Protect your small business from these top 5 invisible threats
Here are some of the biggest risks to watch out for and steps you can take to stay safe
From hackers that want to access your data to slippery wet floors that could lead to a lawsuit, there are all sorts of invisible threats out there. Here are the top five that you might face and what you can do to mitigate them.
Invisible Threat Number One: Cybercrime
Since March 2020, cyber security needs have changed as businesses have adapted to the change in pressures caused by COVID-19. Cyber-attacks therefore pose a serious and ever-changing threat, even to the smallest of businesses; and can result in financial loss, data breaches and damage to your reputation.
Cyberattacks can take on many forms too, from phishing to malware and ransomware – and they're constantly evolving. So whether you work in retail, in an office or from home, you must take steps to help protect your business from hackers.
To help prevent cybercrime, train your staff to help them understand the importance of data privacy and security within your business. You can also show them how to spot the signs of a cyberattack. For example, they should avoid opening suspicious email attachments or clicking links within an email, without verifying the sender. A lot of cybercriminals often impersonate someone within your business, like an IT manager, requesting access to your account to install new software, which is actually malware. So, it's always best to make sure these requests are coming from a genuine person within your company.
Make sure that important information relating to your business—like customer details, payment details and financial records—are backed up safely, securely and regularly. The cloud is a great place to back up your files because it's encrypted – making it much harder for cybercriminals to access.
Keep all your business equipment (smartphones, PCs, laptops, tablets) updated with the latest security and antivirus software. The older your software and systems are, the easier it is for cybercriminals to strike.
If you're unfortunate enough to become a victim of cybercrime, our Cyber Insurance can help you take control, deal with the fallout and help you recover. We'll not only cover the loss of your business income if your systems are attacked, but we'll also pay for the costs to locate and remove any viruses. We also help recover your reputation, with access to public relations and crisis management experts. Find out more information about our Cyber Insurance.
Invisible Threat Number Two: Accidents at work
You can take all sorts of steps to prevent accidents at work. But they can still happen.
A visitor may slip on a wet floor in your workplace and injure themselves. A client may trip over and break their leg while visiting your home office. Or if you're a hairdresser, a customer's trousers may get stained with hair dye.
But there are measures you can put in place to help prevent accidents in the workplace.
Firstly, make sure your workspace, whether it be a home office or retail space, is set up correctly. Pack away any boxes, carry out regular maintenance on all equipment, provide safety protection where necessary (gloves, goggles, masks) and train your employees about the importance of following safety measures as often as possible.
If a client or visitor is injured and you're found to be responsible, they could make a compensation claim against your business. Should this happen, our Public Liability Insurance will cover the cost of the claim and your legal fees. Find out how Public Liability insurance can help protect your business and the different levels of cover we offer.
Invisible Threat Number Three: Legal issues
If you run a small business, employment law can be tricky at the best of times. But you never know when you may need expert help and advice.
You may have a disgruntled client that refuses to pay. Your landlord won't fix a leaking pipe. Or an employee decides to take legal action against you. If any of these things happen, it could cost your business thousands of pounds in legal fees.
Whenever you start a relationship with another party, whether it's a business partner, employee, client or landlord, make sure all terms have been agreed and confirmed – in writing. This way you can help resolve any disputes by looking at the contract.
One of the best ways to protect your business from legal action is to take out insurance. Legal Essentials will give you access to expert legal advice and assistance if you have a contract or tenant dispute, and it could help with paying your legal costs if the case goes further, subject to the conditions of the policy. But it's not just there to deal with problem landlords. It can help with legal issues with employees, suppliers, customers and more. You also get access to our 24-hour legal helpline and more than 1,000 guides, videos and tutorials from legal experts.
Invisible Threat Number Four: Damage to your business
While you do your best to make your business a success, some things are out of your control. Like damage to essential equipment that you need to do your job or your workplace setting on fire.
One of the easiest ways to help prevent this is to carry out regular checks of your premises, making sure everything is working how it should be. A visit from an electrician or plumber may set you back a couple of hundred pounds, but it could save you thousands if your business is forced to close.
If your business does have to close, our Business Interruption Insurance can help. It can cover your loss of turnover and the costs of setting up your business in a new, temporary location. Allowing you to get back on your feet and trading again that bit faster.
Watch our Business Interruption Explainer video to learn more about how this type of insurance can protect your business.
Invisible Threat Number Five: Breach of confidentiality
Business is fast. Too fast at times. Especially when you're running your own business. If you're in a rush and under pressure, it can be easy to make innocent mistakes.
You may send an email including confidential information regarding an employee, like payroll details, to the wrong person. Or publish something on your company website without your client's permission. The most honest of mistakes could cost your business money.
So how do you maintain security and confidentiality within your business?
Treat personal data and confidential information very carefully. Don't store information longer than necessary and make sure your computer is secure, compliant and up to date with the latest antivirus software. It will make storing, sharing, recording and managing business information easier and help make sure it doesn't get into the wrong hands.
It may also seem very obvious, but don't talk about confidential information relating to clients, suppliers or employees outside of your workplace. And if you're given permission to share confidential information, make sure you're both clear about who you can share it with and what exactly you can say.
Finally, if you're working on something very important that includes financial or sensitive information, it may also be worth getting a second pair of eyes on your work and your recipient list before you hit send.
Professional Indemnity Insurance covers your legal fees and compensation costs if your business accidentally breaks client confidentiality. Or if you publish something without their permission that costs them money to sort out. It covers lots more too. Watch our Professional Indemnity explainer video for all the details on how this type of insurance can protect your business.
For more advice on how to maintain confidentiality in your day-to-day communications, what breaches of confidence look like for different jobs and what to do if it happens, read our article on confidentiality in the workplace.
Invisible threats are everywhere. That's why it's so important to protect all aspects of your business, even the ones you may think aren't that important. Having the right protection in place could save your business from closing down and your business reputation.
Visit our interactive Invisible Threats page on our website to discover more ways to protect your business from unforeseen events. And head over to our Business Blog for expert advice, guides and tutorials, to help your small business achieve big things.