Interest in cyberinsurance grows as cybercrime targets small businesses

Ajay Bam is more tech-savvy than the average small-business owner. A coder by training, Bam started a business that delves into deep areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

And yet, Bam said, he wasn't able to foresee or fend off a cyberattack that nearly sank his startup, Viryll, a service for online marketers, earlier this year.

Almost all of his company's data was compromised in a widespread attack on MongoDB, a popular open-source database system that Vyrill had been using. The hackers were asking for a payout of $5,000 to return the information.

But the company was just getting started. It didn't have that kind of money.

"We would have had to close the company if we were not able to restore that data," Bam said. "I totally panicked."

Bam was able to restore about 80 percent of his lost data from backups he had stored locally. The attack's most lasting damage was to his sense of safety online.

So, Bam signed Viryll up for cybersecurity insurance. His is among a growing number of firms, technical and otherwise, that have sought protection.

Cybersecurity insurance is not yet a household name. It's not required by law, nor is it as commonplace as other types of insurance like fire, flood and general liability coverage.

But, experts said, it may rival those others in importance in today's virtual landscape, where everything from employee and customer information to financial records are stored online.

Small and medium-size businesses are hit by nearly two-thirds of all cyberattacks - about 4,000 a day, according to IBM.

To read the full article, head over to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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