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Data breach: Are you protected?

Sep 23 2011

Michael Murphy  President

According to the Massachusetts Attorney General, over two million Massachusetts residents were impacted by data breaches since January 2010. 25% of these incidents involved deliberate hacking of computer systems, and 15% involved theft of customer credit card numbers from retailers. In addition, data was lost through thefts or accidental loss of laptops, paper documents or other unauthorized access.

The Sony data breach earlier this year compromised the personal data of more than 100 million customers, exposing them to the risk of identity theft. With information including name, birth date and other personal information, it’s difficult to know how long this threat could exist. Some project that Sony could lose $50+ million between cost of repairs, additional marketing costs and potential lost business.

Sony is a corporate giant, but it could happen to any business…even yours. A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that of 761 cyber attacks reported in 2010, 482 were at companies that had less than 100 employees. According to a Ponemon Institute Cost of Cyber Crime Study, a data breach costs a business an average of $204 per customer record. Also, 15% of data breaches are inside jobs according to Kroll, a London based consultancy firm.

Every business that maintains customer or employee personal and financial account information needs to be prepared and protected. Has your business taken steps to comply with the Massachusetts Personal Information Privacy law (MA 201 CMR 17) regulating personal private information? Also, if your company is involved in online web or social media services; IT consulting; systems or software development and maintenance; or other data management, are you properly protected should one of your customers experience a breach?

Given the potential threats, proper operational planning is essential for prevention. However, despite efforts to protect data and systems, it’s still possible that a data breach could occur. To help manage your financial risk, consider purchasing a cyber liability policy. It provides coverage for a variety of data security risks including:

  • Accidental release of confidential customer information
  • Spreading a virus into a customer’s computer system
  • Theft of customer’s credit card or banking account numbers

To learn more about cyber liability insurance, contact us online or call us to speak with an associate.  Once we understand your business’ needs, we’ll be glad to provide you with a custom quote.

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