Are You Taking a Gamble with Enterprise Assets at Risk?

Could an employeeEUs lost laptop cost a company $5.4 million? It could if the employee has access to sensitive customer data, hasnEUt taken proper security precautions, and the company hasnEUt shielded itself with a proper cyber-liability protection policy.

ItEUs far simpler to replace a misplaced or stolen computer than it is to investigate and seal a data breach, notify thousands of customers that they are potential victims (as required by law in most states) and, in the worst-case scenario, pay damages, legal fees and PR management costs as a result of a class action or other litigation.

Persistent Threats

However, executives by and large seem slow to recognize cybercrime as a growing international problem, with U.S.-based companies the primary target of foreign-based hackers. Energy companies, in particular face an increasingly sustained threat, according to authorities here. In fact, the National Institute of Standards and Technology in February released a framework to help targeted companies avoid what Leon Panetta, the former defense secretary, once called a 'cyber Pearl Harbor.'

According to some recent estimates, ongoing cybercrime against top U.S.-based companies costs our economy more than $300 billion each year. And the cost of a typical data breach of a public companyEUs systems could average as high as $5.4 million, according to the Ponemon Institute, which conducts independent research on privacy, data protection and information security policy.

For small-to-midsize businesses, the average cost per breach may be smaller -- roughly $188,242 -- according to specialist insurer Hiscox, but the complete toll can be higher. Two thirds of such companies close their doors within six months of a cyber breach. Without protection, they donEUt have the same resources as a major corporation to withstand the damage.

And small companies that think they are below the radar of hackers should know that attacks on businesses with fewer than...

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