Proactive Cyber Security

Kim Hill
by Kim Hill, Director, Underwriting Operations, Main Street America Insurance •

These days, cyber threats are a concern for businesses of all sizes. In fact, 64% of companies have experienced web-based attacks and 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. How you choose to handle cybersecurity threats says a lot about your business and can be the difference between a quick recovery and a serious crisis.

The best way for a business to tackle cyber security is to be proactive! Should a breach happen and your team is unprepared, it can lead to longer response times, more trouble for your customers and potential damage to your business.

With proactive cyber defense, you will have the opportunity to put a plan in place. You can take the right steps now to secure your customers’ data, helping prevent a breach in the first place. Doing so will ensure that if a breach occurs, your team will be better equipped to handle the response and have the right cyber insurance coverage in place to protect your customers and your business.

What is a Cyber Breach?

A cyber breach, also called a data breach, is a security violation affecting the sensitive data collected during day-to-day business operations. This can be anything from viewing to distributing or even stealing personal information for personal gain.

For example, a data breach at a clothing store may involve anything from accessing payroll information to selling the stored debit and credit card information of your customers. For a doctor's office, it could mean sensitive medical records, insurance, addresses and other personal information.

Types of Cybersecurity Threats

The most common types of cybersecurity threats include:


Like the name suggests, malware is malicious software introduced to your system in an effort to compromise the security and confidentiality of your stored data. Malware is often difficult to detect until it causes extensive damage and disruptions to your business.

How it happens: A common malware scheme involves sending an email with a bad attachment. When an employee at your business clicks to open the attachment, they are really downloading the malware onto the device, allowing it to gain access to your network.


If recent data breaches are any indication, ransomware is becoming an increasingly large threat for many industries. Ransomware is a type of malware, but rather than quietly accessing your private data, it shuts down systems – demanding payment in exchange for returning system access. In some cases, if the ransom isn’t paid, scammers will destroy the data.

How it happens: Like malware, ransomware is also introduced to devices through emails or websites that contain suspicious links, attachments or downloads.


We’ve all seen phishing emails — attempts to lure users to third-party sites to obtain personal information. Phishing can be subtle. The email or call you receive may seem legitimate, appearing to come from someone trusted and asking for personal information or money.

How it happens: An employee receives an email seemingly from the company CEO asking for confirmation of private employee credentials. The employee misses a typo in the sender’s address that indicates a phishing scheme and responds, putting your systems at risk of attack.

How to Prevent Cyber Attacks

The great news is that proactive cyber defense is actually fairly simple. Here are some tips for how to prevent cyber attacks on your business:

Have a Plan

Don’t wait for a breach to happen. Instead, come up with a plan for how your staff will actively work to prevent breaches, how you’ll respond internally in the event of a cyber attack and how you’ll work with your customers (if necessary) to recover.

Up Your Security

Restrict access to sensitive data to only those who need it. Secure your systems with unique credentials for each employee and change passwords often. Conduct regular trainings with your staff on cyber security and risk prevention.

Review and Improve

Regularly review your security protocols and make changes when necessary to protect your staff and business. And don’t forget to keep software up-to-date with the latest updates and patches to avoid leaving your systems vulnerable to attack.

The Importance of Cyber Insurance Coverage

One of the best things you can do for your business is invest in cyber insurance coverage. Cyber security insurance coverage helps protect your business in the event of a data breach by helping to restore identities, recover compromised data and even repair damaged computer systems so you can get back to work faster.

Learn more and speak to an independent insurance agent today to set up cyber insurance coverage.