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Could you survive a cyber-attack?

What do you do if you come into the office one morning to find your IT systems in lockdown? Sort it out, says Sarah Adams, cyber insurance expert at PolicyBee.

Sarah Adams

Cyber Attack imageYou can’t get down to work because you can’t log into your network. Meanwhile, you’ve got sellers and buyers ringing in with urgent requests and instructions. Except you can’t help them because your PCs playing dead and you can’t get to the info you need.

Oh, and all the time this is happening, you’re losing money… and your competitors are stealing a march on you. Hardly ideal.


This is what happens when a cyber-attack strikes. They arrive unannounced and uninvited – and can quickly bring business to a standstill. It might be a ransomware or other malware attack, even a denial of service attack…but the results are the same. Paralysis.

Sarah Adams, PolicyBee, image

Sarah Adams, PolicyBee.

So, once you’ve been hit, the most important thing is to get your business back up and running again quickly – especially if, as often happens, the attack has spread right across your network. That way the damage to your bottom line and your reputation can be minimised.

What to do, then? Clearing up the kind of mess a cyber-attack leaves behind calls for some heavy-duty IT expertise. So, do you have an IT department that’s up to the job? Or do you rely on a contractor like most people – the sort of contractor who could easily be busy and unable to help.


And what if you’re facing a ransom demand? If your systems are infected with ransomware, somewhere there’ll be a cybercriminal demanding money for decrypting your files. Do you know how to negotiate with a hacker? Do you know if you should?

If you are hit by a cyber criminal and not prepared for it, it is easy to panic, it can be difficult to know what to do. You need a firm plan of action…

Again, it’s experience that’s required. You need someone who can make the call on whether a cybercriminal can be trusted to restore data once demands are met. Also, whether paying a ransom is really the right thing to do – or if handing over money once might simply encourage them to come back for more.

The thing is, it’s easy to panic if you’re hit by a cyber-attack. If you’re not prepared for it, it can be difficult to know what to do. So, what you really need is a firm plan of action – one that will help your business get back on its feet again quickly. Happily, that’s what cyber insurance does.


The nuts and bolts of your hardware, software, website and network are the first things to sort out. Cyber insurance pays for a forensic team to go over your systems with a fine-tooth comb. It also pays for repairs, data recovery and reinstalling software, plus replacement kit while yours is being fixed.

All that forensics and mending takes time, of course – time during which your business will be on go-slow and your revenue will be down. Cyber insurance plugs the gap by covering any downturn in your profits and helps to keep your bottom line healthy.

If there’s a ransom involved, cyber insurance provides an experienced negotiator to handle the situation. It also covers the ransom.

And if personal data has been stolen, like the kind of customer and vendor details that criminals could use for identity theft, cyber insurance helps in several ways. Data breaches are a big deal.


First, it takes care of notifying the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about the breach, because the ICO likes to know about that sort of thing. It also pays to handle any resulting investigation, and covers any fines.

Importantly, cyber insurance pays to contact all the people whose data has been stolen, and provides them with credit monitoring. If any claims for compensation roll in (and they probably will), cyber insurance stumps up for legal representation and costs, and picks up the tab for any damages too.

It’s likely your good name will have taken a bit of a battering through all this, so the last thing cyber insurance does is to pay for PR crisis management, to help restore your reputation.

A cyber-attack can be a worrying, time-consuming and revenue-sapping event – and they’re on the rise. Research by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport showed nearly half of the UK’s 5.5 million businesses suffered an attack or a breach of their systems last year.

So… are you prepared?


November 28, 2017

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