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Monthly Archives: August 2017

Manufacturing is a Top Target for Cyber Criminals

Cyber security is a top-of-mind risk for organizations of all sizes and across all industries. This is especially true for manufacturers, as it is an industry norm for organizations to quickly adopt new, more efficient technologies—technologies that are often a target of cyber criminals.

In fact, according to the Insurance Institute of Canada, manufacturing is one of the top industries targeted by cyber criminals. While specific cyber exposures for manufacturers vary, they typically relate to the categories outlined in this article.

Data and Intellectual Property Loss

Almost every business stores sensitive information. For manufacturers, this typically includes personally identifiable information of employees and customers. Items like names, addresses and credit card information are all at risk in the event of a data breach.

A data breach can occur as the result of a number of incidents, including hacking, the loss of a laptop and unauthorized employee access. Data breaches can be incredibly costly for manufacturers, and expenses related to forensics, notification costs, public relations, crisis management, and fines and penalties can add up quickly.

What’s more, the theft of intellectual property (IP) is a top concern among manufacturers. If IP is stolen during a data breach, organizations risk losing their competitive advantage. IP is often a manufacturer’s most valuable asset—an asset that needs constant protection.

Further complicating matters for manufacturers is that systems are becoming increasingly connected, and sophisticated spear phishing attacks, mobile device challenges and state-sponsored attacks have each elevated the risk of IP theft.

Employee Negligence

One of the most important aspects of any manufacturing operation is its people. However, due to constantly advancing technology and the frequency at which employees are permitted to bring their own devices to work, manufacturers are increasingly exposed to new and disruptive cyber threats.

Four of the top 10 cyber threats facing organizations can occur as the result of employee negligence. Phishing scams, the abuse of IT systems, errors and omissions, and the unsecure use of mobile devices can all occur if employees are improperly trained or wish to do an organization harm.

Industrial Control Systems and Connected Devices

​Industrial control systems are command network and system devices designed to monitor and control industrial processes. These systems are designed to promote efficiency and are often connected to the internet. While this connectivity is essential in modern manufacturing operations, it has created a new exposure for businesses to consider.

This type of exposure was demonstrated in late 2014, when hackers were able to take over the control systems at a German steel mill through the use of phishing emails. The hackers were then able to disrupt the control system to such a degree that a blast furnace could not be properly shut down, which, in turn, lead to an explosion and massive physical damage to the plant. This incident illustrates just how complex cyber exposures can be for manufacturers.

Additional Risks

In addition to the risks above, there are a number of cyber threats in the manufacturing industry that can negatively impact an organization’s bottom line without warning. The following are some risks to be aware of:

  1. Third-party damages. When connecting with customers and vendors online, third-party damages can occur. Third-party damages can take various forms, but often occur when a virus is transmitted to another company or customer. When this happens, your organization could be held liable for any damages.
  2. Business interruptions. Manufacturing businesses often require the use of computer systems, and a disaster can halt your ability to transmit data and lead to lost revenue. Time and resources that normally would have gone elsewhere will need to be directed toward the problem, which could result in further losses. This is especially important as denial-of-service attacks by hackers have been on the rise. Such attacks block access to certain websites by either rerouting traffic to a different site or overloading an organization’s server.
  3. Cyber extortion. Hackers can hijack websites, networks and stored data, denying access to you or your customers. They often demand money to restore your systems to working order. Because a variety of manufacturing projects are time sensitive, delays of any kind can wreak havoc on an organization’s bottom line.

Protecting Yourself with the Right Coverage

To protect your business, cyber liability insurance should be used as part of your overall risk management strategy so you can address a cyber breach quickly and reduce possible damages. The following are possible exposures that may be covered by a typical cyber liability policy:

  • Data breaches
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Damages to a third-party system
  • System failure
  • Cyber extortion
  • Business interruption

Cyber liability insurance is specifically designed to address the risks that come with using modern technology—risks that other types of business liability coverage simply won’t cover.

The level of coverage your business needs is based on your individual operations and your range of exposure. It is important to work with a broker who can identify your areas of risk so a policy can be tailored to fit your situation.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

Social Media Security Tips for Businesses

Social media is common tool for businesses and can be used to increase customer engagement, gain immediate market feedback, improve search engine visibility and increase sales. However, social media can create a number of security and privacy challenges for organizations and their employees.

In order to keep your business’s sensitive information safe, consider doing the following:

  1. Incorporate social media security strategies into an overall cyber security training program. Ensure that your employees are aware of your company’s overall social media strategy.
  2. Create secure passwords. Consider using numbers and uppercase and lowercase letters in your passwords. Avoid using the same password on multiple sites.
  3. Keep your anti-virus software up to date.
  4. Train employees on phishing scams and on how to protect their usernames and passwords from cyber criminals.
  5. Use lists and privacy settings. Many social networking sites allow businesses to limit social media access to certain user groups.
  6. Filter carefully. On most social networking sites, users have control over their posts but not over what others decide to share. Think carefully about the image you are trying to portray and whether other users’ postings help or hurt that image. Talk to your employees about the impact others’ postings may have on their image and how it could jeopardize their job.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

Benefits of Creating Accessible Workplaces

Recruiting and retaining skilled talent can be a challenge for businesses—especially as markets are faced with an aging workforce and a lack of young talent. One way organizations can strengthen their workforce and navigate this difficult recruitment landscape is by hiring individuals with disabilities.

There are both direct and indirect benefits for businesses that establish accessible employment practices, including the following:

  • Access to a large talent pool. According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada, approximately 3.8 million Canadians are affected by a disability. From a hiring perspective, this represents a major market, as those with disabilities are three times more likely to be unemployed than those without a disability.
  • Improved revenue and cost savings. Accessible employment practices have been shown to have a positive impact on an organization’s bottom line. Research has shown that companies that invest in accessible employment practices reported a number of benefits, including the following:
    • Higher retention and lower turnover
    • Improved attendance
    • Enhanced job performance and work quality
    • Better safety records
  • A positive brand image. Inclusiveness matters to consumers. As such, demonstrating that you care about diversity can improve customer loyalty and distinguish you from your competitors.

When hiring individuals with disabilities, it’s important to ensure that all of your facilities meet their unique needs. Conduct a thorough assessment of your locations and implement any changes to improve workplace accessibility.

Keep in mind that many provinces have specific requirements related to workplace accessibility. Be sure to examine these closely in order to remain compliant.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

6 Considerations When Buying Cyber Insurance

As more and more companies have experienced data breaches in recent years, the market for cyber insurance has grown exponentially. However, unlike other forms of insurance, cyber insurance is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

Most cyber policies are offered a la carte, allowing policyholders to negotiate terms and conditions and purchase the coverage that fits their needs.

The level of coverage your business needs can vary depending on your range of exposure, and it’s important to work with a broker who can tailor a policy to match your business’s requirements.

The following are items to keep in mind when building the ideal coverage:

1.       Limits and sublimits

2.       Retroactive coverage

3.       Exclusions

4.       Panel provisions

5.       Consent provisions

6.       Vendor acts and omissions

Cyber insurance is a relatively new form of coverage—one that will continue to evolve alongside emerging cyber threats. As such, cyber insurance requires organizations to be proactive in assessing their risks and ensuring that their insurance coverages are in line with their specific business practices and exposures.

For more information on the items discussed above and how they may impact your policy, contact your insurance broker today.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved



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