Today, doing business online is standard operating practice for many self-storage businesses. Facility websites, online marketing, social media, property management software, electronic databases, and cloud-based computing streamline many necessary tasks, improve efficiency, and enhance both marketing and customer service. However, this reliance on technology also may create exposures that could result in costly lawsuits, claims, and operational disruption.
We have all heard the news stories about companies such as Target, Home Depot, eBay, and Sony that have been the victims of cyber attacks. The risk of such a breach is not limited to large companies. If your self-storage clients do business online, accept credit cards, or store tenant information on site, they may be vulnerable to cybercrime.
The Threat of Cyber Crime
With the widespread adaptation of technology across hundreds of industries, cyber liability is now an issue that affects every business with exposures including computer viruses, ransomware, data theft, identity theft, and other cybercrimes. Insurance companies are responding to the growing need for cyber liability coverages by developing a variety of new policies to address a wider range of exposures.
Coverage is commonly available for privacy breach response, which covers expenses incurred by the self-storage facility such as customer notification, credit monitoring, credit and identity repair, and computer and legal forensic services. Policies to address additional cyber liability exposures have become more broadly available in the insurance marketplace.
Risk Management Strategies
In addition to insurance, there are risk management strategies that can be implemented at self-storage operations to reduce the risk of these types of exposures.
- Implement written policies and procedures regarding the handling of sensitive personal information.
- Train employees on policies and procedures.
- Regularly review and update policies and procedures.
- Screen employees using criminal background checks.
- Utilize third-party payment vendors that have earned Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) certification and comply with the major objectives of the certification standards.
The intent of this message is to heighten the awareness of this exposure. It is highly recommended that self-storage business owners schedule a meeting with their insurance agents to identify potential exposures, review implementation of preventive measures, and identify the appropriate cyber liability coverage solutions for their organizations.
President and CEO