NZ government to step up cybercrime fight

As the NZ government continues its rollout of the Ultra-Fast Broadband initiative, bringing world class internet speeds to homes and businesses, focus is inevitably turning towards the risks associated with improved technology.

A recent study from KPMG found only half of global businesses feel they are prepared for a cybercrime incident. 

 

How government is addressing the issue

The government estimates the economic impact of cybercrime in 2014 reached the dizzying high of $257 million, with more than half of all NZ businesses experiencing an attack at least once a year.

Figures from the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) show that back in 2011, cyber-related crimes cost businesses more than $625 million in losses.

To meet the challenge, Communications Minister Amy Adams has announced a two-pronged attack - an Action Plan and a National Plan to Address Cybercrime. 

"The private and public sectors must find ways to share information and expertise to address cybersecurity risks and this strategy relies on a close and active public-private partnership to ensure New Zealanders remain safe online," Minister Adams said.

The new strategy is based around a new national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to act as contact point for businesses who need assistance to protect themselves from breaches in their IT systems. 

 

Are businesses catching on?

Understanding of the magnitude of cybercrime risks appears to be growing. Businesses looking to step up their internal strategy can follow tips as simple as:

  • Updating computer software with patches
  • Installing security software
  • Creating strong passwords, and changing them regularly
  • Avoiding any suspicious emails
  • Conducting regular reviews of your company's financial statements, and identifying/addressing any anomalies

 

There's little argument that the government's ramped-up focus on combatting cybercrime is a step in the right direction. However we recommend:

  • Reducing the risk to your business with internal strategies
  • Knowing how your current insurance may cover you
  • Being aware of third party contracts e.g. your suppliers liability insurance and what it may/may not cover

 

Traditional insurance products don’t address most cyber issues.  And while you may be vigilant, updating software and applying patches for example, you are only as strong as your weakest link. It is easy to not spot a suspicious email; perhaps an employee opens it on their phone when they're distracted with other matters.  The hack may not occur immediately, but a 'hijack and ransom' later can be costly financially, to your organisation's reputation and in time.

Insurance can potentially minimise these costs - insurers are striving to meet the challenge with new products being made available to the market, including cover for reputational or brand damage following a cyber crime.

Talk to a good broker about suitable insurance solutions and risk management procedures that will help protect your business and staff from the impact of cyber crime.


Guy Worsley

About the Author

Name: Guy Worsley        

I am a Commercial Broker at Rothbury Auckland. My 18 years experience both in New Zealand and international markets coupled with my high service standards means that I can help clients navigate their way through the complicated insurance…
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I am a Commercial Broker at Rothbury Auckland. My 18 years experience both in New Zealand and international markets coupled with my high service standards means that I can help clients navigate their way through the complicated insurance landscape.

My clients come first. It’s vital to spend time understanding my clients’ business before I provide advice. This advice is assured as I have wide knowledge and experience of liability, professional risks, property motor and marine insurance.

Plus, I am proud of my proven ability to negotiate win : win claim solutions and advise on technical insurance matters.

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Disclaimer: The articles published on this blog are designed to provide general information and do not take into account any individual’s particular circumstances. We recommend that you obtain professional advice on your requirements before making any decision about a financial product.

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