Continuity risks in the food industry: cyber crime (2/4)

In the past, most business risks came from within a company. Today, 90% of these risks come from outside the organisation and this is also the case for food companies. An insurance policy tailored to your business risks in combination with a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is a sound piece of advice. But what are the most likely risks for food companies nowadays?

Continuity risks in the food industry: cyber crime (2/4)

Each week this month, we will highlight one risk which could have a major impact on your business operations. After the fire risk, this week we will discuss the ubiquitous risk of cyber crime. What should you be alert to and how do you protect yourself preventively? Find out in this second part of our series about continuity risks in the food industry.

What are common forms of cyber crime?

Companies in the food sector are increasingly becoming the victim of cyber crime. All possible forms of cyber crime can occur in your company, and they often have far-reaching consequences.

A few examples of internal and external cyber crime:

  • A cyber criminal hacks your refrigerating system and raises the temperature, causing food to spoil or become infected.
  • A virus is put on your company’s IT server and subsequently infects all files. Worse still, a hacker blocks those files and demands a ransom for releasing your data.
  • Another form of cyber crime, invoice fraud, is also on the rise. Cyber criminals imitate your company’s invoice and falsify the account number, after which clients unsuspectingly transfer money into the wrong account.
  • However, it does not always have to be malicious. An unintentional act or mistake by an employee can just as easily cause an external data breach.

How does your company anticipate cyber incidents? Do you already have a sophisticated plan in place or do you not expect your company to fall prey to cyber gangs?

What prevention measures can your company take?

Let’s put one stubborn misconception to rest: almost no organisation or company today can stay under the radar of cyber criminals. It is therefore necessary to take proactive measures, from backing up your systems to raising awareness among your employees.

How do you go about this? For many companies, identifying all cyber risks is not an obvious endeavour. We advise you to start developing a Business Continuity Plan (BCP). This handy management tool helps you analyse and better control all aspects of your business operations and the associated cyber risks.

As a risk consultant, we are happy to give you some useful pointers:

  • Start with your IT infrastructure. Make sure that all your servers are optimally secured and that you always have a back-up of your processes and your customer data. This is important to guarantee a quick restart in case of a cyber incident.
  • Cyber criminals focus on the weakest link in your company – the human factor. Consider, for instance, phishing e-mails or phone calls made directly to your employees. It is therefore a good idea to develop a cyber crime policy. Create and raise awareness among your employees so that they recognise unsafe situations and can respond correctly to them.
  • Draw up a good communication plan to inform all stakeholders of a cyber incident in a timely and correct manner. Will you take remedial action yourself or will you call in the assistance of a professional party? Communication during a crisis is key, especially for your company image. A thorough preparation will save you a lot of time and worries.

How can cyber insurance alleviate your concerns?

Cyber and fraud insurances protect your company (financially) against all forms of cyber crime such as hackers, viruses and security leaks. By taking out these insurances, you are also assured of the help and advice of crisis consultants in the event of a cyber incident. A professional team that guides you through a cyber crisis is definitely not a superfluous luxury.

We would be happy to explain in detail how, as an insurance broker, we can assist you in the event of a cyber incident, but our clients can do that even better. Our client and food company Dekeyser-Ossaer talks about the cyber attack they experienced in 2018. You can read about their experiences with our services here.

Want to know more about cyber crime in the food industry? You can read our article about the three biggest cyber risks the food industry faces.

Gerrit Mets

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Would you like more information? Are you interested in an insurance solution that is tailored to your company? Or would you like to receive our free white paper on the BCP or our 2019 Cyber Study? If so, contact us on 03 217 56 99 or at

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