Small business data breaches reach all-time high

This article is Sponsored by

Mar 12, 2018, 8:47 AM | Updated: Mar 13, 2018, 1:00 am


Big data breaches seem to be a regular thing in the news now.

With the widespread reports of these stories, however, comes the feeling that data breaches only happen to big corporations with millions of customers. Small businesses with comparatively few customers would hold little interest for hackers, right?

Not so, according to the 2016 Verizon Report. In fact, 59 percent of data breaches happen to small companies, and small business breaches have risen 44 percent in the last two years.

According to a report by the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign, each instance of cyberattack can cost a small business thousands of dollars, which means it doesn’t take many breach incidents to land a small business with no insurance in bankruptcy.

This likely is why 60 percent of small businesses close within six months of a data breach.

How cyberattacks work

Most cyberattacks are not targeted, the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign explained.

“The majority of cybercriminals are indiscriminate; they target vulnerable computer systems regardless of whether the systems are part of a Fortune 500 company, a small business, or belong to a home user.”

Many small business security systems lack the sophistication to keep out even the simplest hacking attack. Often this is because such businesses lack the budget to fund a full-time technical staff or because they don’t have the experience to know what kinds of firewalls and other protections are necessary to keep their customers’ data safe.

Some hackers employ a type of virus known as ransomware, which takes control of a company’s website, critical data and customer records until a ransom — generally several thousand dollars — is paid. Others simply steal customer data and sell it on the dark web to the highest bidder, putting customers at risk of identity theft.

Preventing data breaches

In some ways, preventing online data breaches is a lot like preventing theft from a brick-and-mortar establishment. There are certain basic safety precautions every company should take to keep itself and its customers protected.

Here are some things Homeland Security suggested you do to secure your business:

  • Identify your online weaknesses
  • Back up your sensitive information in remote locations
  • Invest in data loss protection insurance, known as cyber insurance
  • Educate your employees on how to handle sensitive information
  • Require users to create strong passwords and change them regularly
  • Install and run cybersecurity software

One of the most important things you can do is keep your software up to date. Hackers are constantly upping their game, which means you need to, as well.

Benefits of cyber insurance

With so many data breaches occurring nationwide, it may only be a matter of time until your company becomes the victim of one. Having cyber insurance can help alleviate the stress and financial ramifications of such breaches.

A good cyber policy will offer features such as forensic investigation, credit monitoring, public relations assistance, privacy defense and loss prevention resources. Some insurance options also will offer reimbursement of $50,000 to $100,000 in business losses.

What to do after a data breach

The key to minimizing your losses will be quick recognition that the breach has happened. If you have a cyber insurance policy, tell your insurer right away and your carrier will guide you through reporting to law enforcement and legal requirements. If not, you may want help from a technical and even legal team.

The most important step is alerting your customers to the breach. If you have their personal data, you have responsibilities. You or your insurer will want to offer protective services to help redeem yourself in your customers’ eyes. Then take steps to prevent a repeat of the breach in the future. Educate your employees, too, so they know how best to protect your data in the future and keep your company safe.

About CopperPoint: Founded in 1925, CopperPoint Insurance Companies is dedicated to protecting and empowering conscientious business owners. Our vision is to be a top-tier regional commercial insurance company and the preferred partner for business owners, agents and brokers in every community we serve. For over 90 years CopperPoint has been a leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance.  Today we are a multi-line commercial insurance company, offering products such as general liability, property and casualty, crime, inland marine, commercial auto, cyber and employer practices liability insurance to ensure peace of mind to conscientious business owners, their employees and customers. 



Katie Nielsen, Brand Forge

4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches

Cyber-attacks continue to plague organizations nationwide with more than 1,500 breaches reported in 2017. About 55 percent of them targeted businesses, but every industry sector experienced attacks including 24 percent in the healthcare industry, 8 percent in education, 8 percent in financial and about 5 percent in government and military, according to Breaches can […]

6 years ago


Bruce Trethewy from CopperPoint

Protecting your business from equipment breakdowns

When you run a business, an equipment failure resulting in lost productivity translates into lost revenue. Whether it’s a convenience store, a restaurant, a manufacturing plant, a construction site and any job in between, all kinds of equipment are used for everything from moving dirt to keeping food at the right temperature, from point-of-sales devices […]

6 years ago


C. Renee, Business Writer

The many ways umbrella insurance protects your business

Just as you wouldn’t want to get caught in the rain without cover, you wouldn’t want to find you don’t have enough coverage in the case of a liability claim against your business. The common theme here is an umbrella, and in the event of a liability claim or lawsuit, it’s better to have cover. […]

6 years ago


C.Renee Business Writer

5 ways to prevent embezzlement

Whether you’re running a small or large company, employee theft is one of the most prevalent types of theft in the country. In fact, according to a recent embezzlement study, 55 percent of employee theft happens to businesses with less than 500 employees with small and medium-sized businesses the most at risk. It’s important to […]

6 years ago


Bobbie Fox, Associate General Counsel for CopperPoint Insurance Companies

Fair Wages Act affects more than minimum wage for business owners

The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act became effective July 1, 2017 and raised the minimum wage to $10 on January 1, 2017, and then incrementally, to $12 by 2020.

6 years ago


Flint Stephens, Writer for Brandforge

5 safety pitfalls putting your business at risk

Some jobs are harder than others, but one thing is certain, injury should never be considered “all in a day’s work.” That said, millions of Americans are hurt on the job each year. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015; […]

7 years ago

Small business data breaches reach all-time high