Political risk management, like all other types of risk management, begins with one simple concept. Prevention. Unfortunately, that isn’t where it must end in order to be effective. But thoughtful prevention does lay the groundwork for an effective risk management strategy. Cybercrime is on the rise. That puts businesses and governments, even on state and local levels at greater risk.

Types of Risks Businesses You Must Manage Against

One of the greatest political risks most businesses face today is through something known as ransomware, according to a recent Forbes article. With a ransomware attack, business information is essentially held hostage unless specific ransoms are paid by a certain deadline.

The threat usually involves releasing the data to the public or deleting it forever if the target fails to pay the ransom on time. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigations advises against paying the ransom warning that even if businesses and governments pay the ransom, there are no guarantees they will have their data returned to them unharmed.

In fact, some attackers, emboldened by the initial success of their efforts may even decide to ask for more money or delete or release the information regardless. There is no guarantee that these hackers and cybercriminals will comply with their end of the agreement once you’ve paid the ransom.

Be warned, though, that failure to pay the ransom may be higher than anticipated. In the Forbes article mentioned above, cities in three states were targeted with data being held hostage by ransomware. Two decided not to pay the ransom only to discover that the costs of remediation were higher than the initial ransom would have been. For instance, Atlanta’s refusal to pay the $51,000 ransom demand ultimately cost the city more than seven million dollars. Baltimore also refused to pay at a price tag that exceeded $18 million.

Florida, learning from the mistakes of the other two cities decided to leverage cyber insurance policies held by their cities to pay the ransom, deeming it a sound business decision by comparison.

The key, though, is to conduct a thorough risk analysis to determine whether the risks of paying the ransom are worth the realities of refusing to pay it. Conducting a thorough risk assessment and analysis can help your organization understand the realities of the risks you face and make sound decisions based on those realities.

Mitigating Your Risks

Of course, making your risks as small as possible is just good business. Whether you’re a small municipal government, a large city government, or a privately owned business, there are certain steps you need to take to reduce your risks and exposure from cyberattacks, including the following:

  • Educate. Whether you’re educating your staff or your family about the risks of cybercrime and security, it is important that everyone understands what these risks represent and how they impact them directly (loss of jobs, public humiliation, etc.).
  • Regulate. Create policies and safe practices that limit exposure when cybercrimes occur, invest in security protocols to prevent crimes from taking place, and establish tools for monitoring and enforcing compliance with said policies.
  • Secure. Apply security patches as they are released. They close loopholes that allow hackers access to your information. Back up information daily and store in a secure, off-site (preferably, off-network definitely) location, test backup data storage routinely to make sure files aren’t corrupted or damaged.
  • Train. Train your people regularly about the importance of security protocols, what those protocols are within your organization and the serious nature of breaches.

These actions won’t prevent all attacks against your organization, but it can help reduce your risks of exposure and the extent of the damage if a breach occurs.

Better understanding of your risks can help you manage them more effectively. Small businesses throughout the Pine Belt region can count on Roman Galey to help with all your risk management and insurance needs. Contact me today to learn more.