risk of losing business because of a cyberattack - Atlanta being a good example of this – they will realize that not being able to operate for several days could put them out of business quickly. Cyber insurance not only helps SMBs cover the loss of revenue as a result of business interruption, but it also helps them remediate a situation and recover quickly.”
Education plays a key role in cyber insurance uptake, according to Moore. At present, only around 10% of SMBs in the US have commercial insurance protection, let alone cyber insurance. This is where trusted advisors, like insurance brokers and independent agents, can really make a difference.
“No matter the size of a business or the scope of cyber security solutions it has in place, there’s always a risk of being hacked,” Moore told Insurance Business. “The most important thing is for businesses to have the right cyber insurance policy in place to help them monitor, identify, remediate and recover as quickly as possible.
“With regards to the Atlanta incident, the city could have been back up and running potentially within 24-48 hours, but, unfortunately, the process took a lot longer than that because they didn’t have the right allies or trusted advisors in place to help them with the process.”