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Small Businesses in Canada Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks



September 25, 2019 (TORONTO) – October is both Cyber Awareness and Small Business Month and Insurance Bureau of Canada has completed new polling on these topics. 

We are used to seeing media headlines about cyber attacks on huge corporations, but what about small businesses? The threat of cyber attacks on small businesses may not garner the same attention, but this type of attack can severely damage or end the business operations of a small shop.

“Cyber attacks are real threats to small businesses that sell products via e-commerce or maintain electronic data about their customers,” said Ryan Stein, Executive Director, Policy, with IBC. “A technology-system breach containing this information can cripple or ruin a business.” 

A new Leger poll, commissioned by IBC, of 300 owners of small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees, showed that 44% of small businesses do not have any defences against possible cyber attacks, and 60% have no insurance to help them recover if an attack occurs.

Key facts from the IBC Leger poll:

  • Nearly one in five businesses (18%) polled have been affected by a cyber attack or data breach in the last two years.
  • 37% of businesses hit by a data breach estimate that the attack cost them over $100,000, while one in five (20%) had no idea of the cost of the breach.
  • Half of small business owners surveyed (50%) believe that their business may be vulnerable to a cyber security attack, and 56% stated that they’re concerned about how a breach could affect their business.

All insurance policies are different and cater to each policyholder’s specific needs, which is one reason it is important to understand what a policy covers. However, the Leger poll showed that more than a third of respondents do not know what expenses are covered in a cyber insurance policy.  

“Speciality insurance coverage for cyber risks is relatively new,” Stein pointed out. “However, threats to organizations and the possibility of legal action against organizations are realities that business owners should consider. We live in a time when many businesses conduct all of their activities electronically, and the majority of their assets are in the data they collect. There have been several high-profile personal information breaches that have affected tens of millions of records and cost the affected companies millions of dollars. Small businesses are not immune to cyber attacks, and these problems are not going away. We are encouraged, however, that some of these businesses are now beginning to turn their attention to this important issue. ”


IBC Cyber Security Resources


About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.