I receive e-mails periodically from industry sources that share information on various insurance topics. One thing that’s certain is that communication has changed since I entered the industry. From the not-so-green printed manuals to Facebook and digital newsletters, information flows fast and furious with no end in sight.
For companies, items such as private employee information, corporate information, and financial data can now be transmitted by a single press of a button. Bank tellers are in some cases going by the way of the dodo bird when it comes to customer interaction. But with these new technological advancements, there is a definite down side.
We have all heard the urban legends of folks taking mail from mailboxes, only to discover that these people had stolen thousands of letters over a period of years. The stalking around a mailbox has been replaced by an unmasked criminal peering into your business by way of a computer monitor. This new type of “cybercriminal” can do much more harm to a business, as information can be taken without a person’s knowledge leaving their company, reputation, and financial position in ruins.
Symantec, the largest maker of security software, states in their 2011 Cybercrime Report that over $388 billion was lost last year as a result of cybercrime, which includes $274 billion in time value spent securing lost money and information. In comparison, cybercrime is poised to overtake global drug trafficking as the single most costly crime in the world. There are over 1,000,000 victims of cybercrime a DAY (that’s 14 victims a second!), and it is estimated that the odds of an online consumer becoming a victim of cybercrime in a year is 1 in 2.27.
Cybercrime can be committed both outside and inside your organization. Much of the protection you can provide your business comes from utilization of security software, where threats can be warded off and recorded for review. Depending on the type of business you have (i.e. networks, fund transfers, larger operations, etc.), you may want to consult a computer expert for assistance. Some companies even have Information Technology (IT) departments that specifically address these types of issues on a larger, more formal scale.
It is also important that your company protects itself from theft or misuse of information by utilizing passwords, restricting website usage, and having written procedures on computer use.
Take a moment to review your operation and see if and how you are protected. Discuss this important issue with your insurance agent, as they may be able to provide assistance. In some cases, insurance may be available to protect you in the event of cybercrime.
Have you been the victim of a cybercrime, either personally or at your workplace? Please share your stories with us. Cybercrime is a frightening event, as you are usually unaware it has happened until it is too late and the damage can be irreparable.