A single unexpected disaster could be enough to bring down your business. While the risk of such disasters may seem low, it’s worth protecting yourself from the damage just in case you’re unlucky enough to be a victim. Here are five disasters that are worth protecting your business against.
Lawsuits aren’t that uncommon – in fact, 53% of small businesses are involved in at least one lawsuit at any given time. Some lawsuits can be more costly than others and these are the ones that you need to be protected against.
Insurance is the first best defence against many types of lawsuits. Rather than having to pay compensation out of your own pocket, your insurer will pay the compensation. Some insurance schemes such as professional liability insurance can even pay out compensation regardless of whether or not you are in the wrong (which can be useful when you want to quickly get rid of difficult clients).
It’s also worth having an attorney on call who you can seek advice from and who may be able to come to your defence when you find yourself being faced with an unfair hefty lawsuit. Legal professionals may also be able to help you when writing contracts or negotiating with difficult customers, helping you to prevent lawsuits from happening in the first place.
False negative statements made against you could potentially damage your reputation and affect your ability to attract new business. This could include negative online reviews, negative social media comments or even negative news stories.
If you’ve done something legitimately wrong, your best defence is often to apologise sincerely (and potentially hire a PR company to rebuild your reputation). If you feel that the slander is false or unjustified, you may feel that you need to argue your cause – this itself can be risky and you need to make sure that you do it professionally (sending an angry private message to the person could escalate the situation).
You can sue individuals and companies for defamation – having a lawyer on call can be useful if you need to do this. Unfortunately, you cannot demand that any comments made are removed.
Another way to protect yourself from defamation is to focus on building customers that are willing to act as advocates and come to your defence. If you’ve accumulated lots of positive reviews, you may find that a single scathing negative review has little impact. Similarly, positive media coverage and positive social media comments may be able to drown out any negative voices. This guide at Forbes offers more information on protecting your business from defamation.
Cybercrime is a growing problem and small businesses are the biggest targets. Cybercriminals may try to extort money from you or they may steal sensitive data to sell on the dark web, which could result in you being sued by employees and customers if this comes to light. In either case, a cyberattack can be very costly and may severely damage your reputation.
There are lots of different methods of cybercrime from hacking to email phishing to malware – and they are constantly evolving. This can make it difficult to protect yourself, unless your cybersecurity methods are also constantly evolving.
Outsourcing cybersecurity support from a company such as CharlesIT could be one way of keeping up with evolving methods. Such companies can monitor your network remotely, carry out penetration tests and suggest cybersecurity improvements.
A few improvements that may be suggested to you could include backing up data on the cloud, strengthening passwords (and regularly changing them), updating old software and adopting safe practices with suspicious emails. Cyber Insurance may meanwhile be able to help pay compensation if none of these defences work (although it won’t be able to repair the damage done to your reputation).
Despite cybercrime being the main form of theft, burglary is still common and can equally cause costly damage. On top of stealing property, burglars are likely to cause damage to your property during the break in, resulting in further costs. Consequently, it’s worth still investing in physical security measures such as burglar alarms, security cameras and security lighting to help deter burglars.
A company that specialises in physical security may be able to carry out a penetration test and find the best ways of improving your premises’ physical security. Every workplace is different and has its own security risks, so it can be worth investing in personalised advice.
In case a burglary is still successful, commercial property and contents insurance can be worth having in place in order to pay any necessary compensation. Having files stored on the cloud can also be important if important machinery or in-house servers are damaged/stolen.
Natural disaster and fire are other threats to consider. Natural disasters can take many forms from floods to earthquakes to hurricanes (the current pandemic could even be considered a natural disaster). Fires meanwhile could be natural, man-made or the result of electrical faults.
There are numerous ways to protect your premises from natural disaster damage, but these may not be worthwhile unless you’re situated in a high-risk area (you probably don’t need to invest in flood defence unless you live in a high-risk flood zone).
Every business can meanwhile benefit from guarding against fires. Measures could include adding a fire extinguisher and sprinklers, as well as adding fire alarms and fire exits to aid evacuation. Your local fire department may be able to help you implement other safety measures.
If your premises is destroyed or you can’t get to your premises due to fire or natural disaster, having data backed up on the cloud can be useful. Commercial property insurance meanwhile may be able to pay compensation towards the damage (this is more likely to be the case with a fire – if you’re in a high-risk natural disaster zone, you may find it hard to get insured against this local disaster with conventional property insurance).