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All it takes is one breach to cost your business seriously.

Why Cyber Insurance is No Longer Optional for Restaurants

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As hard as a business can try to implement new processes, there are no guarantees they are 100 percent protected.
By Jim Loughlin May 2018 Expert Insights

Chili’s was recently inaugurated into a long list of companies that no business wants to be a part of—those that have experienced a data breach. It feels like every day another company is in the news with a breach, grabbing headlines of newspapers, and trending on social media.

While consumers can grow numb to the news—Target, The Home Depot, Whole Foods, Applebee’s, Wyndham Hotels, Panera Bread, Equifax, the list goes on—the concern for businesses only grows, with the threat of a breach constantly looming over them.

Businesses of all sizes are at risk

The headlines and news articles focus on major brands, but the reality is that cyber attacks don’t just affect big businesses or tech companies. Businesses of all sizes—including restaurants—face cyber risks. In fact, according to the Ponemon Institute, 61 percent of small businesses experienced a breach in 2017, and, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60 percent of small and medium businesses that suffer a cyber attack are out of business within six months of a breach.

The harsh reality around the causes

The root cause of the majority of data breaches for small businesses is negligent employees. While businesses can encourage employees to use strong passwords and store information safely and securely, the reality is it is hard to change employee habits.

As hard as a business can try to implement new processes, procedures, and technology, there are no guarantees that they are 100 percent protected, which is why cyber insurance is no longer optional.

In the event of a data breach, companies face hefty fines and expensive legal settlements, not to mention losses resulting from the damage to a brand’s reputation. Businesses run the risk of losing the trust of their customers when they have a breach.

What does cyber liability cover?

Cyber insurance covers a broad range of information security-related claims, including data breaches, network failures, and media or content liability, and it protects businesses from a variety of cyber security breach claims and lawsuits. Those could range from accidental loss of personal information surrounding customers or employees, to online hacking and theft of confidential information (like your customers’ credit card numbers), to even the loss or theft of paper records.

The policy you get should cover expenses relating to the investigation of a data breach, the cost of legal counsel, the cost of communicating the breach to customers—which is required by mail in many states—as well as costs related to business interruption if your network is down and public relations expenses.

These policies also cover third-party costs, including their legal defense costs and resulting settlements and judgments, any liability to banks for re-issuing credit cards and notifying customers, and regulatory fines and penalties. Without the proper insurance, this can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

You can’t afford to ignore cyber threats

As technology becomes more and more ingrained in how businesses operate, it’s time to face the fact that data breaches and network security issues are only going to become more prevalent. As a restaurant owner, you don’t want to get stuck with the bill.

All it takes is one breach, whether it’s as sophisticated as a hacking or as simple as an employee's phone or laptop being stolen, to cost your business seriously. Cyber attacks cost small businesses between $84,000 and $148,000, according to UPS Capital. A cyber insurance policy is a small fraction of the cost a breach has on a business.

Companies make it easy for businesses to understand different policies, get quotes, and buy and manage insurance.

It only takes minutes to get covered and could seriously save your business down the road.

Jim Loughlin is a well-respected insurance industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience. He is currently the Sales Director at CoverWallet, a tech company that makes it easy for businesses to understand, buy and manage insurance online, in minutes.