As reported today by the BBC, The Holiday Inn has fallen victim to a cyber attack. The Holiday Inn is a member of the IHG family, the Intercontinental Hotels Group, alongside Crowne Plaza and Regent Hotels. The UK hotel conglomerate has announced its “booking channels and other applications had been disrupted since Monday.”
The cyber attack comes amid increased scrutiny on cyber security, being the latest of many on western institutions. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early this year, cyber attacks on UK businesses are becoming more frequent. We need to be prepared and learn lessons from the cyber attacks that have, unfortunately, seen success.
What The Holiday Inn Cyber Attack can teach us?
1. Reputational damage takes far longer to fix
Although the digital holes can sometimes be patched within a matter of hours, the reputational damage is longer lasting. News outlets having picked this up after many customers were struggling to make bookings will now have instigated a difficult period for the Holiday Inn and affiliate companies. A subconscious black mark will be present in the minds of potential customers, which could be the deciding factor between similarly priced options.
The reputational deficit could also harm relationship with current sponsorships and partnered brands. A cyber attack, although not always the victims fault, is an implication of negligence and poor management. The chances of any company wanting to do business with a tarnished brand is far lower and can significantly affect growth.
Insurance can go a long way to fixing the issues, and also recuperating the business lost due to an attack that wasn’t your fault.
2. Cyber Insurance is essential, and other measures are needed
Cyber attack insurance will protect businesses for the losses caused by business disruption brought about by a cyber attack. Cyber crime insurance will recuperate monetary loss due to malicious action form a hacker. Neither of these insurance solutions are able to prevent a hacker in the initial instance, however the details of the cyber insurance policy will stipulate preventative measure be in place.
IHG most likely have very good cyber insurance, as is now standard with huge firms, but it’s the risk management and preventative measures that prevents the initial attack and therefore the reputational damage. This does not discredit the importance of cyber insurance, it instead highlights the importance of consulting an expert.
Preventative measures such as secure passwords, penetration testing, filtered emails and updated systems should be as standard. Romero Insurance Brokers have outlined a list of rules, helping businesses ensure they are cyber secure – Read our 13 tips on how to stay Cyber Secure.
A attacks will have rippling effects, be it cyber or terror. Business interruption insurance is an add on policy type which is now recommend as standard by most expert brokers and has seen great success. Business interruption insurance covers your business financially for the period in which it was down and saw reduced profits due to an unforeseen incident.
If you are the decision-maker at your business, talk to a broker today to see if you have the relevant insurance in place and check that it’s been updated alongside inflation.
3. Have an Incident Response Plan in place
No matter the amount of preparation or the astuteness of your security, a cyber attack is inevitable. Once it does happen, a plan needs to be in place to minimise the damage.
Speculation suggests The Holiday Inn has fallen victim to a Ransomware Attack; systems were down last week for two days. Also, last month, a Holiday Inn in Istanbul was breached by LockBit, which released data stolen from the company. Hudson Rock claimed in a tweet that IHG had at least 15 compromised employees and 4,030 compromised users. IHG confirmed they had implemented their Incident Response Plan – if they had not had a sufficient one in place, its fair to assume the damage could have been far worse.
An incident response plan is a key outlining of the necessary action to take once a breach has been found. It involves who to notify, how to act and importantly what order these actions should occur. An incident response plan needs to be orchestrated by a professional; IHG even went so far as to employ outside specialists to deal with the cyber breach, as was the severity of the attack.
If your business does not have a properly outlines incident response plan, it could be at serious risk. Our IT expert, Mark Noble, discusses the principles of cyber security in our podcast: Romero Expert Insights – Cyber Security and Insurance with Mark Noble
Do you have effective Cyber insurance for your business?
Research suggests the cost of a cyber attack in 2021 was £2.9 million per incident. The cost of recovery and the ransom payment could stretch the overall damages into the tens of millions. Cyber Insurance is crucial to a business’s welfare.
Romero Insurance Brokers will ensure you have an expert handler who will ensure you have everything you need to be cyber secure. While our insurance will help avoid a financial fiasco, you should always consider risk management too. We offer sound advice, risk assessment checklists, claims reports, up-to-date insurance information and full free consultation for all our clients. For more information, or to speak to our risk management team, please get in touch.