July 20, 2020

What is cyber liability insurance and do I need it?

Written by Martin Baxter

Cyber liability insurance is one of those things that just didn’t need to exist a few years ago. But as our reliance on the internet and digital technologies in business has grown, it’s a type of cover that’s become necessary. “Yeah,” you’re thinking. “For big online retailers. Not for me. I’m a freelance graphic designer/copywriter/influencer.” Well, we can see why you’d think that and, not long ago, you may have been right. However, as a freelancer who works remotely using your own devices to work with client data – much of which may be sensitive or confidential – you are just as susceptible to cyber breaches (albeit on a smaller scale) as some of the best known online businesses. 

In fact, the government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2019 unveiled that 31% of micro and small businesses identified cyber security breaches or attacks during the last year. Out of these 19% lost files or access to their network, 10% had their website taken down or slowed, and 9% had software or systems corrupted or damaged. 15%, meanwhile, took a day or more to recover from their most disruptive breach and the average annual cost for those that lost data or assets after breaches was £3,650. As a freelancer, could you afford to lose that amount of time or that kind of money? Never mind potential reputational damage. We imagine the answer is definitely not. 

What can I do to protect myself? 

We know you might not be a computer expert, but you don’t have to be to maintain cyber security – especially since, as a freelancer, you’re probably only protecting one or two devices. There are several practical things you can do to protect yourself against cyber security breaches including: 

  • Installing and maintaining antivirus and anti-malware solutions 
  • Ensuring firewall and system configurations are up to scratch 
  • Familiarising yourself with the correct protocols for handling sensitive data 
  • Conducting a cyber risk assessment 
  • Having regular cyber health checks 
  • Getting up close and personal with GDPR compliance 

These require only a basic level of IT knowledge, and much of the information you need can be found through reputable websites. The National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSE) website is a great resource for advice and education, as well as enabling you to find certified products and services. 

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to protect both yourself and your clients from data breaches and, in the event of a cyber attack, it will help your case if you can show you had taken the necessary steps to prevent client data being stolen. 

However, the digital landscape is constantly changing and cyber criminals are forever finding new ways to infiltrate systems and get their hands on data. Never mind the fact that, as a freelancer, you are often working from public spaces such as cafés and libraries that may not have a secure Wi-Fi network (spoiler alert: downloading your client’s confidential customer database in Starbucks is not best practice). For these reasons alone, you should also add cyber liability insurance to your list of protection for both the financial and practical support it can offer. 

What does cyber liability insurance do? 

Cyber liability insurance is here to give you, as a freelancer, peace of mind in the event of a data breach. It offers financial back-up should things go wrong so that you are not personally taking on any monetary risk that could have long-term effects for you both professionally and privately. The cover includes: 

  • Business interruption costs to compensate for any downtime; 
  • System and data rectification costs to help put things right; 
  • Regulatory and defence penalties should you face any legal challenges; 
  • Cyber extortion and ransom costs should you face a breach of this nature. 

Many policies also offer access to an expert helpline who will be able to give practical assistance in the event of a cyber-attack, helping you recover lost data and restore your systems. In short, cyber liability insurance will enable you to fight off and recover from a cyber-attack without it bringing your freelance business crashing down.  

Here at Dinghy, we know peace of mind is paramount when running your own business, which is why we’re launching Cyber Liability. You’ll be able to add it on to your existing insurance or, if you’re not already a customer, take it as part of a new policy. It’s fair, flexible and designed for freelancers. 

To find out more, you can call us on 020 3974 2705 – a landing page with more details is coming soon! 

About Martin Baxter

Read more blog posts by Martin Baxter


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