COVER Web Magazine – FeatureFILED UNDER: JANUARY 2023 EDITION
By: Karen Rimmer, Head of Distribution at PSG Insure
According to recent research, South Africa is the world’s sixth biggest cybercrime hotspot, with ransomware attacks alone have doubled over the last year. For Karen Rimmer, Head of Distribution at PSG Insure, this is a stark reminder that the prevalence and scale of recent cyber-attacks on businesses of all sizes have rendered reliable cyber security a necessity. Adequate cyber liability cover is a vital component of guarding against the exponential damage that can be wrought by even the most rudimentary cyber-attacks.
High-profile data breaches resulting in millions of rands in accumulated damage continue to capture media attention and make headlines across the country. While much focus is placed on the financial impact of data loss or downtime, a large proportion of the damage extends beyond the initial impact of the crime. Long-term reputational damage, operational disruption and the loss of intellectual property have far-reaching effects on victims of cybercrime.
Furthermore, while cases of cybercrime in large corporates and governmental departments are widely publicised, the danger posed to small businesses is just as critical. For a small business, the knock-on effects of a data breach could have serious consequences, including decreased productivity, the cost of defending against third-party liability lawsuits and irrecoverable revenue losses.
In light of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Rimmer urges business owners to review their risk management strategies and processes and to ensure that all their bases are covered as far as mitigating the risk of cybercrime is concerned.
As she expands: “Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, which is why businesses need robust cyber security policies. Prevention should be your first line of defense, but in the event that a cyber-attack cannot be avoided, having the backing of cyber liability insurance can assist in softening the blow and help your business to recover as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible.”
Cyber-attacks can take several forms. In South Africa, ransomware attacks are the most prevalent and involve digital extortionists holding a company’s data ‘hostage’ until a specified amount of money is paid. The extent of the takeover could range from taking down a business’s website to total Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which disable entire networks, services or infrastructure.