Steps to improve your organisation’s cyber resilience.
In today’s digital age, businesses rely heavily on technology to drive their operations efficiently and effectively. This dependence on technology has brought about new challenges and risks, particularly in the realm of cybersecurity. As organisations strive to ensure operational resilience, they must recognize the integral role of cyber resilience in safeguarding their digital assets and operations. Cyber threats have become a persistent concern for businesses of all sizes. As a result, the demand for cyber insurance has surged, with organisations recognising the importance of financial protection in the face of data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cybersecurity incidents. However, the landscape of cyber insurance is evolving rapidly, with insurers raising the bar when it comes to security requirements.
What can organizations do to improve their cyber resilience and make it easier and more affordable to obtain and keep cyber insurance? Here are a few tips and insights.
What Is Operational resilience?
Operational Resilience is the ability of an organisation to continue its critical functions and deliver services in the face of various disruptions. These disruptions can range from natural disasters to cyberattacks, and they can have severe consequences if not managed successfully.
This encompasses various aspects of business continuity, disaster recovery and cybersecurity. In particular, for those financially regulated, there is a specific framework which also provides a guidance and more detail around what operational resilience is. This can be found on the FCA website: Operational Resilience | FCA
The Importance of cyber resilience to operational resilience
Cyber and operational resilience are integral components, as modern businesses rely on technology for their daily operations. A breach or cyberattack can disrupt businesses, damage reputation, and result in significant financial losses.
Why is cyber resilience essential?
Protection Against Cyber Threats: Cyber resilience measures safeguard against a wide range of threats, including malware, phishing attacks, ransomware, and data breaches. Strengthening cybersecurity defences within organisations can reduce the risk of successful cyberattacks.
Minimising downtime: Cyber strengthening practices include robust data protection, backup, and recovery solutions. In the event of an incident, quick recovery can minimise downtime and its associated costs.
Maintaining trust: Key stakeholders trust businesses with their data. Demonstrating a commitment to resilience builds and maintains this confidence by showing that you take data security seriously.
Regulatory compliance: Multiple industries have stringent regulations governing data security. Cyber resilience helps organisations stay compliant with these regulations, avoiding costly fines and legal repercussions.
Operational resilience is becoming more of a focus in associations today, the correlation between the level of resilience and the impact on cyber insurance is becoming more aligned than ever. Why is this you may ask? The increase in cyber incidents, the lack of historical data to evidence links between cyber incidents and costs to insurance companies. The perceived cyber risk is ever increasing and therefore the risk to the underwriters themselves are greater.
Understanding the evolution of cyber insurance
Cyber insurance policies have evolved to keep pace with the dynamic nature of threats. This evolving landscape of insurance necessitates a proactive and comprehensive approach to resilience. To secure and maintain your insurance coverage, partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) is a smart choice for reducing the complexity of this process.
These IT experts can assist with risk assessment, security compliance, incident response planning, and more, ensuring that your organisation is well-prepared to face the challenges of the digital age. Working together, you can not only meet the stringent requirements of cyber insurance but also enhance your overall resilience and in turn your operational resilience.
Underwriters are now assessing various factors when providing quotes for cyber insurance policies to determine the level of risk associated with insuring a particular organisation. Cyber insurance is designed to protect businesses from financial losses resulting from cyberattacks and data breaches.
Key factors underwriters typically consider
Business type and industry: Evaluation of the type of business and the industry it operates in. Certain industries, such as healthcare or finance, may have a higher risk of cyberattacks due to the sensitivity of the data they handle.
Size and revenue: The size of the organisation and its annual revenue can impact the level of coverage needed and the potential financial impact of a cyber incident.
Data sensitivity: The nature and sensitivity of the data stored and processed by the organisation are crucial. Companies handling personally identifiable information (PII) or financial data may face higher risks.
Security measures: Assessing the organisation’s existing cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, encryption, employee training, and incident response plans. Strong cybersecurity practices can lead to lower premiums.
History of cyber incidents: Organisation’s past experiences with cyber incidents and claims history can significantly affect premium rates, resulting in higher premiums.
Compliance: Compliance with industry regulations and data protection laws, such as GDPR or HIPAA, is important. Non-compliance can increase an organisation’s risk profile.
Third-party vendors: If the organisation relies on third-party vendors for services or data storage, underwriters may assess the security practices of those vendors, as they can introduce additional risks.
Risk assessment and vulnerability scanning: Underwriters may request information about risk assessments and vulnerability scanning to gauge the organisation’s proactive approach to identifying and mitigating cyber risks.
Incident response plan: The presence of a well-defined incident response plan demonstrates a commitment to managing cyber risks effectively and can be seen as a positive factor.
Employee training: Employee awareness and training programs can influence underwriters’ perceptions of an organisation’s cybersecurity preparedness.
Geographic reach: The geographic reach of the organisation and the jurisdictions it operates in may affect the risk assessment and pricing.
Limits and deductibles: The limits of coverage and deductible amounts chosen by the organisation will impact the premium. Higher limits and lower deductibles typically result in higher premiums.
Claims history: If the organisation has made previous claims on cyber insurance policies, this will be factored into the underwriting process.
Industry benchmarks: There is often a comparison on an organisation’s cybersecurity practices to industry benchmarks and best practices.
Emerging threats: Underwriters keep an eye on emerging cyber threats and may adjust premiums based on the evolving threat landscape.
What else can organisations do to make sure they’re staying ahead of cyber criminals? I’ll outline additional steps in my next article.