CHICAGO, July 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In recent months, viruses targeted to mobile devices have emerged in droves. This summer, mobile surveys found that business networks are frequently compromised by mobile-targeted malware, opening the door to staggering costs from data breaches and theft.
TechInsurance, the nation's leading online insurance agency for small technology companies, has issued a warning regarding companies with a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy, which may be particularly vulnerable to mobile-targeted viruses. For many IT contractors and small IT businesses, maintaining security on employee-owned devices is notoriously difficult, increasing the likelihood that they could be slapped with a lawsuit charging them with failing to prevent security breaches.
Many users of mobile devices are still in the mindset that smartphones and tablets are not susceptible to viruses in the same way that more traditional technology is, and are less mindful of avoiding potential malware while plugged in. This could lead to costly information compromises, according to Ted Devine, CEO of TechInsurance.
"Any IT company that doesn't have a plan in place for educating their clients about the dangers of mobile viruses is opening itself up to an expensive liability lawsuit," said Devine. "Many IT professionals don't realize that they can be held liable for failing to prevent the transmission of a virus." And because this is such a new area of law, he added, there's no clear precedent about how courts will judge liability.
In some ways, mobile viruses can be even more nefarious than their traditional brethren: often disguised as downloadable apps, many charge only a few cents to individual users' phone bills, allowing them to go undetected for months while they introduce malware or botnets that access sensitive information.
For small businesses, such stealthy access can translate massive leaks of customer information. When such leaks are discovered, the costs of recovering data, compensating customers, and repairing a company's reputation can exceed $100,000. To recover those costs, many firms will sue their IT contractors or advisers who failed to detect the breach or allowed the breach to occur.
To minimize the likelihood of such lawsuits and help keep their clients' information secure, TechInsurance recommends IT professionals take the following precautionary steps:
- Recommend highly regulated app markets to clients.While IT professionals may be savvy enough to navigate less-regulated app markets (including those available to Android devices), they may want to recommend more strictly regulated app markets to less tech-savvy clients. Apple and Blackberry, for example, have tougher guidelines for app acceptance and a lower rate of mobile viruses.
- Educate clients about the risks of BYOD and the prevalence of mobile viruses. Professionals and business owners outside IT fields may not realize that their data is at risk from mobile viruses. IT professionals who circulate newsletters or security updates to clients can help prevent data breach incidents while building goodwill that can reduce the likelihood that any breaches lead to Cyber Liability or Errors & Omissions claims.
- Encourage the use of antivirus software for mobile devices. Mobile-specific antivirus software can be installed to protect mobile devices, just as traditional antivirus software can be used on desktops. IT professionals can also alert clients about security-boosting apps that detect viruses and malware and alert a device's user when such programs are detected.
- Maintain a strong Cyber Liability and Errors & Omissions Insurance policy. If and when a client is victimized by a mobile virus, they may look to recover some of their lost money in court. In the event that such a case is brought, Cyber Liability or Errors and Omissions Insurance will help a small IT firm cover its court costs, as well as any damages.
TechInsurance is the nation's leading online insurance agent for small and micro businesses (those with 10 or fewer employees). Since its launch in 1997, TechInsurance has provided a convenient online destination where IT and technology consultants, contractors, and business owners can find essential liability insurance coverage from top-rated providers by completing an application process that takes only a matter of minutes. In addition to offering third-party Cyber Liability Insurance policies, TechInsurance offers General Liability, Property, and Workers' Compensation Insurance. For more details about TechInsurance, visit the company's website at www.techinsurance.com.
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