Survey: About a quarter of small businesses say they have cyber insurance

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Fewer than 1 in 5 small businesses believe they are at risk of being hacked and — perhaps as a result — only 26 percent say they have cyber insurance, according to a new survey.

Insureon, a broker that specializes in selling insurance to small businesses, polled more than 2,500 of them online last month through the website of Manta, a company that provides marketing services for small businesses and the self-employed.

When asked “Do you feel you are at risk of experiencing a cyber attack or breach?” 82 percent said no. “Why the lack of concern?” ask the authors of the report. “Perhaps it’s because 85 percent of small-business owners said they’ve never experienced a data breach.”

That’s certainly a reasonable figure. There were nearly 300,000 complaints about online crimes lodged last year with the FBI’s internet crime complaint center, but that includes crimes targeting individuals — and the businesses in the Insureon survey appear very small indeed. When asked “Who manages your company’s IT needs?” 58 percent responded “I do.” Only 30 percent had either a contract or full-time employee working on IT.

“There’s an enormous variation when you talk about small business,” Eric Miller, a government affairs and business consultant specializing in cybersecurity, told CyberScoop. He pointed out that the official U.S. definition of a small business — fewer than 500 employees — includes the one- or two-person S-corporations that seem to make up much of the Insureon poll, but also companies with many millions of dollars a year in revenue.

For very small businesses, said Miller, “There’s often a feeling that 1) I am very busy running my business and 2) what do I have” that hackers might want. That’s borne out by the polling data: 76 percent said they had no “customer data that would be susceptible to an attack on your business network.”

Miller said that was changing because of ransomware.

“What shifts that perception is when you know someone that’s been hit or when it starts to become an issue that’s covered at trade conferences or in the trade press,” he said, adding that was starting to happen with the burgeoning ransomware wave — much of which is targeted at small businesses.

“I would be willing to bet … you’ll see those numbers shift and a greater awareness of the risk” among the smallest businesses, he said

Between Oct. 4 and Oct. 9, Manta surveyed 2,502 small business owners via an on-site poll. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.96 percentage points.

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cyber insurance, cybersecurity, data breaches, financial, hacking, insurance, small & medium sized businesses
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