Small-business owners have many misconceptions when it comes to data security. For one, they often believe large companies—not small ones—are at greater risk of getting their data stolen because they have more valuable data to offer thieves.

Research shows, however, that small businesses are often victims of data breaches because they are viewed as easier targets than big businesses and have fewer safeguards in place to thwart attacks. The 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon found that one in three documented breaches affected companies with 100 or fewer employees.

Such breaches can be very costly. Verizon found, for example, that 60% of companies go out of business permanently after suffering a breach. The Hartford’s 2013 Small Business Success Study found that more than half of all businesses say they would have to spend money notifying their customers and employees after a breach or buying credit-monitoring services for anyone affected by the breach.

Another common misperception is that data thieves are generally hackers who live thousands of miles away. Many data breaches occur, however, due to mishaps caused by employees or the business owners themselves. Even those with the best intentions can inadvertently expose sensitive business data, whether by losing a personal device at a coffee shop or leaving a laptop unattended in the home, car or office.

Helping Business Owners Stay Protected

So, how can Agents help their business clients protect themselves from these data security risks?

Education is first. Business owners should be made aware of their data security risks and the potential high costs of a breach. Providing clients with easy-to-follow tips and information can empower them to improve their data security. Examples include teaching business owners how to install stronger passwords or prevent their laptops from getting stolen.

Next, agents should help business owners understand how data breach insurance is an affordable safeguard in case of a data breach. The Hartford’s Data Breach Insurance coverage provide businesses with some invaluable services, including:

  • Peace of mind protection: Coverage helps pay for many costs associated with a breach, including notification of customers and employees, legal and liability expenses and public relations.
  • Identity Theft 911: Hartford clients get access to professionals who can help them comply with regulatory requirements, provide guidance on how to help prevent a data breach and prevent civil litigation if a breach crisis occurs.
  • Up-to-date data security news and information: Clients have access to a web site that provides timely data security prevention guidelines and news. Site access can be provided to any staff at the business who can benefit from that information.

Helping clients first see the large potential risks data breaches pose to their business and operations—and then showing them the value of getting coverage that provides both expertise and peace of mind—can help strengthen the agent-client relationship and bolster the business owner’s success.

Next Steps:  You’re busy. We get it. So why not let us do some work for you? By signing up for the weekly Small Biz Ahead Newsletter, you’ll receive hand-picked articles, How-Tos and videos covering the latest in small biz tools and trends. We’ll do the research while you spend your time where it counts: managing and growing your business.

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