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Most unprepared for cyber attack

17 May 2017

Eighty-eight percent of New Zealand business owners are unaware that they can insure their businesses against cyber attacks, which can put their livelihoods and business’ reputation at risk.

NZI’s research- of 200 New Zealand business leaders showed that while they are becoming increasingly concerned about connectivity, they are doing little to protect their businesses should they be hit by a ransomware attack.

Ryan Clark, NZI’s National Manager Liability, says that as a country we are lagging behind in terms of the take up of cyber insurance, and businesses really need to think beyond insuring just bricks and mortar.

"Our research has found that connectivity and data protection is what is increasingly keeping business owners awake at night, but few are taking steps to ensure their businesses could survive a cyber attack. Of greater concern smaller businesses that are less likely to bounce back from an attack, are the least likely to insure against them."

Only 6% of SMEs in New Zealand have cyber insurance, compared with 14% in Australia - leaving many Kiwi companies vulnerable to the devastating impacts of an attack. This is despite the Symantec Cyber Security Survey revealing that virtually the same percentage of small businesses (19% in Australia versus 18% in NZ) have experienced a cyber attack.

"It is very concerning that such a small amount of SMEs are insured for a cyber attack when the threat is clearly imminent. Doing business online exposes companies to risks they may not have even considered. When these risks become a reality, the damage can have devastating consequences for their business," Mr Clark says.

"There is a clear disconnect between New Zealand businesses and cyber attacks being a relevant threat. When we analysed search engine trends last year we literally saw only a few hundred searches on key terms, even given the emerging issues and publicity in relation to cyber threats in New Zealand."

"When a crisis strikes companies need support to get back up and running, which is why cyber insurance is so crucial in the world we live in today. Gone are the days where businesses only need to consider fire, flood, theft and health and safety."

Mr Clark says the current global cyber attack - believed to be the biggest online extortion scheme ever recorded - proves that cyber risk is a very real threat no matter where in the world you are.

"This is a reminder to us all about the importance of having the right cyber insurance protection. Businesses can protect themselves from a number of cyber exposures from ransomware and hacking attacks, viruses, privacy breaches and theft of data," he said.


 - Fuseworks Media

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