The face of business has changed beyond recognition over the last few years. 

Driven by the pandemic, digital commerce has grown exponentially and the way that we communicate across our global networks has evolved significantly. 

According to Gallup’s global workplace report, eight out of 10 employees continue to enjoy the benefits of working from home and largely stay in touch online through shared networks, video conferencing and apps such as slack. 

Thanks to ChatGPT, AI has finally taken the world by storm too and now writes our sales emails, weekly blog posts and even songs in the style of Nick Cave for the ever-insatiable social media appetite. Everything that we do, say and write, digitally connects us to each other somehow.  

But within this increasingly interconnected businesstopia lurks a growing threat. 

Data from international software provider, Check Point revealed that cyber attacks on corporate networks increased by 38 percent in the last quarter of 2022, attributing the surge to the exploitation of online collaboration tools by small and agile hacker and ransomware gangs. 

And we don’t need to look further than the beginning of 2023 to see evidence of this on a major scale; the Royal Mail was this years’ earliest victim of a ransomware attack. 

Businesses were left in limbo for more than a week after Russian-linked hacker group LockBit used malicious software of the same name to steal and encrypt data from the postal company. 

The spread of the malware through the Royal Mail’s systems left parcels destined for international clients gathering dust, impacting the company’s supply chain and costing it millions. 

With such a high profile organisation appearing so vulnerable to the threat of cyber attacks, how can you ensure your business is sufficiently protected? 

“Having cyber insurance in place is one of the best ways to cover your business or organisation should it become victim to a cyber attack,” said Angela Irvine, sales director at Birmingham-based insurance broker, The Bletchley Group. 

“Unfortunately, cyber crime is an inescapable problem in the digital world so your best defence is to financially cover yourself rather than leave it to chance.”

Cyber insurance is an important consideration even if you are sure there’s no risk. From simple phishing emails to malware downloads and even AI writing assistants like ChatGPT, the opportunities for cyber attacks are more plentiful and diverse than you might think. 

To help you stay one step ahead, here is a breakdown of tips on how to protect your business.

Stay updated 

Ensure that your business has the latest software and security measures for protection against the most sophisticated cybercrimes. As part of this, you need to stay vigilant and be aware of the most recent research and reports so that your business is prepared for the worst. Any cybersecurity strategy needs to be up to date and shared so that all staff understand the risks. 

Team training 

Your staff and their connectivity are your eyes and ears to the most recent cyber trends. Providing staff training on the different kinds of cyber attacks, mitigation measures and the importance of keeping software updated is key.

Developing a crisis response plan which is consistently maintained and is understood by your teams should be high on your agenda too. A culture that is well-informed is well-protected.

The worst is yet to come

Be proactive by implementing a comprehensive security plan, using a multi-factor authentication system, data encryption, regularly patch systems and always back up your data. Doing so will significantly reduce the risk of your systems being compromised by cybercriminals.

Insure to ensure

There is no way to be certain that your company won’t suffer a cyberattack but having the right insurance is essential. A full cyber policy covers cyber extortion, meeting ransom demands, data recovery costs, business interruption, costs of informing clients of data breaches, the costs involved in credit monitoring and regulatory fines or penalties. 

This article was featured by the Institute of Export & International Trade.