Nearly a quarter of small-to-medium businesses (SMEs) in the UK have bought cyber insurance since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Insurance Times reports. Analytics firm Global Data carried out the research, which found that 24.9% of such enterprises had purchased the insurance, after employees began to work from home.

Some 2,000 SMEs were polled during the survey earlier this year, which revealed that the majority of businesses made their decision based on media reports of increased cyber attacks. Others acted on the advice of a broker or financial advisor.

Benjamin Hatton, insurance analyst at GlobalData, said: “Businesses are becoming more proactive in managing the dangers of a cyber attack in the knowledge that home working can lead to greater risks in this space. Media coverage showcasing the perils of cyber attacks is important in continuing to highlight the threats that businesses face.

He added: “Brokers play an important role in advising customers to take the right level of cover, ensuring that firms are properly protected from cyber threats. Financial advisors also have this responsibility in ensuring that UK SMEs have the cover that they need to protect their business against the growingly hostile cyber landscape.”

Despite the recent surge in uptake for cyber insurance, the survey found that only 31.5% of UK SMEs have the correct amount of cover. When asked about the reasons given for not taking out such a policy, more than a third said that they didn’t regard cybercrime as a threat.

However, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) explains that incidents of phishing (sending emails which imitate an official source, to trick the recipient into clicking an infected link) have risen by 700% in the first half of 2021 alone. Ransomware attacks have also increased threefold.

As it becomes commonplace for businesses to have remote or hybrid working policies, cybercriminals will continue to look for ways to exploit weaknesses in IT systems, and gain access to sensitive data, which they then use to hold the business owner to ransom.

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