Business computer risks
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Blog: Computer equipment risks for the 'new normal'

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    The working landscape has changed significantly since 2020. And the future of work looks to remain agile, with many employers adopting a mix of home and office working as part of their working practices. But with less time spent in designated offices and premises, what should businesses be thinking about in terms of managing computer equipment risks? And could hybrid working leave some businesses underinsured? 

    Many businesses plan to increase tech spending in 2022, and companies intend to focus their spending on infrastructure and hybrid working for employees(1). Hybrid working brings many advantages for businesses (such as enhancing employer attractiveness), but along with the benefits come the risks. Whilst cyber security risks are a key concern for many, what about the computer equipment itself? What should businesses be thinking about?

    The impact of hybrid working on computer risks

    With businesses now consolidating and downsizing their physical office space into multi-tenanted offices and co-working spaces, there are new considerations for businesses in keeping their IT equipment safe and secure. Whereas previously a property policy may have provided the cover needed, it may be that changes made to working patterns or locations require a different level of cover or a specific computer policy.

    Some businesses may not have the right amount of insurance cover for their equipment when it’s located outside of the office. Which is why it’s important for businesses to understand their insurance policy definitions and in particular the difference between what’s classed as hardware and what’s classed as portable computer equipment.

    For example, PC screens are not classed as portable but may have been removed from the office and taken to an employee’s home.

    Shared work spaces | Hybrid work environments
    © Getty Images
    Working in different environments introduces new risks. For example, businesses need to ensure they are clear on whether they have cover for computer equipment in homes, outbuildings, or multi-tenanted properties.

    Accidental damage and loss

    2020 saw a significant rise in home-based accidental damage incidents, ranging from drinks spillages to dropped equipment and even interference by pets. Our claims data shows that accidental damage claims increased by 15% in 2020 and a further 8% in 2021, making them more common than theft claims (which decreased during the same period due to more people working from home).

    As businesses move to hybrid working, we may also see an increase in accidental loss incidents. Like theft, these types of claims decreased during the pandemic as a vast proportion of the population principally worked from home. However, with more employees transporting computer equipment between their home and office, the risk of misplacing it on their journey may rise.

    With many employees now working solely from a laptop, both in the office and at home, it’s important for businesses to check they have the right level of insurance in place to cover their portable computer equipment.

    Business computer equipment
    © Getty Images

    Equipment repairs and replacements

    Global computer chip shortages have caused a shortage in the production of cars, gaming consoles and mobile phones. The chip shortage challenge and ongoing supply chain issues have impacted the availability of computer equipment and parts; causing delays for repairs and replacements.

    As a result, computer equipment has become a more valuable asset and companies are under more pressure to retain their current IT equipment and ensure it’s running smoothly, to avoid the risk of having to replace it. With greater value being placed on existing equipment, businesses should ensure that they have adequate cover in their equipment policies for repairs and replacements to their computer hardware.

    Computer risks – top considerations

    Managing computer equipment risks in a hybrid working environment has brought about a number of considerations for businesses. Here are a few things to consider:
    • Keep an asset list – know what equipment you have and where it is located
    • Ensure the appropriate cover is in place for hybrid working – check existing policies to understand if equipment is still covered as you implement new working practices
    • Check that IT equipment is covered at the right locations and for the correct usage
    • Keep insurance companies informed of any changes that could affect cover
    • Make sure IT procedures for keeping software up-to-date are... up to date!
    With the world of work ever-changing, there’s never been a better time for businesses to check that their computer equipment is adequately insured.
    Mat Prentice, Cyber Product Lead - HSB
    Authored by Mat Prentice, Cyber Product Lead - HSB

    HSB's technology solutions

    HSB Cyber Insurance provides a computer, data and cyber insurance policy all in one for small and medium-sized businesses.

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