Why Your Self-Storage Business Needs Cyber Insurance Coverage

Written by Holly Hovland—Commercial Insurance Advisor

February 9, 2023 · 5 minute read

Blog Why Your Self-Storage Business Needs Cyber Insurance Coverage

As a self-storage business owner, your greatest concerns are protecting your business and your tenants’ property. Preparing against cyber attacks is just as important as protecting physical property. Small to mid-sized businesses, like your self-storage operation, are an attractive target for cybercriminals. While larger companies have the resources to work 24/7 battling against attacks, you likely don’t have the resources or capabilities to do so, making you more vulnerable.

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What are the main cybersecurity threats to self-storage businesses?

Ransomware uses encryption to take control of your computer, preventing you from accessing any of your own data and potentially destroying it. If you are subject to this type of attack, it is likely you will be forced to pay ransom to have the attacker release your own data to you. This can cost anywhere from $5,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars, not including the expense of mitigating damages.

Cryptomining malware is another common attack on small to mid-sized businesses, using a hidden piece of malware code that you accidentally download on your computer. The code then “mines” cryptocurrency tokens for the attacker, which causes your computer to slow down and makes it more susceptible to future attacks.

Spear phishing is used to trick people into giving up sensitive information and passwords, commonly done by forcing you to log into a fake website. These are highly skilled attacks that generally address the person they are attacking by name, making you more likely to trust whoever they are impersonating.

Endpoint attacks occur when employees transmit data outside of their business’ secured network, often by taking a company laptop home or using a smartphone for work-related tasks.

These are just a few of the many ways you can be cyber attacked. Cybercriminals are also targeting self-storage facilities through the cloud (remote servers that are accessed through the Internet). If they access your cloud account, they can likely access all of your user accounts as well. This puts your operation at a huge liability risk. For example, if your renters pay online, not only is their payment information at risk of being stolen, but their email address and password as well. This can lead the hacker to a full attack on each customer.

What steps can self-storage businesses take to minimize the risk of a cyber attack or data breach?

Prioritize employee training. Teach your employees to recognize suspicious emails or texts through regular cybersecurity training, and what to do when they receive them (i.e., not clicking on links until they’ve verified the source).

Use multi-factor authentication. Enabling multi-factor authentication for your accounts and software is vital, especially when handling sensitive data such as customer payment information.

Secure wireless networks. All Wi-Fi networks should be password protected using the proper encryption (WPA2 or WPA3). If using a private network, make sure you have an active firewall to prevent unwanted access.

Control endpoints. Make sure all endpoint devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) use full-disk encryption to prevent data access if a device is stolen or misplaced. Have individual user accounts for all computers and avoid using admin-level accounts if not necessary.

Back up your data. This is one of the most important precautions you can take. Regularly backing up key data to an external drive not connected to your network will help safeguard you against a ransomware attack.

Keep software up to date. Ensure your operating system and any software programs are set to receive automatic updates, which helps protect against new threats and vulnerabilities.

Purchase cyber insurance. We have an array of insurance carriers that can help protect your self-storage facility. We offer solutions and prevention procedures to reduce your risk of falling victim to these malicious attacks, and to help you recover quickly in the event you do.

One of the greatest things you can do for your self-storage business is to recognize that you are at risk of a cyberattack and to prepare accordingly. As your insurance advisor, I’m here to help in that process and to make sure you have the cyber insurance coverage you need.