Cyberattacks increase on businesses – large and small
Efforts to protect your business should increase, too.
A recent report on data breaches says that 58% of malware attack victims are categorized as small businesses. And the attacks are increasing: 61% of small businesses have experienced a cyber breach in the past 12 months – up from 55% in 2016.
With this kind of data, it’s no wonder that the MAIN STREET (Making Available Information Now to Strengthen Trust and Resilience and Enhance Enterprise Technology) Cybersecurity Act of 2017 has been proposed. Once law, it will require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide cybersecurity resources specifically geared for small businesses.
But rather than wait for Congress to enact legislation or – worse – for cyber criminals to target your business, take time now to refresh your digital protection and make investments in software where needed. Check your computers’ security system and networks and ensure each computer has up-to-date antivirus software installed. Make sure operating systems and browsers have automatic updates enabled and personal firewall protection is turned on.
Take it from Uncle Sam …
Outside the walls of Congress, the U.S. government is also working to help businesses stem the rising tide of internet security threats. In its Privacy & Data Security Update: 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that it has distributed millions of copies of educational materials describing ongoing threats to security and privacy and, more importantly, how to address them. Business-specific education and guidance materials released in 2017 include (along with some convenient links):
- Stick with Security: A Business Blog Series – Created to expand the FTC’s Start with Security business guidance, the blog offers additional insight into the 10 Start with Security principles based on the lessons of recent law enforcement actions, closed investigations, and experiences of companies.
- Protecting Small Business – This newly launched site includes educational materials to help businesses stay ahead of the latest scams, reduce the risks from cyber threats, keep customer data safe and respond in case of a data breach.
- Visit: ftc.gov/about-ftc/bureaus-offices/bureau-consumerprotection/small-businesses
- FTC videos – Five videos cover data protection topics like how the NIST Cybersecurity Framework aligns with the FTC’s work on data security, how to respond if your business is impersonated in a phishing scam, how businesses can defend against ransomware, using email authentication to prevent phishing emails from getting through to your customers, and steps companies should take to respond to a data breach.
- Visit: ftc.gov/news-events/audio-video/business
Although the thought of warding off cybercrime can seem daunting, promoting safe internet usage and taking measures to protect your company’s information now can protect you from costly and timely security breaches down the road.
- Review the current virus protection on your company’s computers to ensure it’s up to date.
- Use the provided links to visit the FTC’s website for helpful information.
- Talk with your employees about your plan for data security and their role in keeping data safe.
GUIDING BUSINESS, PROTECTING CONSUMERS FROM CYBERCRIME – AND MORE
The FTC is an independent U.S. law enforcement agency charged with protecting consumers and enhancing competition across broad sectors of the economy. This includes a wide array of practices affecting consumers, including those that emerge with the development of new technologies and business models – such as cybersecurity guidance for business.
That’s why, along with information about protecting your business from cyber threats, the FTC’s Privacy & Data Security Update: 2017 report also contains other valuable information important to your business and your customers. For your complete PDF copy of the report, visit ftc.gov and search Privacy & Data Security Update.
Sources: The Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report and the Ponemon Institute’s 2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-Sized Businesses report
Approved for All Ages
With people living and working longer than ever, it makes sense to have a work environment where every generation feels welcome, happy and productive.
As people are living longer and working later in life, four generations are sharing a workspace for the first time in history. With experiences and viewpoints that span seven decades, 15,500 employees that range from the Silent Generation to Generation Y were asked what, to them, is most important at work. Not surprisingly, the four disparate generations rarely agreed, but their answers did offer some insight into the ideal office of the future.
Six Metrics That Matter
Representing three United States-based multinational companies in 40 countries, respondents weighed in on the importance of these workplace features:
What the Future Holds
Knoll Workplace Research suggests we will be seeing the trends below in mainstream offices soon, if we haven’t already.
Choice: The office will provide features, technology and policies that enhance the freedom to decide how, where and when employees work. Training will center on using space and technology wisely.
Experience: The workplace will shift from supporting function to creating an environment that embraces the social and emotional components of work.
Integrated Work: Spaces will support working in individual and group settings. The future office will have an active feel, with a constant flow of people in and out of the space.
Dispersed Spaces: Easily accessible, multi-use spaces will be sprinkled throughout. Many offices already have something along this line: an open landscape with some offices, as well as formal and informal meeting areas.
- Take stock of your current workforce to see what your current age range is.
- Consider mentoring as a way to get generations working together and to build understanding between younger and older workers – everyone has something to contribute.
- In a casual and unimposing way, have conversations with employees about their current work environment – you can use the metrics above as a conversation starter and make sure to encourage candor.
Source: Knoll Workplace Research, “Generational Preferences: A Glimpse into the Future Office”
When the wind blows … or worse
A volcano in Hawaii, wildfires in the West, floods in the Midwest, hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, snowstorms in the Northeast – what’s a business to do?
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25% fail within one year. But it doesn’t take a natural disaster to put a business in the dark. So what, exactly, is a business to do? Plan.
There’s a Policy For That
A good place to start is with property hazard or general liability insurance. General liability combines coverage for damaged property and for people, should someone on the premises suffer bodily injury. Keep in mind that these policies may need to be supplemented with additional policies or riders to help your business recover after a disruption.
The following are examples of expenses a business may incur that would not be covered by property insurance:
- Ongoing payroll payments to salaried employees
- Lease or mortgage and utility payments at your regular location
- Relocation expenses, rent and utilities for a temporary building
- The costs of products and materials you may need to replace your current inventory; frequently vendors charge higher prices and delivery surcharges to get them to you quickly
- The expense of recreating or reassembling business, financial and legal records lost due to the disaster
Ask your insurance agent about riders to an existing policy or specific insurance that may cover these situations.
Business interruption, catastrophe, or business income insurance protects you from profit losses and is available for two scenarios: Loss of income because business operations are interrupted, and the reimbursement of expenses you incur in an effort to keep your business going. It can also cover employee salaries.
A comprehensive all-risk policy covers damage caused by all types of perils, and any exceptions will be named within the policy. But read the fine print because it may specifically name coverage exceptions, like earthquake and flood damage. Some policies allow you to include additional perils for an extra fee. Note, however, that all flood policies are offered through the federal flood insurance program.
A business owner policy (BOP) can be customized to combine several different insurance policies under one umbrella. You can generally receive a lower single premium and easier administration with a BOP, which may include property insurance, business interruption insurance, vehicle coverage and professional liability.
Make it Your Policy to Plan
Be ready for anything with a business continuity plan. This is vital for your business to prepare for, survive and recover from any type of disaster. To get started, consider using free resources available at disastersafety.org. Then share the plan with employees, assign responsibilities and offer training so everybody knows what to do.
Of course there’s far more that can be done and more planning that can take place. For additional information, visit the IBHS website at disastersafety.org. They provide a wealth of tools (they call toolkits), resources, links and ideas that can help you get started.
- Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have sufficient coverage.
- Create a continuity plan and review it with your employees.
- Choose a remote site at which to store critical information/ data, files, product/inventory, etc.
- Talk with your advisor about coordinating policies – based on your overall financial plan – with your broker and setting up a contingency fund for quick access to funds immediately after an unforeseen event.
Material prepared by Raymond James for use by its advisors. Raymond James is not affiliated with any companies mentioned in this material.
There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss.
Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.