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Cyber attacks are costing small businesses in New Zealand an average of $19, 000 per attack, research has revealed.

The New Zealand figure was more than twice as much as that seen in Australia ($6,500), according to Norton’s recent SMB Cyber Security Survey.

The research also found that the biggest impact of cyber attacks on small businesses was downtime (45%), followed by inconvenience (41%) and the expense of re-doing lost work (29%).

While cyber attacks are costing New Zealand businesses more than ever, uptake in cyber insurance remains perilously low, with only 6% of small business owners currently covered and a further 9% looking at the cover over the next 12 months.

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Mark Gorrie, director of Norton Business Unit, Pacific region, Symantec, said that the data is relevant for brokers as it shows the different reasons businesses need cyber cover.

“We asked the question, ‘how long could you survive without your business data’, and 31% said they couldn’t survive beyond a week,” Gorrie told Insurance Business.

“Most people would look at it as a financial loss but clearly for those that have suffered an attack, time became a big issue. For brokers, they can ask whether a client can afford to have three days down time in their business. That has a real cost to it.”

Gorrie warned that cyber insurance cannot be seen as a form of protection.

Investments in security and training are still needed as, in the long run, they will help keep cyber insurance pricing low and ensure that businesses are as secure as possible.

Gorrie said that brokers can advise their clients to remember the basics of cyber security, as many ignore easy ways to stay safe. Using complex passwords, different passwords for different accounts and ensuring that cyber security software is on all PCs and mobile devices is a good way to start. Gorrie added that backing-up data is paramount.

“With a lot of these threats, you can continue to invest in technology but you can never guarantee to have 100% protection,” he explained.

He added that businesses that do the basics – they have security in place, they do back-ups – are well placed. However, it’s cyber insurance that is really “the catch-all beyond that mitigated risk.”

This article is from sister site Insurance Business NZ by Jordan Lynn. 

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