Everyone’s Working From Home Due to the Coronavirus – Is There Insurance Coverage for a Data Breach?

Jeffrey Dennis and Heather Whitehead of Newmeyer Dillion write:

Most organizations are now requiring that their employees work from home (“WFH”) with the ongoing COVID-19 (commonly referred to as the Coronavirus) pandemic.   These remote working arrangements provide new opportunities for hackers to infiltrate computer systems, and not surprisingly, attempted cyber attacks are on the rise.  Given the rapid deployment of employees being forced to work from home, many employees are using their personal laptops, tablets and other devices to complete their work.  The use of such personal devices increases the risk to network systems, including a potential breach or data loss.

Not only does the use of personal devices increase the risk of a breach, but it may decrease the insurance coverage in the event of a breach.  They explain:

One issue that may be overlooked is that many cyber liability insurance policies make a distinction between computer hardware owned by the insured company and computer hardware or other devices owned by company employees.  This distinction becomes critical as the insuring agreements may limit or exclude coverage for computer hardware that is not owned by the named insured.  The insurance policy may also have other requirements related to the use of personal devices by employees, such as requiring a formal written policy to address the use of such devices.

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