Cyber Risks Tops List Of Most Pressing Concerns For Businesses Of All Sizes For First Time

Cyber Risks Tops List Of Most Pressing Concerns For Businesses Of All Sizes For First Time

October 1, 2019 by Leave a Comment

2019 Travelers Cyber Risk Index

Graphic source: 2019 Travelers Risk Index Repor

An average of 4,000 ransonware attacks occur ever day in the U.S.

Cyber security has become the key issue for businesses across the nation. According to FBI statistics cited by the NAIC, there is an average of 4,000 daily ransonware attacks in the United States, a 300% increase from the number in 2015.  As a result, it comes as no surprise, that the latest findings from the 2019 Travelers Risk Index listed cyber risks as the top concerns for businesses whether they be small, medium, or large.

The Travelers Risk Index shows that more businesses are taking steps to prevent a cyber event, but it’s still alarming that nearly half don’t have the proper insurance coverage,” said Tim Francis, Enterprise Cyber Lead at Travelers. “One cyber attack can put a company out of business. Taking the threat seriously and implementing a risk management program that addresses possible exposures can help a company not only avoid an attack but also recover from one as quickly as possible.”

This is the first time since the survey began in 2014 that the concern has topped the list.

Small business cyber attacks have tripled in the last four years

2019 Travelers Risk Index Infographic

According to the report findings, 12% of small businesses who participated in the survey had suffered a cyber attack in the past year. Cyber security is  This is up from 4% of small business respondents in 2015. It is not just small businesses who have suffered an increase in cyber attacks though. Survey respondents from both medium (10% in 2015 to 20% this year) and large-sized businesses (from 19% to 33%) also saw an significant uptick in cyber attacks.

“More companies are experiencing cyber attacks,” Francis said. “The cost of a single breach to a small business can easily reach a substantial amount of money on top of the time it takes to restore the business, so protecting a company’s assets with a cyber insurance policy is critical.”

In fact, of the 1, 200 business leaders surveyed for the report, more than half (55%) said that they “…worry some or a great deal about cyber risks, ahead of medical cost inflation (54%), employee benefit costs (53%), the ability to attract and retain talent (46%) and legal liability (44%).”

Other key findings from the 2019 Travelers Risk Index

The following are some of the other key findings from this year’s study.

  • Suffering a security breach and a third party gaining unauthorized access to bank accounts were tied as the biggest cyber-specific worry among businesses. The third-highest cyber-specific concern was an extortion or a ransomware attack, which increased to 52% from 44% in 2018. Lastly, 43% of respondents said social engineering scams were a concern, up from 36% last year.
  • While there is greater awareness of cyber risks generally, one in four survey participants didn’t believe their business would suffer a cyber attack, and thus opted not to purchase a cyber insurance policy. The top reason for not purchasing a cyber insurance policy, cited by 31% of respondents, was the expense.
  • Three-fourths of survey participants agreed that having the proper cyber prevention tools in place is critical to the well-being of the business, an increase from 69% in 2018.
  • Nearly 80% of respondents admitted that it is difficult to keep up with the ever-changing cyber landscape.
  • The percentage who said today’s business environment was more risky remained at 36%.

What proactive measures are businesses starting to take

Over 50% of this year’s participants said that they had purchased a cyber insurance policy as a preventative measure for a potential cyber attack. This is up from the 39% of survey participants who said that had purchased such a policy as a preventative measure last year.

Other measures that businesses have begun to take include the following:

  • Creating a business continuity plan in the event of a cyber attack (47%, up from 38%).
  • Taking a cyber risk assessment for themselves (49%, up from 45%) and their vendors (41%, up from 37%).
  • Updating computer passwords (74%, up from 71%).