Nationwide is on the side of small business when it comes to cybersecurity. Lu Yarbrough III, associate vice president, Enterprise Diverse & Cause Marketing, told BLACK ENTERPRISE in a recent interview that the leading small business insurer has extended protection for such companies, whether they’re startups or established firms.
“One of the things that you want to do when you’re starting out is to make sure that the company you’re building is sustainable. You also want to be in a position that if you want to transfer it in the future that your business and legacy continues beyond you,” he says. “The only way you can do that is to protect it, from natural disasters, cyber [threats] and all those unforeseeable things that can happen.”
In today’s increasingly hyper-connected business environment, cybersecurity will rise to the top of the list of major business challenges. The increased business applications of A.I. (artificial intelligence), drones, robotics, and other technologies will mean greater potential for attacks since they offer cybercriminals varied access points to a given company’s IT infrastructure. According to Nationwide, 91% of business owners use one of these technologies.
In its recently-released fourth annual Business Owner Survey, while the number of self-reported cyberattacks against small and medium-sized companies polled declined four percentage points year-over-year, the number of entrepreneurs unconcerned with such actions rose, with an 18 percentage point year-over-year difference—22% in 2017 versus 40% in 2018. Those entrepreneurs who were “very unconcerned” grew nearly 50%—9% in 2017 versus 17% in 2018. Along with this diminished concern, 65% of business owners do not have a dedicated employee or vendor in place to monitor for hacking events—an 8-percentage point increase from 2017.
The Nationwide’s study, which surveyed 1,000 business owners with between 1-499 workers, found that although 9% indicated their firms had been a cyberattack victim when asked directly, 50% said their company experienced at least one type of harmful cyber incident when given a list of the range of such risks.
Yarbrough emphasizes that such activity should be a major focus of all business owners—including African American entrepreneurs—and that they must take necessary precautions, especially since computers, tablets, and other digital assets are vital to business operations and represent devices that make companies more susceptible to cyberattacks.
“We talk to small businesses. We figure out what’s important to them and find out what they are doing and aren’t doing. When it comes to cybersecurity, one of the things we’ve learned is there’s some simple things that they can do to improve their odds of not being attacked,” Yarbrough told BE at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, which Nationwide served as the host sponsor last June. “One of them is just physically protecting those [digital] assets, making sure that somebody who doesn’t have the best interest of the business in mind cannot get hold of their devices, computers, and laptops.”
Another step that small business owners can take is accessing Nationwide.com to gain more information on available insurance as another layer of financial protection if their digital operations and customer’s information are compromised. According to the website, the following are four different types of coverage small business owners should consider:
- Businessowners Policy. It incorporates multiple forms of insurance into a single package, offering coverage related to a range of digital threats. You can customize your package with the options listed below.
- Commercial property insurance. With a basic policy, Nationwide offers overall protection to physical assets on premises—whether entrepreneurs own or lease the property. Also, if computer equipment is damaged or stolen, business owners you can receive payment based on its replacement cost or actual cash value.
- Cyber liability insurance. The policy not only protects a company’s electronic data and computer systems but also customer information. Data compromise coverage safeguards employee and customer data in the event that it has been hacked, stolen, or exposed due to procedural error. And identity recovery protection enables victims to recover from such breaches through reimbursement of lost wages, legal fees, and other costs. Lastly, cybersecurity liability insurance protects your small business from damages related to viruses and other computer attacks.
- Equipment Breakdown Insurance or Data Processing Coverage. In the instance of hardware malfunction, it will reimburse entrepreneurs for the time and labor involved in replacing or repairing damaged equipment as well as cover income losses and other expenses associated with business interruption.
In the video below, Yarbrough’s shares other measures to protect your company from cyberthreats as well as tips on how to help your company engage in proper digital hygiene.