Here’s a tough fact to face: it’s no longer a matter of “if” a cyber-attack will occur, but “when”. If you want your business to survive, there are several key factors you need to consider, and one of the most important is cyber insurance.
Cyber insurance is your safety net. Think of it like a seatbelt while driving: you never plan to crash, but having that seatbelt could be a lifesaver if you do. In the same way, while organizations do their best to prevent cyber-attacks, cyber insurance provides the financial safety net to help them recover should the worst happen.
However, to obtain an insurance claim, your business needs to cover its bases to prove you take cyber threats seriously. This guide will cover the cybersecurity requirements insurance agencies expect organizations of all sizes and industries to adhere to in order to qualify for a policy.
The threat landscape: what you need to defend against
Unless this is your first foray online, you’re already aware of the manifold risks pertaining to your business. Ransomware attacks, phishing scams, data theft – it’s stated constantly, but the truth is, cybercrime really is growing rapidly. 2022 saw a 38% increase in cyber-attacks from 2021, and the activity is only expected to increase.
The damage from a cyber-attack can be catastrophic, causing:
- Financial loss, even bankruptcy.
- Loss of customers and trust.
- Reputational damage.
- Potential legal actions.
- Operational disruption.
- Intellectual property theft.
- Unauthorized product counterfeiting.
Cyber insurance will typically cover costs related to data breaches, forensic analyses, loss of income from operational disruption, and ransom payments, to name a few.
However, it's essential to note that specific coverages can vary based on the policy, insurer, and the unique needs of the insured party. As with any insurance product, it's crucial to read the policy details and discuss with an insurance provider to ensure appropriate coverage.
Cybersecurity practices insurers expect from organizations
With such a helpful offering on the table, why don’t all insurance agencies simply provide a cover to every company that asks? Here's the catch: insurance, at its core, is a game of risk assessment. And with the digital threats looming large, the risks can be high.
Insurance agencies are more willing to provide coverage (and at better rates) to organizations that demonstrate strong cybersecurity practices. They need to know that an organization is doing its utmost to prevent cyber-attacks. This not only ensures that businesses get the protection they need, but also encourages them to continually up their cybersecurity game.
Firewalls: Just as walls prevent invaders from easily entering a castle, firewalls act as the first line of defense, monitoring and controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security policies.
Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS): Think of IDS as the watchtowers. They constantly scan and monitor the network for suspicious activities, raising an alarm at the first sign of a possible breach.
Secure network design: Ensuring that the network is designed with security in mind is crucial. It involves segmenting the network, so even if intruders penetrate one section, they can't easily access the entire network.
Antivirus and anti-malware: They tirelessly patrol, seeking out malicious software, viruses, and other harmful entities, neutralizing them before they can cause harm.
Patch management: Keeping software and systems updated ensures that any known vulnerabilities are fixed, preventing exploitation by attackers.
Mobile device security: As more employees use mobile devices for work, ensuring these devices are secure is paramount. This involves encrypting data, using secure VPNs, and regular security checks.
Multi-factor authentication: MFA requires users to provide two or more verification factors to gain access, significantly reducing the chances of unauthorized access.
Role-based access: This ensures that individuals can only access data and systems relevant to their role, increasing data security and providing greater visibility across your networks and user accounts.
Encryption: Encrypting data ensures that even if data is intercepted, it remains gibberish to unauthorized viewers without the correct decryption key.
Data backup and recovery: Regularly backing up data ensures that in the event of a cyber incident, like a data breach or natural disaster, an organization can restore its operations fully and quickly.
Planning: Organizations should have a clear and documented incident response plan (IRP) outlining the steps to take when a cyber incident occurs, from initial detection to post-incident analysis.
Regular testing: A plan is only as good as its execution. Regularly simulating cyber incidents helps organizations refine their IRPs, making sure everyone knows their roles and the plan is effective.
Regular training sessions: Employees should be regularly trained on the latest threats and best practices. This can be done through seminars, workshops, or e-learning platforms.
Phishing simulations: Conducting mock phishing attempts helps employees recognize and avoid actual malicious attempts by providing hands-on learning in a controlled environment.
Implement a comprehensive cybersecurity framework for your business’s insurance requirements
Implementing this framework and aligning it with your organization’s risk profile, internal operations, and industry standards will provide a holistic foundation, blending technology, human factors, policy design, and constant adaptation to changing cyber threats.
But how do you ensure your cybersecurity framework is up to par, especially when seeking cyber insurance coverage? It's a task that demands expertise, foresight, and an understanding of both current and emerging threats.
ThreatAdvice is a leading managed security service provider (MSSP) well-positioned to assist you in establishing and maintaining a cybersecurity framework essential for your organization's safety, allowing you to obtain the cyber insurance coverage needed for that “just in case”.