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Cybercrime Can, and Will, Impact Small Businesses


Brian Rawlings, the vice president for FITLIFE, shares what to consider when it comes to cybercrime.

Cybersecurity has been making headlines for decades. The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline system, Russia’s cyberattack on Ukrainian systems in February and the KIA Motors ransomware attack are but a few of the major cyberattacks that took place since January of 2021. While these attacks focused on large systems and businesses, small business owners, like gym and club proprietors need to remain aware of the growing cyber risks that threaten their businesses as well.

According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 43% of cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses. With small businesses increasingly becoming the victims of cybercrime, gym and club operators need to be aware of the following risks and costs they could be facing should they be targeted by a cyberattack. here are three things to consider.

1. It’s more than your data at risk.

The image of a hacker exploiting a vulnerability in a system to access a single company’s sensitive data is often not the reality. Cybercriminals don’t target specific data or files, rather when data is stolen, it’s done in large batches to be sifted through and sold at a later date. Payment information, member files and email information are all fair game, and a breach in your system could lead to the personal data of your members becoming the next online commodity.

2. Cyberattacks can mean more than theft; sometimes it’s just interruption.

Aside from having your business and customers’ sensitive data at risk, your business will likely be inoperable in the event of a ransomware attack. During this time, files and records can’t be accessed, security systems can falter and clubs risk failing to fulfill their contractual obligations to their members. Consequently, it’s not just the stolen data that can be costly.

3. Recovering from an attack can be a long process.

Once the attack is over, the road to recovery begins. The exact nature of that recovery depends on the attack, but often data needs to be restored, member trust needs to be rebuilt and credit monitoring needs to be in place. Additionally, forensic IT services should be hired to fully audit and assess the damage of the attack, as well as repair any system vulnerabilities. Furthermore, legal counsel may be hired to represent club owners in any lawsuits or filings that may result from a data breach. Regardless of the type of attack, it will take some time for operations to fully return to normal.

One way to make sure your gym has the protection it needs should a cyberattack occur is to buy a comprehensive cyber insurance policy from an insurance specialist who knows the industry and the unique risks facing your business. A good cyber policy from a reputable insurer will serve to not only protect a gym in the event of an attack, but also to provide access to tools and advice to help gym owners prevent their businesses from ever falling victim to cybercrime.

Brian Rawlings

Brian Rawlings is Practice Leader for FITLIFE, which insures fitness facilities, health clubs & spas, for Venture Programs. He can be reached by phone at 800-282-6247 ext.323 or email: brawlings@ventureprograms.com.  

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