Posted on 14th March 2016
Is your business 1 minute 22 seconds away from disaster?
The daily task of switching on your PC isn’t something most people give much thought to – but, 40 local businesses will be hovering over their keyboard following a cyber seminar jointly organised by Bennett Christmas Insurance Brokers.
Businesses attending the seminar at the AMEX stadium, Brighton, on Wednesday (9 March) were told 95% of hacks start with a phishing email and 1 minute 22 seconds is the average time it takes for a business to fall victim to an email-based cyber attack.
“It’s so easy to do – you start up your computer, check your emails and click on a link,” said Mark Bennett, CEO of Burgess Hill-based Bennett Christmas Insurance Brokers. “Within minutes, your whole system’s compromised.
“It’s not just the big companies. We’ve all heard of the attacks on TalkTalk and Sony, but what about the local optician who lost £60,000 when she was conned in to thinking she’d received a speeding fine?” Russian hackers brought her business to a virtual standstill when she clicked on an alleged photo of the offence and triggered an encryption program – for which they held the key.
Delegates to the conference, organised with Burgess Hill-based IT First, South East law firm Thomas Eggar, cyber technology company Mimecast and cyber consultants Berea, were told that globally the average cyber breach cost companies £4.5 million each in 2015, up 23% from 2013.
“You can have all the smart technology in the world, but your biggest defence is your ‘human firewall’ – your staff,” said Mark, who recently teamed up with Cyber AMI, a cyber security and risk assessment tool, to help small and medium-sized businesses select appropriate insurance cover.
The seminar was the first in a series in Sussex aimed at increasing awareness of businesses’ exposure to potentially devastating attacks.
Simon Gregg, director of IT First, said: “People do not realise the value of the data they hold. The seminar made people think – even those with just three people in the business went away to talk about their attitude to cyber security and the simple things they can do to enforce it.”
“We’re seeing an increasing number of small businesses being targeted,” added Mark. “It’s important that the whole business community wakes up to the threat and takes measures to protect themselves. When the worst happens, the three people you call first are your IT experts, your lawyers…and your insurance company.”
"This association was started with a lot of effort from a few local businessmen and has proved to be a very powerful and useful tool for our business. The BHBPA has influence at the top level; when action is needed, the BHBPA gets it done. We are kept in touch with all that is happening on our doorstep and will often act because of what is published in the weekly emails / newsletters."
"“I can’t speak highly enough of the BHBPA. As a small local business we feel very much part of a community and thoroughly enjoy the annual exhibition and meetings throughout the year. Over the years we have built fantastic working relationships with many BHBPA members and every meeting and event offers us opportunities to work with more. This is networking at its best! ” "
""BHBPA is a really well organised and run group, great for networking and benefitting from knowledgeable local speakers with real business insight. Peter brings enthusiasm and humour which helps drive the association forward. I am glad to be part of it.""
"“Sutton Winson have been members of the BHBPA for around 7 years. We have found it a great way to keep in touch with Burgess Hill businesses and to meet with likeminded people. It’s not just another “networking” group, as it tackles the real issues and gets things done”"