Cybersecurity has become an increasingly pressing issue for the safety of businesses and their data in recent years.
The COVID pandemic has permanently altered the world of business to include remote working and a significantly greater dependence on the internet. Cybercriminals have also adapted to these changes, taking advantage of vulnerabilities and gaps in security caused in part by the rapid nature of the transformation. As these campaigns become increasingly professional in nature, cybersecurity must be at the forefront when it comes to planning and operating your business.
Cybersecurity is the process of reducing the risk of being attacked by cybercriminals and aims to protect the connected devices we use and the services we access, either in the office or remotely, from unauthorised access. An attack can have wide ranging implications, including major disruption, financial loss, and reputational harm.
A proactive approach reviewing systems and procedures can help identify any potential weak spots that may be exploited in a cyberattack. A risk-based assessment of your organisation’s information security requirements and action plan can assist in addressing issues. In addition, user awareness training for employees is key to ensuring the risks are minimised, and key principles can become a part of your organisations culture.
Cybersecurity is a key factor when negotiating contracts. Incorporation of the following key provisions can help to ensure your business is covered against threats:
- A cybersecurity breach notification requirement helps to ensure that you will be informed if a supplier suffers an attack. This can give you early warning of potential threats to your organisation and your data.
- Cybersecurity provisions should clearly determine the obligations of both parties throughout a contract, and detail relevant legislation which should be followed.
- An obligation not to introduce viruses and/or vulnerabilities into your network and information systems can help provide contractual protection to ensure the safety of your own systems throughout the duration of a contract and a potential route of recovery in the event that viruses and/or vulnerabilities are introduced in breach of contract.
- Data protection provisions will regulate the handling of data by each of the parties in various circumstances. Whilst being essential to comply with the law, appropriate management of personal data can also save time and money in the long run and help build a trustworthy reputation for your organisation.
Due to the potential damages that may be incurred by a breach of the terms outlined above, it is also important to consider the liability provisions accordingly when entering into contracts. Should your business be the victim of an attack, a post-breach review is a useful means of removing any ongoing threats, as well as addressing any remaining gaps in security.
With the number of attacks ever increasing and evolving in nature, cyber insurance is becoming an ever-important proactive measure businesses can take to help minimise business disruption and provide financial protection during an incident. Furthermore, cyber insurance may help with any legal and regulatory actions your organisation may face following an incident. Adding a policy to your pre-existing security controls can help ensure your business is comprehensively protected.
For more information, please contact Joanna Bouloux (IT), Stephen Netherway (Insurance) or Hetal Ruparelia (Data Protection).