One of the biggest challenges an IT consultant faces is getting clients to adopt basic data security measures that will protect their company from data breaches, accidental data leaks, and other data liabilities.
To help you, TechInsurance has put together a free Customer Education Packet that you can distribute to clients to teach them how to secure their data and why it's so important to protect it. The TechInsurance Education Packet contains…
Why a Client's Risk Is Your Risk
By educating your clients and showing them how to protect their data, you actually protect your IT business from lawsuits. Why can you be sued for a client's data breach?
A client can claim that you're directly or indirectly responsible for the security flaws that lead to a data breach. Consider the following:
- IT consultants are liable for the security of third-party programs and services they recommend. If you sign clients up for a cloud-based service, you can be sued if the service has a data security flaw that leads to a breach.
- You are liable for what you don't do. IT contractors can be sued for professional negligence, which means you didn't take adequate steps to secure your client's data or warn them about the risks involved with their IT.
- Many basic enterprise security products are flawed. Antivirus software is only partially effective. There will always be some malware that escapes detection.
IT liability is an unavoidable part of doing business. In the same way that all doctors have malpractice risk, every IT consultant has data risks and professional liabilities.
Why Client Education Is More Important Now than Ever Before
Small-business data liabilities have increased dramatically in recent years. This is partially because all data liabilities have increased, but it's also because it's become easier and more cost-effective for cyber criminals to steal small-business data. Let's look at how cyber liabilities have changed:
- Over the last two years, the number of spear phishing attacks that targeted small businesses increased by 12 percent.
- Cloud-based SaaS usage among small businesses continues to increase.
- BYOD (bring-your-own-device) workplaces are becoming more common, especially for small businesses that can't afford to give laptops to each employee.
- IT that was once done in-house (data storage, sales records, etc.) has largely migrated to the cloud.
When taken as a whole, these trends show that small businesses need to be more engaged in protecting their security. IT used to focus on securing in-house networks, but now a greater emphasis needs to fall on user-level security because a client's users access company data through a variety of cloud-based sites. Add it all up and it's clear: client education is more important now than ever before.
Data Breach Insurance: A Hidden Gem for Clients
One way clients can manage their data breach risk is through Cyber Liability Insurance (also known as Data Breach Insurance). This coverage can pay for the cost of repairing and cleaning up a data breach.
You might be wondering why we're talking about your client's insurance coverage, but consider a recent Insurance Journal study, which found that 40 percent of businesses underestimate their cyber risk exposure and don't think they need CL Insurance.
Small-business data breaches can easily cost thousands of dollars. When clients are unprepared for those losses, they could file a lawsuit against their contractor to recoup expenses. When clients underestimate how expensive a data breach is, they're more likely to sue you if one occurs.
By recommending Data Breach Insurance to clients, you help cover your own risk by ensuring that clients have the financial resources to handle the cost of a data breach.
Customer Education Packet: Another Tool in the IT Tool Belt
We know being a small-business owner isn't easy – that's why we wanted to give you a free tool to help educate clients about IT security. If you have any questions about the Customer Education Packet or your own data security liability, contact a TechInsurance agent.