*This article was originally published in Columbus Business First’s Power Breakfast on Feb. 10, 2022.

Cyber threats to businesses continue to rise, due in part to more companies adopting a work-from-home policy in response to the global pandemic. While working remotely has allowed companies to remain functional and stay connected, it has also created an environment that puts them at greater risk.

Not all employees working remotely have the proper security measures or firewalls in place that they have in the office. They’re using multiple devices—computers, smartphones and other portable devices—to communicate, share and store information, which can expose them and their employers to malware, ransomware and phishing scams.

As recent news reports of high-profile data breaches have shown, the implications are far-reaching and include exposing trade secrets, company data and financial information. As well, employee and client information, such as social security numbers, retirement benefits and credit card information, is at risk. The impacts can be devastating taking into account the costs, damages and disruption to day-to-day operations.

Tighter restrictions

Regardless of size or industry, no business or organization is immune. Cyber hackers don’t discriminate. With increased dependence on interconnectedness, having the proper cybersecurity coverage is imperative.

Because of demand and the rise in cybersecurity claims, insurance premium costs are rising—upwards of 20 to 30 percent. Obtaining or renewing a policy can be more challenging, and ransomware coverage is often a separate supplement and subject to limitations.

Take inventory

Unfortunately, business owners mistakenly think their policies include cybersecurity only to find out too late that they don’t. Rapidly changing markets, however, demand that business owners examine their existing policies. If your company’s policy hasn’t been updated within the last year, invest the time to make necessary adjustments or add cybersecurity coverage to protect you, your employees and your customers.

Insurance professionals should be well-versed on policy coverages and educate clients in a clear and concise manner. Cybersecurity policies cover financial losses resulting from cyber-attacks. Associated costs could include remediation, legal help, investigators, crisis communication and customer returns. Knowing exactly what is and is not covered could mean the difference in whether your business survives a cyber-attack.

Be prepared, plan ahead

Experts advise educating employees and establishing a plan to protect against and respond to potential cybersecurity threats. Below is a handful of guidelines to put in place:

  • Train employees on security principles.
  • Avoid clicking on or opening unsolicited emails, and be wary of attachments and sender addresses.
  • Never give out personal or financial information via email.
  • Establish an internal and external communication plan so IT personnel can respond quickly and effectively.
  • Use only trusted internet sources to verify or search for factual information.
  • Use antivirus software and internet firewalls.
  • Make backup copies of important data.
  • Control physical access to your devices and update passwords frequently.
  • Have the right cyber insurance coverage in place.

Dan Overmyer, CPIA, CLCS, is a partner with Overmyer Hall Associates, a leading property and casualty insurance agency in Central Ohio. Connect with Dan on LinkedIn here.


About Overmyer Hall Associates

Overmyer Hall Associates is one of the fastest growing agencies in the country, quickly becoming one of the largest property and casualty insurance agencies in Central Ohio. Overmyer Hall Associates provides clients with insurance and risk management, specializing in Business Insurance, Surety Bonding, and Home & Auto Insurance. Since its founding in 2011, the firm has been awarded Columbus Business First’s “Fast 50” and “Best Places to Work” awards, the IIABA’s “Best Practices Agency” recognition, Columbus CEO Magazine’s “Best Insurance Broker” and the Columbus Young Professionals Club’s “Wonderful Workplace for Young Professionals” award. www.oh-ins.com