Whether you’ve run a small business for quite some time, or are starting one this year, you are looking at 2018 as an opportunity to grow. In order to do so, you need to not only plan for the successes, but for the problems that can arise in the course of doing business.
Your marketing and business plan may have prepared you to recognize and adapt to changes in consumer preferences that can occur over a year, but does it also anticipate the arrival of new threats? We know, it’s not a pleasant addendum to consider, but it’s one that is necessary. As the commercial liability insurance provider for SMBs across BC, Park Insurance keeps a big step ahead of the curve so that we can see what’s coming around the bend for the small business segment. Before you take one step further into the new year, we encourage you to read below so that you know what to watch out (and prepare) for.
Four Things that Small Business Owners Need to Prepare and/or Insure for in 2018 (and Beyond)
Studies show that nearly 50 percent of small businesses have been the victim of cybercrime. Even more startling, is that the same data shows that 60 percent of this group goes out of business after six months. The expense of related legal proceedings, ransomeware payoffs, theft from business financial accounts, and other connected costs are simply too much to bear for small businesses that fight to turn a profit as is.
In 2018, hackers are getting more creative as they work around security updates, and they have their eyes firmly set on their most vulnerable target (you). The good news, is that you can help turn this trend around by following these top nine cybersecurity best practices, ones that apply to your personal and corporate life alike. Make these steps a part of your ongoing IT protocol and back it all up by securing cyber insurance coverage for your business for maximum protection in 2018.
2. New Internal Crime
Internal theft has always been a concern for businesses, big or small. Unfortunately, this threat has increased in 2018, because of the big issue noted above – cybercrime.
In order to combat the increase in cybersecurity protocol, the online black market is now attempting to recruit insiders from within the likes of your business. Recruiters are paying top dollar for insiders because one successful ransomware attack against a small business owner can recoup the cost tenfold. These internal threats easily fly under the radar, handing over passwords, opening malicious emails on company computers, and more. When hacking groups have someone on the inside, the possibilities for their success, and your ruin, are endless. But there is something you can do about it.
In 2018, your small business must take the insider threat seriously. You will need to ramp up your IT security systems to monitor staff for suspicious online activity (without violating their privacy). In addition, be sure to limit employee access to sensitive data when there is no reasonable need for them to have access to it, and update your passwords every 90 days. Also institute better pre-employment screening for new hires and foster an environment that encourages everyone to keep an eye out for insider crime. View more on how to protect your business from internal commercial fraud.
3. Weather, is Coming
The verdict is no longer out on whether or not global warming is a real threat. The conclusion of 2017 and onset of 2018 has exhibited some of the most wild weather on record. You’ve seen the headlines all over Canada and BC over the last few months, including Colder than Mars, Vancouver Breaks 61-year Old Rainfall Record, and BC’s Worst Ever Wildfire Season. These patterns are not exclusive to our province and country, as literal Slurpee waves are lapping the saltwater shoreline of Nantucket. All of this validates the assertion that weather has become one of the biggest threats to the population in 2018, small businesses included.
As residents hunker down through it all, your business suffers. But it goes beyond the loss of foot traffic that harsh weather can bring. Extreme rains and freezing temperatures can result in water damage and floods. Long droughts followed by lightening storms can cause forest fires near your place of business. Both can lead to the destruction of your property, products, materials, equipment, and important documents. To help you prepare for the wild weather to come, Park Insurance has provided this guide to protecting your business from floods, another with tips to keeping your brick and mortar shop safe from freezing temperatures, and another for protecting your commercial business from forest fires.
4. Being Independent Can Leave You Exposed
Lastly, we want to put out a call to action to those of you who are independent contractors/consultants, a very significant sector that falls within the small business category for BC.
Recent studies show that the concept of freelancing has expanded into more fields than ever before. It’s not just writers and graphics designers anymore, as professions such as health and medical, education, project management, computer and IT, accounting, and finance have become open to independent contractors across the province and country. This trend is expected to become a mainstay and expand in the year to come and then some. And while it creates a new wave of small business opportunity, it also comes with a whole tsunami of concerns.
Not only is this sector not covered by standard home insurance, the threat of cybercrime is even greater, and the exposure to the threat of dissatisfied (or dishonest) client claims is ever-present. Learn more about what you need to do to protect yourself from the liability concerns of an independent contractor.
The intent of all of the above is not to strike fear, but to help put you on the path to your most successful year to date. In abiding by our preparedness plans, you will have taken a very big step towards that great goal. Now all that you need to do is follow-up by contacting an experienced broker at Park Insurance to go over all of your small business insurance needs.